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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Russia – sanctions. They hid expensive real estate in Europe. One of them was used by Putin’s daughter

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Closely associated with Vladimir Putin, the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who belong to the richest citizens of Russia, successfully hid expensive real estate in Western European countries. One of them, located in Austria, was used by Putin’s daughter Maria Vorontsova, OCCRP and Wazhnye Istori portals revealed on Tuesday.

An international group of investigative journalists gained access to the Rotenbergs’ private archive, consisting of over 50,000 records. electronic files, including almost 30,000 e-mails and 12 thousand documents. Based on the analysis of these materials, it was proved that the oligarchs – despite the sanctions imposed on them by Western countries and organizations – had been hiding their properties for years, because their formal owners were other people who in fact pursued the interests of the Rotenbergs.

Hiding real estate

As reported, one of the brothers’ most important collaborators turned out to be Maksim Viktorov, a former business partner of the members of the Soviet KGB British royal family. Through the companies controlled by Viktorov, registered in the so-called tax havens, the Rotenbergs – already during the sanctions against them – became the actual owners of real estate in SpainFrance, Austria and Monaco worth over USD 50 million, as well as a Bombardier aircraft worth USD 42 million.

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The property in the Austrian resort town of Kitzbuehel was used by, among others, Putin’s daughter Maria Vorontsova and her dating from the Netherlands ex-husband of Jorrit Faassen. The property could be purchased thanks to the financial support provided by Arkady Rotenberg’s bank operating on Latvia and one of the oligarch’s companies registered in Cyprus, revealed investigative journalists.

Ważnye Istoria and OCCRP reported that the Rotenberg brothers were assisted by their wives, US citizen Karina Rotenberg and Maria Borodunova, holder of a Latvian passport, in circumventing Western sanctions. With the help of the spouses, it was possible, among others, to the acquisition of expensive villas on the Côte d’Azur, France and Monaco.

After Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which began in 2022, the wives of the Rotenberg brothers were also included in the sanction lists, which meant that the sale of real estate and other assets owned by the oligarchs, including in the USA, France and Spain, turned out to be impossible. One of the villas, registered to the companies of the Rotenbergs from Monaco and Luxembourg, was not subject to restrictions, we read on the portal of the independent Russian television Nastoyashcheye Vremya, commenting on the results of the journalistic investigation.

Putin’s close friends

The oligarchs Arkadij and Boris Rotenberg, associated with, among others, with the SMP bank, have been among Putin’s closest friends and associates for many years. According to independent media reports, Arkady was to be the formal owner of an expensive property near Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast, which actually belonged to the Russian dictator, and companies and funds associated with the Rotenbergs received significant benefits, including from investments in occupied Crimea.

Since 2014, i.e. the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia and the beginning of the rebellion in Donbass in eastern Ukraine, both brothers have been on sanctions lists, among others for European Union, USA and Great Britain.

Main photo source: ALEXANDER NEMENOV/PAP/EPA



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