Activists arrested after breaking into Biarritz villa of Putin’s ‘former son-in-law’


Two activists have been arrested after breaking into a villa that reportedly belongs to the former son-in-law of Vladimir Putin.

Pierre Haffner and Sergey Saveliev entered the £4 million property and changed the locks over the weekend in Biarritz, southern France.

Mr Haffner said the occupied villa would be offered to house some of the millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing Mr Putin’s war.

The Yellow Vest movement activist also took a selfie standing in the villa’s living room.

Fellow activist Mr Saveliev was pictured holding a huge Ukrainian flag while standing on the villa’s large balcony and in one of the many bedrooms.

The Alta Mira villa in Biarritz

(Google Maps)

The property has eight bedrooms and three bathrooms, Mr Haffner told Russian news website The Insider.

The activists said they found a copy of the passport of Kirill Shamalov, a Russian billionaire who was once married to Mr Putin’s alleged daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

Mr Shamalov has owned the villa since 2012 – according to the French property register seen by The Insider.

The two activists have been arrested and taken into custody.

Officers broke down the door, arrested the two men, and put them in custody, the Guardian has reported.

Ms Tikhonova, 35, is allegedly Mr Putin’s youngest daughter.

The rumour that Mr Putin is her father has not been publicly confirmed as the Russian president keeps a tight lid on his private life.

Katerina Tikhonova, daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin

(Jakub Dabrowski/Reuters)

Her ex-husband Mr Shamalov, 39, is said to be Russia’s youngest billionaire. The pair were married for five years until 2018, the same year he had been sanctioned by the US.

There are at least two other villas in Biarritz owned by Mr Putin’s family and associates, French reports state.

Meanwhile, an anarchist group in London entered a luxury townhouse in Belgravia owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Two of the anarchists who have occupied a London mansion belonging to oligarch

(Getty Images)

On Monday, at least four activists from the group known as the London Makhnovists took over the mansion in Belgrave Square, claiming that it now “belongs to Ukrainian refugees”.

They hung a Ukrainian flag from an upstairs window and unfurled a banner that reads “this property has been liberated”.

Another banner reads: “Putin go f*** yourself.”

‘This is just the beginning’: Squatters occupy London mansion ‘owned by Russian oligarch’ in anti-war protest

Deripaska, who owns the property worth more than £2 million, is a Russian billionaire industrialist with close links with the British political establishment. He was targeted by government sanctions last week.

When The Independent asked the activists how long they plan to be at the property, one of the squatters shouted from the balcony: “Until Putin stops the war.”

The group is named after the 1917 Ukrainian anarchist movement known as the Makhnovists, which was led by Nestor Ivanovich Makhno.

In response to The Independent asking how they entered the house, the activist joked that the “ghost of Nestor Makhno manifested itself and opened the door.”

The activist vowed to “go further” to occupy properties – adding “no more oligarchs’ mansions!”

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