Russian President Vladimir Putin has enriched himself and his cronies through shell companies in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere, a trove of newly leaked documents reveal.
Among the alleged beneficiaries is Putin’s longtime mistress, whose “shadow wealth” includes a $4 million apartment in Monaco, a yacht, nearly 12 million documents known as the “Pandora Papers” show, The Guardian said.
Svetlana Krivonogikh, 46, has been romantically linked with the Russian strong man since he was still deputy mayor of her hometown of St. Petersburg, and reportedly has a daughter with him.
In September 2003, an offshore company called Brockville Development Limited — through two other Panamanian companies — bought her the luxury fourth-floor apartment in Monte Carlo.
Her net worth is now estimated at $100 million, which includes a compound of properties in the Russian city, the report reveals.
Krivonogikh is far from alone in benefiting from a long-standing relationship with Putin.
For years Russia’s inner circle has gravitated to Monaco, where lax tax laws and policies have made the waterfront city a favorite for the wealthy.
“It has become Moscow-on-Sea. The mentality is to show off,” local lawyer Dominique Anastasis told The Guardian. “Nobody asks where your money comes from. There’s no culture of checking. You don’t make a tax declaration.”
Among the wealthiest of the Russian-Monaco circle is Gennady Timchenko, a former Soviet bureaucrat who has been friends with Putin since the 1990s.
A former oil trader, Timchenko was given an oil export license by Putin in 1991, and later co-founded a Swiss-based oil export company named Gunvor — with the Russian president long rumored to be a silent partner in the firm.
Forbes reported Timchenko’s net worth at $22 billion, the outlet said.
Another member of Putin’s inner circle is Peter Kolbin, an old family friend, who took over as director of Leningrad-based International Petroleum Products in 2003 despite having few qualifications for the job.
Putin has denied ties to the lucrative companies detailed in the Pandora Papers.
But jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has referred to Putin as “the world’s richest man,” according to The Guardian.