According to the Pandora Papers, Russian President Vladimir Putin has undisclosed assets in Monaco. Some of Putin’s close friends (one of them his childhood friend, another his former sweetheart) are listed in the documents, although Putin himself isn’t mentioned directly. A secret transaction took place in Monaco in September 2003. A flat was bought for €3.6 million. Yet the buyer of the flat remained unknown.
‘The official buyer’ was an offshore firm listed in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Brockville Development Ltd. Brockville Development Ltd, in turn, was owned by two Panama-registered firms – Sefton Securities and Radnor Investments SA. Pandora documents have identified the buyer as a woman named Svetlana Krivonogikh.
In a short period of time, Krivonogikh became very wealthy. A flat in a compound in her home city of St Petersburg, properties in Moscow, a yacht, and other assets were acquired by her, worth an estimated $100 million. Putin has been romantically linked to the woman since he was still deputy mayor of her hometown of St. Petersburg. She reportedly has a daughter with him.
According to evidence, they traveled on the same planes during Putin’s rise to power, for example. The Kremlin has not responded. Putin does not discuss his personal life. In 2013, he and his wife, Lyudmila, who have two daughters, Masha and Katerina, divorced. The issue has a political angle also, since Prince Albert, Monaco’s ruler is friendly with Putin. Over the past two decades, Russian influence in Monaco has grown. Dominick Anastasis, a local lawyer, was quoted by The Guardian as saying, ‘It has become Moscow-by-the-sea’. This is a show-off mentality. A warm climate and a lack of taxes drew foreigners, including Russians.
‘No one asks where your money comes from. There’s no culture of checking. You don’t make a tax Declaration’. According to the Pandora papers obtained by ICIJ, 130 billionaires and celebrities from Russia, the United States, India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and Mexico used shell companies and incognito bank accounts to conduct secret financial transactions.