September 23, 2014 / 11:31 AM / 5 years ago

Italy seizes assets of Putin ally and judo partner Rotenberg

Businessmen Boris Rotenberg (L, front, wearing a black jacket) and Arkady Rotenberg (R, front, wearing a grey jacket) react during an awarding ceremony of a judo competition in St. Petersburg, in this February 27, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer

ROME (Reuters) - Italian authorities seized property worth about 30 million euros (£23.5 million) belonging to companies controlled by a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, targeted by EU and U.S. sanctions, a finance police official said on Tuesday.

Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s regular judo partner, was named in July by both Brussels and Washington among targets of sanctions imposed against Moscow over the war in eastern Ukraine.

The official, who declined to be quoted by name, said police had targeted assets belonging to a Rome-based company called Aurora 31, controlled by Rotenberg through a Cyprus-based firm.

Among the real estate was an apartment in Cagliari in Sardinia as well as villas elsewhere on the island, a villa in Tarquinia, near Rome, and a hotel in the centre of Rome.

The official said a villa in Sardinia, owned directly by Rotenberg, had also been seized.

According to the U.S. Treasury, Rotenberg and his brother Boris won contracts worth about $7 billion for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games as well as other valuable contracts from state-controlled gas firm Gazprom.

There was no answer to calls to Aurora 31’s offices.

A receptionist at the hotel in Rome said service there was continuing as normal.

Reporting by Massimiliano Di Giorgio; Editing by Louise Ireland

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