The French press reported on the investigation against the founder of PIK Group Kirill Pisarev on suspicion of money laundering and tax evasion, and also pointed to a delay in the reconstruction of the legendary La voile d’Or hotel on the Côte d’Azur. A representative of Pisarev’s company Wainbridge International claims that the company in this case is the affected person, and the investigation is underway against its former counterparties. Kirill Pisarev, co-founder and former shareholder of real estate development group PIK, cannot complete the renovation of the luxury hotel La voile d’Or on Cape Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat due to the conflict in Ukraine and lack of funding, writes Nice Matin.
Pisarev bought La voile d’Or in 2019 and promised to return the hotel to its former glory. In 2021, the world’s leading developer Wainbridge International Group, in which Pisarev is the chairman of the board of directors, announced the complete demolition of the hotel and the start of work on the creation of a new facility that will become the “flagship of the Cote d’Azur hotel business.” However, according to Nice Matin, this work has not yet begun.
La Voile d’Or is the first hotel in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, founded in 1925. At various times, poet Jean Cocteau, actors David Niven, Gregory Peck and Jack Hawkins, singer Bono stayed there. American writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald described the hotel as “a paradise where kings and queens, stars and leaders of industry” gathered, and Jean Cocteau called it a place “where you sleep with your head on the sea.”
Nice Matin notes that initially the project did not have investors. But this, according to the newspaper, does not justify such a long delay in construction. Nice Matin notes that the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office has filed a case against Pisarev “for money laundering and tax evasion as a result of complaints from the French Ministry of Finance (Tracfin)”, which also complicates the implementation of the project.
Wainbridge International says it is not aware that the company or its leaders have been the subject of an investigation by the Financial Prosecutor’s Office or Tracfin.
“The company did not commit any actions that could be regarded as violations. At the moment, law enforcement officers of the Fifth Republic are investigating the actions of former Wainbridge counterparties suspected of violating anti-money laundering laws. Wainbridge is the injured party in this investigation. At the same time, the French media correctly indicate that Kirill Pisarev is not included in any European or national sanctions lists, ”the company representative said in a comment to Forbes.
The company also commented on the delay in the construction of the hotel: “Active work on the construction of the previously announced project of the hotel complex La Voile d’Or at Cape Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has not yet begun, but this is in no way connected with any actions of the authorities France. Negotiations are underway with a number of institutional investors in order to attract them to the project and launch the construction stage.”
In addition to La voile d’Or on the Cote d’Azur, Pisarev owns two more luxurious houses on Dominique-Durandy Avenue, writes Nice Matin. The publication also suggests that the French villas L’Empyree and Casa Ventura belong to the real estate mogul.
In 2011, Pisarev entered Forbes rating and took 190th place in it with a fortune of $ 500 million. From 2006 to 2009 he was one of the 100 richest people in Russia. And in 2008, he took 160th place in the global rating of billionaires according to Forbes with a capital of $6.1 billion.
In September last year, the entrepreneur refused from the position of the head of the Russian division of Wainbridge and left the shareholders of the Russian company. According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, in 2022 Pisarev also refused the role of owner in the oil and gas company RNGC Saratov. As the entrepreneur himself told RBC in 2021, more than 70% of his assets are not located in Russia. Now, according to his friend, he is focusing on projects outside of Russia.
At Wainbridge there are development projects in the UK, France and the USA. 25 projects were successfully implemented, in particular, a five-star Maison Villeroy hotel was built in Paris.
Pisarev, together with partner Yuri Zhukov, founded the First Mortgage Company in 1994. Over time, it turned into the PIK group. In 2007, the IPO of PIK Group was carried out – it became the largest placement among developers on the European market. Subsequently, both partners entered the Forbes global ranking of billionaires. Zhukov and Pisarev lost control over the company in 2009, and by 2011 they finally left the shareholders. After leaving PIK, Kirill Pisarev created the development company Wainbridge and The Collection, which specializes in real estate management.