In fact, this was another confirmation of what everyone in Russia and abroad already knows: Vladimir Putin and his associates brazenly enrich themselves with suspicious structures in the outside world. The Bandura Papers, published on Sunday, once again show the size of the circle of confidants surrounding the Russian president in recent years who have amassed secret foreign assets.
Indeed, according to the ICIJ, the international group of journalists that published the leaked documents from tax havens, Russians are “disproportionately” represented in the Pandora Papers. Analysis shows that Russians are behind about 14 percent of the more than 27,000 companies whose ownership data has been disclosed in tax havens. Among them are at least 46 Russian oligarchs who use offshore companies.
It would not be a surprise to many Russians. They have known for years that the political and economic elite are corrupt to the core. Take, for example, the video investigations of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny in which he exposed the exorbitant wealth of former President Dmitry Medvedev and President Putin, among others. Villas, underground ice hockey fields, vineyards and parking lots confirm what many Russians know: the elite steal at the expense of the average citizen.
In this regard, what was revealed in Pandora’s papers is nothing new, only the emergence of new names. Take Svetlana Krivonozhikh, who according to Washington Post In 2003, through an offshore company, he became the owner of a luxury apartment in Monaco worth more than 4 million dollars.
Last year, Russian investigative journalism platform Proekt . revealed Krivonogikh cleaned it when he was a student in a shop in Saint PetersburgUntil she met the future president in the late nineties and established a close relationship with him. Krivonozhich is said to have been Putin’s lover for many years and in 2003 – before taking up the apartment position in Monaco – gave birth to a daughter, Luisa Rozova, who is the illegitimate daughter of the Russian president. From the moment she met Putin, Krivonogikh managed to amass a fortune of at least $100 million.
Another name that appears in the Pandora Papers is that of Konstantin Ernst, program director of major state broadcaster Pervy Kanal. Ernst is seen as the mastermind behind Russian propaganda that cultivates Putin’s image as a strong leader. The 60-year-old oligarch owes his fortune, among other things, to the purchase of 39 cinemas that he managed to take from the Muscovite on the cheap.
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