President Vladimir Putin had used a web of offshore companies to hand out homes near his residence outside Moscow to his ex-wife and daughters, the investigative outlet Proekt reported Thursday.
The media investigation is based on the emails of Putin’s former son-in-law Krill Shamalov that had been obtained through a massive data breach by other investigative outlets in 2020.
According to Proekt, the Putin-linked Cypriot offshore firm Ermira and the Panamanian companies Topsail Development and Dorrington Commercial had purchased land near Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence in mid-2006.
Less than two years later in 2008, Putin handed power to his protege Dmitry Medvedev, who gave the presidency back to Putin in 2012 and the properties were re-registered under Shamalov’s name.
The leaked emails include discussions between Shamalov and Putin’s youngest daughter Katerina Tikhonova dating back to 2012 about renovations at one of the properties, which were estimated to cost nearly 9 million euros ($9.6 million).
In 2013, Shamalov emailed a notarized power of attorney granting near-total ownership of a neighboring property to Artur Ocheretny, the current husband of Putin’s ex-wife Lyudmila Putina-Ocheretnaya.
Ocheretny and Shamalov had also purchased luxury villas in the French coastal resort of Biarritz, where residents had witnessed Putina-Ocheretnaya “out in the open” with Tikhonova.
Putin’s oldest daughter Maria Vorontsova was believed to have moved into two Ermira-owned homes next to Novo-Ogaryovo after marrying Dutch businessman Jorrit Faassen. Those properties were registered in 2013 under Ermira’s subsidiary, the British Virgin Islands-based Berocci Investments.
Proekt wrote that the offshore ownership structures — as well as the apparent lack of marriage certificates — allowed Tikhonova and Vorontsova to avoid direct links to the properties.
Proekt reported that Tikhonova and Shamalov wed in an opulent ceremony in St. Petersburg in early 2013 and divorced around 2016-17, when their email correspondence came to a halt.
In the years since, Shamalov handed back the Novo-Ogaryovo properties and a $380-million stake in Russia’s top petrochemicals company Sibur to Putin-linked oligarchs, leaving behind the Biarritz property that French authorities impounded in April 2022.
Putin has never acknowledged that Tikhonova and Vorontsova were his daughters, often referring to them only as “these women” during interviews.
The United States sanctioned both women and Shamalov in April 2022 as part of wide-ranging measures in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Novo-Ogaryovo was just a few kilometers from where drones were shot down this week during a major attack on Moscow that rattled Russia’s elite.
Putin was likely inside the Novo-Ogaryovo residence during the attack and was awoken earlier than usual by his security team, a source close to the Kremlin told The Moscow Times’ Russian-language edition on condition of anonymity Wednesday.