The mystery of Putin’s fortune
“Putin doesn’t need luxury,” state TV presenter Dmitry Kiselyov said on his show early last year, following Navalny’s video investigation of the area.
The financial information leaks have also offered clues to Putin’s closeness to wealth, even though he himself does not appear in the data. The Panama Papers, a set of records from a law firm registered in a tax haven that were exposed in 2016, revealed the secret wealth of many close to him, including Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and longtime friend who took more than $8 million a year, according to documents filed with a Swiss bank. (“I don’t have millions,” Roldugin said in an interview with The New York Times.)
Last year, a new leak of files from companies specializing in offshore tax havens, called the Pandora Papers, showed that the woman said to be Putin’s mistress had bought the apartment in Monaco. It was one of many assets she had amassed and was estimated to be worth $100 million.
Nate Sibley, a researcher at the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, says Putin doesn’t need to have a huge fortune because he’s an autocrat who “controls everything.”
“When people say such and such a thing is worth, what does that mean?” He asked. “Are you really saying that you will get your money back and retire in Saint-Tropez?
Anton Troyanovsky contributed to this report.
Mike McIntire is a reporter for the Investigative Unit. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and has written extensively on campaign finance, gun violence and corruption in college sports. @mmcintire
Michael Forsythe is a reporter for the investigative team. Previously, he was a correspondent in Hong Kong, where he covered the intersection between money and politics in China. He also worked at Bloomberg News and is a US Navy veteran. @BeijingMike