The Reuters news agency on Tuesday said it had identified one of the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and claimed that she and her husband controlled assets worth about $2 billion, including a seaside villa in Biarritz, France, estimated to be worth about $3.7 million.
A senior executive at a state-owned Russian bank told Reuters that Putin's younger daughter, whose identity has been shielded from the press, used the surname Tikhonova. The report said Katerina, 29, was the “spouse” of Kirill Shamalov, son of Nikolai Shamalov, a banker and longtime friend of the president.
According to Reuters, the foundation of the couple's wealth is a stake in a major gas and petrochemical company that Kirill acquired from Gennady Timchenko, another longstanding friend of Putin.
The pair's villa in Biarritz was also bought from Timchenko, Reuters said.
The revelations undermine claims by Putin's supporters that while some of his acquaintances may have amassed fortunes during his 15 years in power, the president has not abused his position to enrich himself and his family.
According to Reuters, Katerina Tikhonova is working in academia and running publicly funded projects at Moscow State University. Her sister Maria is a graduate of the university.
Both Katerina and Kirill Shamalov declined to comment to Reuters.