BILLIONS linked to Gazprom, the Russian gas giant blamed for the supply crisis in Europe, have taken over a series of British homes.
Andrey Goncharenko, 48, was managing director of a Gazprom subsidiary when he bought four properties in London over the past decade worth £ 260million.
They include the UK’s most expensive townhouse – £ 120million Hanover Lodge near Regent’s Park – plus £ 70million at 50 St James Street in Mayfair.
Houses he appears to have sold include a £ 15million block in Eaton Place and a £ 41million mansion in Hampstead. Goncharenko was recently involved with SK Horizont which helped build a processing plant for Gazprom.
Meanwhile, Kazakh oligarch and Gazprom director Timur Kulibayev, 55, bought Prince Andrew’s marital home Sunninghill Park for £ 15million, £ 3million more than asking price .
The Queen gifted Andrew the property in Ascot, Berks, in 1986.
It was put on the market in 2002 and sold in 2007. A garage for four vehicles, a sun terrace and a children’s play area have all been added in a major renovation.
Viktor Zubkov, 80, chairman of the board of Gazprom, served as Russian prime minister for eight months from September 2007.
The Sun on Sunday understands that his granddaughter Natalia has chosen to study at a major university in England.
The International Energy Agency warned this week that gas supplies from Russia were tight.
Britain depends on the country for around 1% of its supplies. But the market share in Europe is expected to remain above 30 percent, reaching 40 percent by 2040.
A source from Whitehall said: “Unlike the UK, the mainland is drunk on Russian gas. It is evident that Moscow is choking supply and raising costs to force EU states to approve new pipelines.
But Sergey Komlev, head of contract structuring at Gazprom Export, said it was absurd to accuse the company of under-supplying Europe.