Russia’s new Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin transferred his wealth to his wife before returning to public office from the private sector a decade ago, the Kommersant business daily reported Sunday following questions about the origins of her declared income.
Amid President Vladimir Putin’s power shake-up last week that saw Mishustin's surprise appointment, critics questioned how his wife Vladlena Mishustina came to earn 789 million rubles ($12.5 million) over a nine-year period without owning a business. Government records show Mishustin himself earning 213 million rubles ($3.4 million) between 2010, when he was named chief of the tax service, and 2018, the latest available accounting period.
From 2008-2010, Mishustin held senior positions at the UFG investment company, then owned by Deutsche Bank. Mishustin had transferred his assets to his wife as a stipulation of returning to public office as Russia’s tax chief, according to Kommersant.
Last week, an investigative news site claimed that the couple had concealed ownership of an elite house and apartment in Moscow before Mishustin took up the new post.
The Mishustins bought the house, currently valued at $9.5 million, in 2000 with money he earned at a computer nonprofit he co-founded in the late 1980s, according to Kommersant.
The apartment was part of the presidential administration’s compensation package for Mishustin’s service as deputy tax minister in 1998-2004, the publication said.
The Mishustins’ three sons currently own both properties, according to Kommersant. However, their names have been reportedly concealed from the public registry under Russia’s law on the protection of judges, law enforcement and oversight officials.
Mishustin’s 2019 income declaration is expected late this spring.
Russian opposition figures have criticized Kommersant’s report as a “glorified press release.”