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Russian Billionaires Are Running Out of Havens to Stash Fortunes

Sanctions put wealth abroad at risk, but repatriating assets to a country on the brink of economic ruin is a dire proposition. 

In recent weeks some of the biggest assets held by Russia’s richest people have been whisked out of Cyprus.

In recent weeks some of the biggest assets held by Russia’s richest people have been whisked out of Cyprus.

Photographer: Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP/Getty Images
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Glance at a map, and Cyprus is barely a blip relative to Russia’s vast expanse. The Mediterranean island is a mere 0.05% the size of the world’s largest country.

But for Russia’s top 0.05% — its oligarchs and billionaires — Cyprus is hugely significant. It for years housed an outsized share of their wealth, in some cases even dwarfing what they held in the motherland itself.