Many of the properties owned by sanctioned Russians with links to Putin have been frozen in France, half of them on the Côte d’Azur, but so far only one has been seized by the state, according to French daily Le Monde.

Viktor Rachnikov – sometimes spelt as Rashnikov – owned three villas in or close to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, one of them being the splendid Villa Nellcote, built by a banker in the 1890s. At this stage it is not clear which of the steel magnate’s three properties has been seized, but Nellcote had already been frozen and the transfer to another Russian was blocked.

The seizure will allow the French state to sell the property and attribute the proceeds to a fund for post-war reconstruction in Ukraine. Other outright seizures are likely to follow.

The whereabouts of Rachnikov’s megayacht Ocean Victory are unknown.

FILE PHOTO: Villa Nellcote Wikipedia