A journalistic investigation has found that multiple properties and accounts worth up to 4.5 billion dollars share a single email server, a clue that could unravel Putin's most protected mystery: his enormous fortune.
An investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Meduza website identified a group of 86 apparently unconnected companies or non-profit organizations that appear to have more than $4.5bn (€4.2bn) of assets with one address. common private email.
It is a server for corporate accounts, LLCinvest.ru, a web service hosted by a Russian IT company, Moskomsvyaz, whose data was leaked last year, and which has close ties to the sanctioned Bank Rossiya, very close to Putin and described by the US Treasury
as «the personal bank of the high officials of the Russian Federation».
OCCRP and Meduza identified the valuable assets linked to organizations using the LLCinvest.ru domain. They are also detailed by 'The Guardian': a palace of more than 1,200 million dollars in Gelendzhik, on the Black Sea coast; hectares of vineyards around that palace; a ski resort in Igora (Leningrad), where the wedding of a Putin daughter took place; a villa north of St. Petersburg, known by locals as 'Putin's Dacha'; a mansion known as Villa Sellgren on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, a timber-clad building north of St. Petersburg known as the Fisherman's Cottage; luxury yachts; and large cash deposits run by two NGOs, worth nearly $400 million, according to public balance sheets at the end of 2020.
LLCInvest companies are mostly private companies that maintain a minimal public presence. Russair is an exception. In fact, records kept by Russia's civil aviation agency show that Russair would have trouble transporting customers. It has no planes, and only two helicopters, registered for commercial transport. Four other helicopters and two Falcon 7X commercial aircraft are registered for their own use, but cannot carry commercial customers. His charter flights have often been linked to Putin's entourage.
The real estate of the president of Russia has been a mystery, since Putin officially records only a small apartment in St. Petersburg, his hometown, two Soviet-era cars from the 1950s, a trailer and a small garage. In fact, the best clue to his real wealth were the photos that his two daughters uploaded on the Russian portal Telegram showing his lifestyle.
The investigative journalists also contacted five representatives of the LLCInvest companies. Four hung up without comment. A man listed as a director of four different companies confirmed that he uses an LLCinvest.ru address that was assigned to him after he was hired, but said he did not know who owned the companies. “I am a humble employee and mind my own business. I only sign papers », he declared. “You know how sometimes homeless people register as directors of a company? I am not a bum, but I sign the papers, like them, without going into details». The Kremlin denied any connection to Putin, telling OCCRP: "The President of the Russian Federation is in no way linked or affiliated with the assets and organizations he mentioned."