Oligarchs in Israel: Top Property Purchases by Russia's Wealthiest Men

Oligarchs from Russia and CIS have developed a taste for Israeli real estate. These unique High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI), known for their expensive taste and lavish lifestyles, have become more conspicuous on the market as they pick up more and more property in the country's prime locations.

​About 20% entrepreneurs on the Forbes “200 richest business people of Russia” (2015) are Jewish, so it’s no surprise that they choose the Holy Land for a second home. The attraction lies in certain legal guarantees enshrined in Israeli law rather than lucrative investment prospects however. In particular, it does not extradite its citizens to other states. Some of Russia’s most famous HNWIs have bought homes in Herzliya Pituach, Northern Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv Gimmel, setting records on local real estate markets.

Men making waves in the property pool

"Israel expects yet another wave of repatriation from Russia and the Ukraine: many consider emigration with further naturalisation due to the deteriorated political and economic environment in these countries."

Michael Pakshin, director at Damida Estate

Roman Abramovich, Valeriy Kogan, Shalva Chigirinsky and Leonid Nevzlin are Russia’s most conspicuous buyers on the Israeli market. Together they have spent about $168,700,000 on property for their own, very unique reasons. Mr Chigirinsky and Mr Nevzlen have been hiding out from Russian prosecutors and one of them has been saved from extradition by Israel not once, but twice already. Mr Kogan, Putin’s close friend and advisor, is about to become Netanyahu’s next door neighbour as soon as his historic mansion is finished by the sea. Finally, Abramovich is intent on building his tech investment portfolio from his newly acquired Tel Aviv hotel.

 “Invasion of Gaydamaks

Israeli mass media has dubbed the increasing interest of Russian tycoons in local real estate as “the invasion of Gaydamaks” after businessman Arkadi Gaydamak. There is much debate over the country’s need for Russian tycoons and their money. The current high-tolerance policy to the capital of any origin has led to doubt and controversy over Israel’s financial repatriation laws and money laundering. Meanwhile, these massive capital inflows targeting prime property have caused intensive price growth: real estate prices have risen 67% on average, 91% in Haifa and 84% in Tel Aviv.


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