Anarchist squatters take over £15m London mansion owned by Russian billionaire

They intend to use it as a homeless shelter and community centre, open to any group that ‘would disgust the wealthy’

Charlotte England
Sunday 29 January 2017 01:05 GMT
The squatters say groups that would outrage the wealthy are welcome
The squatters say groups that would outrage the wealthy are welcome (Anal/ Facebook)

Squatters have occupied a £15 million mansion owned by a Russian billionaire in one of the most expensive parts of London.

The Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians (Anal) say they have been in the Grade II listed building in Eaton Square since Wednesday. They intend to use it as a homeless shelter and community centre, open to any group that “would disgust the wealthy”.

The property, which was built in the early 1820s and had been used as a language school, is believed to have been empty since Russian oligarch Andrey Goncharenko bought it in 2014.

Mr Goncharenko also purchased three other properties in London in a three year period, including one of the UK's most expensive homes, Hanover Lodge in Regent's Park, which cost him £120 million.

Anal, who briefly opened a squat in Admiralty Arch opposite Buckingham Palace in 2015, announced the occupation on Facebook.

They said in a post: “We're back. We've opened our first squat in Belgravia. We intend to erect an [antisocial]\[discommunity] centre open to all individual groups who wish to unite under one roof.

“If it would disgust the wealthy, you're welcome here.”

The Evening Standard claimed alleged computer hacker Lauri Love, 32, who faces up to 99 years in prison if extradited to the US, was staying in the squat.

However, one of the group at the house said he was no longer at the property and had only been visiting.

Mr Love, who has Asperger syndrome, is accused of stealing data from US agencies including the FBI and Nasa. He is currently preparing to appeal against his extradition to the US, which was signed by Home Secretary Amber Rudd in November.

Squatters allowed at hotel

Members of Anal said on Friday most of the group had gone out to run errands.

A doorman for a neighbouring townhouse told the Telegraph he believed a notice had been tapped to the front door by a bailiff firm. He said one of the squatters had removed it.

A member of the group said: “With this building you can see it's empty and it's falling apart in places and there's dust on the windows.

“The reason we have done this is because it's cold and we have a lot of homeless people in the Victoria area that need shelter.

“We researched the building before we took it and saw it was owned by this Russian oligarch so we figured the damage caused to him compared to the gains for the homeless community is nothing.

“This is nothing to him but for these homeless people it could stop them from dying, especially with snow on the way apparently.”

On Facebook, the group criticised “this capitalistic greed-based way of living,” saying, “innocent people are dying every day for no reason other than our common ignorance”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in