A woman linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin has an estimated $100 million in hidden assets offshore, according to a recent leak of shell firms operating in tax havens.
Svetlana Krivonogikh’s possessions include exquisite apartments, including in Monaco, and a yacht, documents said. The 46-year-old was romantically linked with Mr Putin since his days as a deputy mayor of St. Petersburg and both reportedly have a daughter.
The Pandora Papers, a trove of almost 12 million files from administrative archives of 14 law firms and agencies specialising in offshore shell businesses, were obtained from Panamanian law firm Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with hundreds of newsrooms across 117 countries.
The UK Guardian, which was part of the investigation alongside the BBC and the Washington Post, reported that Ms Krivonogikh is amongst Mr Putin’s cronies stashing vast wealth in offshore firms across Panama, Virgin Islands and elsewhere. An offshore firm identified as Brockville Development Limited helped Ms Krivonogikh purchase a luxury fourth-floor apartment in Monte Carlo in September 2003, the report said.
She also bought a luxury flat in St. Petersburg, amongst other expensive assets, the report said. Mr Putin and his cronies have long been accused of owning assets in Monaco, one of the world’s notorious tax havens.
Mr Putin, who was described as the world’s richest man by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, strongly denied all ties to offshore shell companies as uncovered by the ICIJ.
The investigation exposes the hidden stash of many world leaders and public figures, including the King of Jordan, the prime minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš and Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba. Singer Shakira was also found in the documents as a user of offshore shell companies.
The consortium said the leaks did not necessarily accuse those mentioned of illegalities, but nonetheless indicate how far some politicians and business executives were willing to go to hide their wealth and avoid public accountability and taxes.