Ask most people where to shop in Europe and you’re unlikely to hear Luxembourg named alongside the Champs-Élysées in Paris or London’s Oxford Street.
But data in Luxembourg’s UBO registry shows the tiny Grand Duchy is a favored destination for oligarchs, tycoons, and royalty looking to snap up some of the continent’s most expensive real estate.
Experts say Luxembourg’s low taxes, stability, and financial secrecy laws make it a favored destination for wealthy investors looking for European properties, especially in the U.K., Germany, and France.
“This was possible because of the treaties between Luxembourg and other countries, for example, France and Spain,” said Alexander Zakharov, a partner at business advisory firm Paragon Advice Group.
“The French and Spanish tax authorities are uncovering schemes that have no other economic meaning than creating artificial conditions to minimize taxes.”
OCCRP and our partners have discovered dozens of properties worth hundreds of millions of euros that were bought through Luxembourg companies, from villas on the French Riviera to German architectural gems. We put some of our most interesting findings into the interactive map below.
In some cases, the source of the funds used to make the purchases is unclear. In one case, involving Indonesian paper and palm oil tycoon Sukanto Tanoto, experts said the transaction was so suspicious it should have been flagged to authorities.
OCCRP contacted all of the people mentioned in this graphic for comment. Only one sent a comment for publication.
Keep scrolling down to find out more.
Graphic: Mark Nightingale and Edin Pasovic/OCCRP
Contributors: Sana Sbouai, Olesya Shmagun, Irina Dolinina, Cecilia Anesi, Kira Zalan, Rana Sabbagh, and Tom Stocks.