Novelist Akunin says Russia has frozen wife’s bank assets

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 8:47 AM

(Reuters) – Russian novelist Boris Akunin, who lives in Britain and has been accused by Moscow of “justifying terrorism”, said on Tuesday that authorities had frozen more than $65,000 in his wife’s Russian bank accounts.

The Georgian-born writer, whose real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili, said 6 million roubles in his wife Erika’s name had been seized. He warned other Russians living outside the country to safeguard their assets.

“Russian police officers are entering a new stage: they are taking on family members,” Akunin wrote on Facebook.

Known for his popular historical detective stories, Akunin has been placed by Russia on its registers of “foreign agents” and “extremists and terrorists” after condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, a Moscow court ordered his arrest on charges of justifying terrorism and spreading false information about the armed forces.

Akunin, 67, said his wife’s accounts had been frozen on suspicion of “joint criminal activity” after money from them was used to purchase “unidentified technical devices with public access to the Internet” and the couple’s home in Britain.

The seizure period will last until June 14, state news agency RIA reported.

Russia passed a law this month allowing authorities to confiscate the property of those found to have expressed views critical of the Ukraine war, including spreading “deliberately false information” about the Russian armed forces.

It was not immediately clear if this was why the accounts belonging to Akunin’s wife were seized.

($1 = 91.7530 roubles)

(Reporting and writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)