Former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has reportedly had assets worth more than £100million seized amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Mazepin, 23, was released by Haas on the eve of the new F1 campaign, having declined to publicly condemn the war. His axing seemed inevitable after Uralkali, the Russian fertiliser firm co-owned by his father Dmitry, was cut as the team's title sponsor.
F1 themselves had stopped short if issuing a blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian drivers, but ruled they would have to compete under a neutral banner. Following his sacking, Mazepin vowed to form a new foundation to campaign for the rights of athletes barred from competition for "political reason."
Now however, the driver who failed to score a point for Haas in 2021 has seemingly been dealt sanctions outside of sport. The Daily Mail have reported that Italian financial police have seized assets, including the luxury villa of Mazepin and his oligarch father Dmitry.
Dmitry, 53, is known to have close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin. And the house is situated in the Portisco area of Olbia on the north east coast of Sardinia, notoriously a popular area for wealthy Russian citizens.
The villa, called Rocky Ram, reportedly consists of 25 rooms and sculpted gardens, as well as a swimming pool. According to the Italian Financial Police, it is owned by a company called Ferimod Investments, with the Mazepin family among its benefactors.
A spokesperson for the Italian Financial Police was quoted as saying: "Following verifications on subjects that are part of the current European Union sanctions list, an impounding order was served on Dmitry Mazepin his and his son Nikita Mazepin, a driver with the Formula 1 team Haas until March 5, on a residential complex worth 105 million Euro and traceable to both through an overseas company."
In March, the father and son duo were included in list of 14 oligarchs sanctioned by the EU. In a released document, it was revealed that Mazepin Snr had met with Vladimir Putin just hours after the invasion began on February 24.
His son was angered by the development though, arguing the measures were unnecessary. "Perhaps now is not the right time. If you look at the whole situation that is happening against athletes in the general case, it’s cancel culture against my country," he said.
Since the war began, a number of sporting organisations have imposed sanctions on Russian and Belarusian teams and athletes. FIFA have banned their football side from participating in the qualification play-offs for the 2022 World Cup, after opponents Poland vowed not to fulfil the fixture.
Both nations were sent home from the 2022 Winter Paralympics, despite their athletes having already travelled to Beijing. Their flags are also barred from international sporting events.
Since the invasion began, millions of Ukrainian civilians have been forced to flee the country. The country's President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has estimated the death toll to be in excess of £19,500.
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