Alisher Usmanov’s €600,000 bulletproof car seized in Sardinia as part of EU sanctions

Uzbek-born mining magnate has already lost a €17m villa and six companies worth €66m

A Mercedes Maybach S650 on display. Wikimedia Commons

Police in Italy have seized a €600,000 ($668,470) armoured car belonging to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

The bulletproof black Mercedes Maybach S650 Guard VR10 was impounded by officers in Sardinia as they enforced EU sanctions.

The Uzbek-born mining magnate, who was once named as the richest person in the UK, has already lost a €17 million villa in Sardinia and six companies worth €66 million.

Mr Usmanov, whose net worth is an estimated $18.4 billion, bought the car, which is also designed to protect against gas attacks, in 2018.

The Italian press have hinted that the car may have been used to transport Russian President Vladimir Putin whilst on visits to Sardinia.

Earlier this month the UK sanctioned Mr Usmanov, citing his close links to Mr Putin, and froze his assets and imposed a travel ban.

"Our message to Putin and his allies has been clear from day one – invading Ukraine would have serious and crippling economic consequences," Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

"Sanctioning Usmanov sends a clear message that we will hit oligarchs and individuals closely associated with the Putin regime and his barbarous war. We won’t stop here. Our aim is to cripple the Russian economy and starve Putin’s war machine."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, with Alisher Usmanov. AP

Mr Usmanov had significant interests in English football clubs Arsenal and Everton and he owns Beechwood House in Highgate, worth an estimated £48 million ($63.13 million), and the 16th-century Sutton Place estate in Surrey.

He is the founder of USM Holdings, which works in sectors including extractives and telecoms. The company sponsors Everton football club's training ground.

He paid the club £30 million in January 2020 to secure an exclusive option on naming rights for its proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

The deal has been suspended with the club saying it was “shocked and saddened by the appalling events unfolding in Ukraine".

He previously owned a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal which he relinquished in 2018.

Earlier this month, Mr Usmanov’s $594m superyacht Dilbar, the world’s largest by volume, was seized by German authorities in Hamburg.

On Monday, the UK seized the first Russian-owned superyacht in its waters since announcing sanctions against more than 1,000 individuals and businesses.

The £38 million yacht, Phi, was first identified as belonging to a Russian oligarch on March 13, the government said.

The sanctions are aimed at helping to end the war in Ukraine.

Updated: March 30, 2022, 1:05 PM