Russian President Vladimir Putin.(file photo) Photograph:( AFP )
In September 2003, a secret transaction took place in Monaco. A flat was purchased for €3.6 million. However, the identity of the flat’s buyer was a mystery
Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly linked to undisclosed assets in Monaco, according to the Pandora papers. While Putin is not mentioned directly in the documents, several of his close friends are, including a childhood buddy and a former sweetheart, reports claimed.
In September 2003, a secret transaction allegedly took place in Monaco. A flat was purchased for €3.6 million. However, the identity of the flat’s buyer was a mystery.
The official “purchaser” was an offshore company listed in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), named Brockville Development Ltd, reports said.
The company was in turn allegedly owned by two further Panama-registered entities – Sefton Securities and, later, Radnor Investments SA.
Through the Pandora papers, the buyer has been identified as a woman named Svetlana Krivonogikh.
It has been observed that in a time span of few years, Krivonogikh became extremely wealthy. She reportedly acquired a flat in a compound in her home city of St Petersburg, properties in Moscow, a yacht, and other assets, worth an estimated $100 million.
The woman has been romantically linked with Putin since he was still deputy mayor of her hometown of St. Petersburg and reportedly has a daughter with him.
Pieces of evidence have reportedly revealed that they travelled together on the same planes, for example, as Putin climbed towards power.
The Kremlin has not commented. Putin refrains from discussing his private life. He and his wife, Lyudmila, who have two daughters, Masha and Katerina, divorced in 2013.
This has a political angle too as Prince Albert, Monaco’s ruler, has good relations with Putin, according to reports.
Also, over the past two decades, Russian influence in Monaco has grown. Dominique Anastasis, a local lawyer was quoted by The Guardian as saying, “It has become Moscow-on-Sea. The mentality is to show off,”. Foreigners including rich Russians were attracted by the warm climate and the lack of tax, he said.
“Nobody asks where your money comes from. There’s no culture of checking. You don’t make a tax declaration.”
The Pandora papers obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) show that over 130 billionaires and celebrities from Russia, the United States, India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and Mexico used shell companies and incognito bank accounts to buy secret assets and conduct secret financial transactions.