Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Billionaire Arkady Rotenberg Says He Owns 'Putin Palace'

President Putin's childhood friend, Rotenberg co-owns Russia's largest infrastructure construction firm with his brother Boris. Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

Billionaire and Vladimir Putin ally Arkady Rotenberg said Saturday he owns a Black Sea coast property that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says costs over $1.5 billion and belongs to the Russian president.

Navalny claims the 17,691 square meter mansion sits on a property 39 times the size of Monaco and features a casino along with a theatre, an underground hockey arena, an aquatic disco and a hookah lounge complete with a pole-dancing stage. 

Underscoring the grand price tag, Navalny noted in a two-hour video report that it features Italian-made toilet brushes estimated at $851 apiece.

Navalny's video has garnered over 100 million views on YouTube, helped spur the largest street protests in Russia in years and forced Putin to deny that he or his relatives own the property.

On Saturday, Putin's former judo partner Rotenberg said the property belonged to him.

"I have successfully concluded a deal with some creditors and I became the beneficiary of this site," Russian news agencies quoted Rotenberg as saying.

His media service said the billionaire wanted to turn it into an apartment hotel.

"Everything has been done with great care, efficiently and professionally," he said.

"I am hoping that we will finish work on the hotel in a few years," he said.

Russian state television on Friday rejected claims that the property was owned by Putin and dismissed reports that it had an aquatic disco, showing an empty fountain at the purported site.

But Navalny's allies say work is ongoing to rectify flaws due to "negligence" during initial construction.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more