LTV's De Facto: sanctioned millionaire Aven's helicopter auctioned off

An auction was held last autumn, the results of which are not public, but the De Facto broadcast of Latvian Television has found that a helicopter belonging to Russian businessmen with Latvian citizenship Pyotr Aven and Yuri Sheffler was sold off asa result of taxes owed. The current location of the aircraft cannot be determined, De Facto reported on January 22.

In view of the fact that Latvian citizen Aven is included on the European Union sanctions list due to the war launched by Russia, the Civil Aviation Agency did not allow the Bell 429 helicopter to be flown. Since the imposition of sanctions, it has been standing in the territory of Rīga Airport.

In the past, the $7.5 million-purchased helicopter belonged to Aven together with businessman Yuri Sheffler through Country Heli Ltd. But the firm had accumulated a €75,000 tax debt since the war began. The State Revenue Service (VID) decided to recover the money so in the fall, the helicopter was auctioned off.

The auction listing is no longer publicly visible – it has been removed from the auction database. Therefore, auction details, including the starting price of the helicopter auction, are no longer publicly available information. In one of the forums of aviation enthusiasts, though, a few extracts from the advertisement have been published. They show that the cost per hour of the helicopter is around €2,500 to €3,000, while the annual maintenance budget ranges from €100 to €250 thousand.

How the auction ended, neither the bailiff nor the Revenue Service reveals, citing data protection rules.

“We can confirm that the VID has transferred the “Country Heli” case for recovery to the property and the bailiff has organized an auction of the property. The status of the authorized person does not relieve the VID from the obligation to respect confidentiality, therefore, the State Revenue Service may not make public comments regarding the activities performed in the debt recovery cases of certain taxpayers, including the sale of the property."

The Civil Aviation Agency confirmed that another aircraft belonging to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was still in Latvia.

In total, the European Union has arrested the assets of 1,386 individuals and 171 institutions for undermining Ukrainian statehood. At present, these funds are not used to compensate for the damage caused to Ukraine. Brussels is still thinking about how to get this money legally in order to direct it to Ukraine.

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