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Wealthy Russians switch to US

The European crisis has forced more and more money out of the bank accounts of wealthy Russians in Cyprus and elsewhere and into the US.

business Updated: Mar 28, 2013 20:51 IST
Guardian

The European crisis has forced more and more money out of the bank accounts of wealthy Russians in Cyprus and elsewhere and into the US.

"This past year, we've been seeing a shift in investments in the US as a result of the financial state of the European Union," said Ed Mermelstein, a New York real estate lawyer who advises wealthy Russians.

The meltdown of the Cypriot financial system came as no surprise to well-connected, wealthy Russians, who bundled some of their money to the US.

Cypriot banks were suffering "substantial outflows" for weeks before the meltdown, according to the country's finance minister, Michael Sarris. And, the financial woes of Cyprus may have become the blessings of New York.

Large chunks of Russian cash started falling into the New York real estate market - larger, that is, than usual. In Miami, wealthy Russians have caught up with South American tycoons that have traditionally dominated the property market. Investment banker Denny St Romain at Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets says his team is getting a call a week from wealthy CEOs or ex-CEOs who want to invest in real estate.