Europe weighs hurting own economy to press Russia amid Crimea crisis

By Griff Witte, March 19, 2014

LONDON — To President Vladimir Putin, Russian billionaires are a vital constituency in a state built on cronyism and kleptocracy.

To London’s luxury property dealers and high-flying bankers, the oligarchs play a different but no less exalted role: free-spending customers willing to shell out gobs of cash for everything from fine Mayfair estates to elite soccer clubs.

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