An insider has claimed that different gallery owners say that there had been a huge surge in sales to Russian buyers even three weeks prior to the Ukrainian invasion
Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian millionaires have been rushing to buy priceless art as gallery owners notice a ‘huge surge’ since the start of the war with Ukraine.
A gallery owner who participated in the Art Genève art fair in early March this year said a lot of the guided tours were done in Russian.
The insider claimed: “All of my meetings with Russian investors were cancelled last week following the start of the war.
“But I spoke to three different gallery owners, and they all confirmed that three weeks prior to the Ukrainian invasion there had been a huge surge in sales to Russian buyers.
“My guess is that they were told about the war beforehand.”
The pressure on Russian owned assets around Europe has ramped up since the conflict began.
Around $150bn of Russian money is believed to be held in Switzerland, according to reports.
The Art Newspaper said no-one knows what is inside the Geneva Freeport in terms of oligarch-owned works of art.
The ‘secretive’ Freeport is described as ‘Ali Baba’s cave’ and the value of goods in the warehouses is said to be around $100bn.
This comes as Wealthy Russian socialites fleeing the war to shop in Dubai are outraged that Chanel has refused to sell them their favourite accessories.
As Ukrainians and Russians are dying in their thousands in the war, affluent socialites are disgruntled about being barred from their favourite label.
Russian interior designer and influencer Liza Litvin took to social media to describe how she was refused a Chanel bag in a top Dubai mall.
“I went to a Chanel boutique in the Mall of the Emirates,” she posted in fury.
“They didn’t sell me the bag because (attention!) I am from Russia!!!””
Moscow foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused Chanel of joining “the Russophobic campaign to ‘cancel Russia’”.
Chanel’s French HQ confirmed the new policy, and said it was forced to apply this because of EU and Swiss sanctions on luxury items.
“The latest sanctions restrictions of the European Union and Switzerland prohibit ‘the sale, directly or indirectly, of luxury items to any natural, legal person or entity in the Russian Federation or for use in the Russian Federation,” the company said in a statement.
Customers were asked ”to confirm that the products they purchase will not be used in Russia”.
Chanel said: “We understand that these measures, aimed at complying with the requirements of the law, may create certain inconveniences for some customers.
“We are currently working to improve the procedure and apologise for any related misunderstandings and inconveniences.