Vladmir Putin. (Washington Put up illustration; {Photograph} by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Photographs)

MONACO — The condominium hangs over the blue waters of the Mediterranean beneath the Monte Carlo on line casino of James Bond legend. Within the harbor beneath, royals, moguls and oligarchs float by in iceberg-size yachts.

There’s little in regards to the humble background of Svetlana Krivonogikh to point that she had the means to accumulate property overlooking this playground for the world’s elite. The Russian girl reportedly grew up in a crowded communal condominium in St. Petersburg, and held jobs that included cleansing a neighborhood store.

However beforehand undisclosed monetary data mixed with native tax paperwork present that Krivonogikh, 46, turned the proprietor of the condominium in Monaco via an offshore firm created simply weeks after she gave delivery to a lady. The kid was born at a time when, in response to a Russian media report final yr, she was in a secret, years-long relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Krivonogikh’s luxurious unit on the Monte Carlo Star is revealed by paperwork obtained by the Worldwide Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with The Washington Put up. The paperwork, often called the Pandora Papers, expose her possession of a shell firm within the British Virgin Islands, in addition to her use of a Monaco monetary companies agency that concurrently labored for considered one of Putin’s billionaire pals.

The information don’t point out the place she bought the cash to pay for an condominium that price $4.1 million in 2003, and might be price excess of that right now. However the transaction coincided with a interval when Krivonogikh was allegedly in a relationship with Putin and amassing an astonishing portfolio of belongings in Russia, in response to Proekt, an internet Russian investigative outlet that uncovered her alleged hyperlink to the Kremlin chief and has since been outlawed in Russia.

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A Kremlin spokesman dismissed that report when it was revealed final yr. However particulars in regards to the condominium bolster its core declare — that after Krivonogikh started her reported relationship with Putin, she collected belongings typically linked to his shut associates in some style.

Earlier than the Proekt report, Krivonogikh’s ties to Putin’s interior circle had surfaced however not caught public consideration. Financial institution Rossiya disclosed in 2010 that she was considered one of its greatest shareholders via her firm OOO Loosen up. The St. Petersburg-based financial institution would later be topic to sanctions by the U.S. Treasury, which labeled it the “private financial institution for senior officers of the Russian Federation.”

Krivonogikh has not spoken about her alleged relationship with Putin or her outstanding accumulation of wealth.

However her daughter, who turned 18 this yr and goes by the identify Luiza Rozova, has fueled hypothesis about her paternity in interviews, capitalizing on the eye to construct a rising on-line following. In footage, Rozova bears a placing resemblance to the Russian president, and she or he has acknowledged that likeness even whereas refusing to substantiate or deny that Putin is her father.

No father is listed for Rozova on official Russian paperwork obtained by Proekt and reviewed by The Put up. However these paperwork do report a center identify, “Vladimirovna,” that could be a patronymic which means “daughter of Vladimir.” On her Instagram account, which has greater than 83,000 followers, she offers her identify as “rozova luiza v.”

Krivonogikh didn’t reply to requests for remark despatched to her via her St. Petersburg-based companies, Financial institution Rossiya, her daughter and the Monaco monetary companies agency. Efforts to achieve Krivonogikh at three residential addresses related together with her weren’t profitable.

A Kremlin spokesman didn’t reply to a request for remark submitted by the ICIJ on behalf of The Put up and different associate media organizations within the Pandora mission.

The clues connecting Krivonogikh to the Monaco property are contained within the large new repository of economic supplies. The Pandora paperwork embrace spreadsheets, memos, invoices and emails obtained from regulation companies, accounting workplaces and belief directors that function in among the world’s most permissive monetary jurisdictions. The trove incorporates over 11.9 million paperwork, greater than these uncovered 5 years in the past within the Panama Papers, an analogous assortment of information that triggered scandals and reforms.

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The data illuminate the hidden monetary maneuverings of world leaders, billionaire traders, celebrities, athletes and different elite purchasers. The cache gives a very expansive view of what number of of these most loyal to Putin have grown exorbitantly wealthy and stashed belongings overseas, even because the Russian president has disparaged the West and referred to as on Russian elites to maintain their capital at residence.

The information present, for instance, that media govt Konstantin Ernst obtained a stake in a profitable actual property deal after profitable the Russian chief’s reward for serving to to stage the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The mission concerned changing Soviet-era cinema complexes nonetheless owned by the state into non-public procuring and condominium developments. Ernst’s partnership has not been disclosed publicly however is detailed in Pandora paperwork associated to the mission.

Media executive Konstantin Ernst, left, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014. The Pandora Papers show that Ernst obtained a stake in a lucrative real estate deal after the Russian leader praised his work on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Media govt Konstantin Ernst, left, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014. The Pandora Papers present that Ernst obtained a stake in a profitable actual property deal after the Russian chief praised his work on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. (Yuri Kochetkov/EPA/Shutterstock )

In a written assertion, Ernst confirmed his involvement in the true property enterprise however denied that it was “compensation for the Olympics 2014.” He didn’t deal with different questions submitted by The Put up, the ICIJ and different media companions however mentioned, “I haven’t dedicated any unlawful actions.”

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Different paperwork present that Herman Gref, the top of Russian state-owned Sberbank, held greater than $50 million in money and mortgage receivables offshore for his household utilizing accounts in Samoa, Panama and Singapore, regardless of serving as probably the most distinguished public face of Russia’s state banking system.

Singapore authorities flagged transactions involving Gref and two of his Russian colleagues, in response to an audit report by the Financial Authority of Singapore included within the Pandora information, and later fined the monetary agency dealing with Gref’s belongings $1.1 million for failing to adjust to anti-money-laundering guidelines. A spokeswoman for Singapore’s financial authority mentioned the agency paid the positive and has taken remedial actions to deal with the failures.

Herman Gref, left, the head of Russian state-owned Sberbank, with Putin in 2019. Pandora documents reveal that Gref held over $50 million in offshore accounts despite being the leading public face of Russia’s state banking system.
Herman Gref, left, the top of Russian state-owned Sberbank, with Putin in 2019. Pandora paperwork reveal that Gref held over $50 million in offshore accounts regardless of being the main public face of Russia’s state banking system. (N/A/Kommersant Photograph Company/Shutterstock)

Gref declined to remark via a Sberbank spokeswoman.

General, the supplies reinforce the depiction of Russia as a rustic the place an elite near authorities energy make thousands and thousands of {dollars} and safeguard that non-public wealth utilizing opaque monetary buildings abroad.

5 years after the Panama Papers revelations, the brand new information present that moderately than retreat from the usage of offshore accounts, rich Russians and their cash managers have sought to turn out to be higher at hiding their belongings. In a single passage, a lawyer who represented two of Putin’s longtime pals warned a Panamanian agency to not repeat the blunders that led to the leak named for that nation.

“You’re obliged to maintain secrecy for our purchasers,” the lawyer wrote in a 2016 message, “and to not make possible in any respect a second Panama Papers story.”

A path of paperwork

These concerned in arranging the Monte Carlo buy for Krivonogikh took measures that ensured that her identify and standing as proprietor didn’t seem on public data.

On April 2, 2003 — virtually precisely a month after Krivonogikh’s daughter was born — a shell firm referred to as Brockville Improvement Ltd. was included on the Caribbean island of Tortola, in response to data within the Pandora trove. Months later, Monaco property data present, that shell firm bought the condominium in Monaco for 3.6 million euros, about $6 million in right now’s {dollars} when adjusted for inflation.

The constructing is “extremely sought-after with the world’s wealthiest,” in response to on-line promotional materials from a Monaco actual property agency. The complicated’s “mild and ethereal” flats boast “spacious terraces best for al fresco eating or watching among the world’s most luxurious superyachts sail out and in of world-famous Port Hercules,” the agency writes.

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The harbor of Monte Carlo, the place a girl who reportedly was in a secret relationship with Putin has a luxurious condominium.

(Pasquale Iovino/Unsplash)

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A hallway on the Monte Carlo Star in Monaco, the place Svetlana Krivonogikh turned the proprietor of a luxurious condominium via an offshore firm created weeks after she gave delivery to a lady in 2003, when she reportedly was in a secret relationship with Putin.

(Obtained by The Washington Put up)

The Pandora information don’t present exactly when Krivonogikh turned Brockville’s “helpful proprietor,” a time period that refers to the one that finally controls an offshore firm or advantages from it financially, even when different names seem on registration paperwork. They point out she was the helpful proprietor as early as 2006.

Moores Rowland, the Monaco monetary companies agency that managed the transactions, used shell corporations that may have made it troublesome for anybody looking for to unravel Krivonogikh’s possession. Brockville was tucked inside a second shell firm referred to as Sefton Securities, which was in flip owned by Eamonn McGregor, a British-born accountant who runs Moores Rowland in Monaco. That’s the place the general public paper path ends.

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On Jan. 1, 2006, Krivonogikh signed an settlement that made Sefton the declared proprietor of Brockville, when, in actuality, the condominium was hers, in response to Pandora data. A 2015 disclosure letter within the Pandora information makes the association express, noting that Krivonogikh had licensed a construction during which Sefton “was appointed nominee and trustee for the helpful proprietor.”

Moores Rowland’s workplaces are within the coronary heart of Monte Carlo, a number of blocks inland from the well-known on line casino. The agency seems to have transferred management of Brockville to a special Panama-based shell in 2018, however there isn’t any indication in these information or public data that Krivonogikh ever relinquished possession.

When a Put up reporter visited the Monte Carlo Star complicated in mid-August, a safety official on the constructing’s entrance mentioned nobody named Svetlana Krivonogikh was listed on the listing of residents.

When a Put up reporter knocked on the door of the unit recognized by native property data as owned by Brockville, a girl who answered mentioned that nobody named Svetlana lived on the condominium. She didn’t resemble pictures of Krivonogikh.

No different residents had been seen within the hallway or coming and going from the constructing’s foremost entrance. The inside seems up to now to the Nineteen Seventies, with brick-colored partitions, walnut-paneled doorways and geometrically formed chandeliers dangling above the primary staircase.

Monaco tax officers confirmed that Brockville nonetheless owns the condominium. If Krivonogikh is renting it out, latest listings point out she may earn $25,000 or extra in month-to-month revenue.

Monaco regulation requires monetary companies working in that jurisdiction to dedicate particular scrutiny to purchasers thought-about “politically uncovered individuals” — those that maintain distinguished public positions or have shut ties to others becoming that description. Moores Rowland didn’t listing Krivonogikh as “politically uncovered” in paperwork included within the Pandora information.

Moores Rowland has enterprise connections to different Russians near Putin. Amongst them is Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire oil dealer whose friendship with Putin dates to the Nineties in St. Petersburg.

Registration paperwork and different data within the trove present that Moores Rowland was lively on behalf of Timchenko, serving to type an organization that may turn out to be a part of his oil-trading empire. Related paperwork additionally present Moores Rowland’s involvement in establishing shell corporations whose listed belongings included yachts bought by Timchenko and his daughter.

From left, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, billionaire oil trader Gennady Timchenko and Putin during a hockey game in 2019 in Sochi, Russia. Timchenko has a history being involved in business transactions with people allegedly close to Putin.
From left, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, billionaire oil dealer Gennady Timchenko and Putin throughout a hockey sport in 2019 in Sochi, Russia. Timchenko has a historical past being concerned in enterprise transactions with individuals allegedly near Putin. (Sergei Chirikov)

The U.S. Treasury Division sanctioned Timchenko in 2014, alleging that Putin held investments in his oil-trading enterprise. Timchenko’s agency denied the allegation, however he has a historical past of being concerned in enterprise transactions with individuals allegedly near Putin.

For instance, Timchenko offered a luxurious riverside condominium in St. Petersburg to the grandmother of a rhythmic gymnast, Alina Kabayeva, alleged to have been romantically concerned with Putin, in response to a report by Russia’s TV Rain citing Russian property data. Putin in 2008 denied being in a relationship with Kabayeva.

Kabayeva didn’t reply to a request for remark despatched via Russia’s Nationwide Media Group, the place she serves as chairwoman.

Longtime Putin friend Timchenko reportedly sold a luxury riverside apartment in St. Petersburg to the grandmother of rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, above in black, who is alleged to have had a romantic relationship with the Russian leader.
Longtime Putin buddy Timchenko reportedly offered a luxurious riverside condominium in St. Petersburg to the grandmother of rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, above in black, who’s alleged to have had a romantic relationship with the Russian chief. (Sergei Chirikov/EPA/Shutterstock/EPA/Shutterstock)

Timchenko additionally offered a mansion in Biarritz, France, and a big stake within the Russian oil and petrochemical firm Sibur to Putin’s former son-in-law, in response to Reuters.

Carter-Ruck, a London regulation agency representing Timchenko, mentioned that he “has at all times acted solely lawfully all through his profession and enterprise dealings.”

In a letter to The Put up, a British regulation agency representing Moores Rowland defended its shopper however didn’t present any remark for publication.

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A portfolio of properties

The Monaco condominium is a part of an astonishing portfolio of properties collected by Krivonogikh after she allegedly started her relationship with Putin.

She owns a stake in a Russian financial institution run by Putin associates, in response to public data and the Proekt investigation. She owns a majority share of a ski resort the place considered one of two daughters Putin had together with his spouse was married. She has a yacht, a Swiss checking account additionally uncovered within the Pandora trove, and flats at St. Petersburg’s most coveted addresses, in response to reporting by Proekt and Russian public data.

Earlier than being publicly linked to Putin final yr, Krivonogikh displayed the trimmings of wealth in profile pictures revealed by Proekt. One image now in vast circulation exhibits her carrying a fur and mirrored sun shades. One other exhibits her reclining in glossy clothes in opposition to a helicopter.

There isn’t any indication that her private fortune derives from household wealth.

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Two nameless sources who mentioned they know Krivonogikh advised the Russian publication that she had been “shut pals” with Putin for years, forging a relationship that started within the Nineties in St. Petersburg, the place Putin labored as a senior metropolis official, and continued into the early 2000s in Moscow after he turned president. Proekt reported that it had reviewed passenger data displaying that Krivonogikh turned a frequent airline commuter to the Russian capital as Putin settled into his duties.

Krivonogikh’s skilled prospects all of the sudden brightened, in response to particulars specified by the Proekt investigation. As early as 2001, she started working at Financial institution Rossiya. She subsequently acquired a roughly 3 p.c stake within the financial institution, in response to financial institution statements.

Svetlana Krivonogikh, who according to a Russian media report last year had a secret, years-long relationship with Putin starting in the 1990s, began working for Bank Rossiya as early as 2001 and subsequently acquired a roughly 3 percent stake in the bank, records show.
Svetlana Krivonogikh, who in response to a Russian media report final yr had a secret, years-long relationship with Putin beginning within the Nineties, started working for Financial institution Rossiya as early as 2001 and subsequently acquired a roughly 3 p.c stake within the financial institution, data present. (Stas Knop/Shutterstock )

She turned proprietor of an condominium on St. Petersburg’s prestigious Kamenny Island and bought a stake in a performing arts middle in St. Petersburg, in response to the Proekt investigation, which cites Russian public data verified by The Put up.

Yet one more deal gave her a 75 p.c stake in a ski resort north of St. Petersburg, which she owns with a buddy of Putin who served as Financial institution Rossiya’s longtime chairman and largest shareholder, in response to Russian public data.

The seven chair lifts and diminutive slopes of the Igora resort aren’t any draw for Europe’s elite skiers. However the property has benefited from thousands and thousands of {dollars} in investments and enlargement because it opened throughout Putin’s second time period as president, and in 2013 it served because the backdrop for the marriage of the youthful of Putin’s two daughters with the spouse he divorced in 2014.

In one of several deals involving Putin friends, Krivonogikh obtained a 75 percent stake in this ski resort north of St. Petersburg. The resort has benefited from millions of dollars in investments and expansion since it opened during Putin’s first term as president.
In considered one of a number of offers involving Putin pals, Krivonogikh obtained a 75 p.c stake on this ski resort north of St. Petersburg. The resort has benefited from thousands and thousands of {dollars} in investments and enlargement because it opened throughout Putin’s first time period as president. (Anatoly Maltsev/EPA/Shutterstock/EPA/Shutterstock)

A resemblance to Putin

Putin has guarded particulars about his non-public life and private wealth with the dedication that could be anticipated of a former KGB officer. Even his two acknowledged daughters shielded their identities from the general public by residing beneath aliases.

However the wall of secrecy has seen cracks develop in recent times amid a surge of on-line disclosures from opposition campaigners, journalists and Web sleuths. Earlier this yr, for instance, Putin’s foremost political adversary, Alexei Navalny, posted an internet exposé alleging {that a} $1 billion palace on the coast of the Black Sea is a secret residence for the Russian chief paid for via proceeds of corruption. Putin denied proudly owning the property.

Russian authorities have responded in latest months with a harsh crackdown on the political opposition and journalists. After the Black Sea investigation was posted on-line, Navalny was sentenced to 3½ years in jail and his group was banned by a Russian courtroom.

Russia has since additionally outlawed Proekt on nationwide safety grounds. Its editor fled the nation fearing prison prosecution.

[Trove of secret files details an opaque financial universe where the global elite shield their riches]

Proekt estimated final yr that Krivonogikh’s belongings in Russia alone had been price 7.7 billion rubles, or about $100 million. The Pandora information present the primary proof that her holdings have prolonged past Russia’s borders.

Krivonogikh has refused to touch upon the allegations of her relationship with Putin and has shunned appearances in public and social media. Her daughter, nevertheless, has attracted consideration with hypothesis about her lineage.

In March, Rozova appeared at a Moscow membership to play a shock DJ set in honor of her 18th birthday. She has attracted tens of 1000’s of followers on Instagram, the place the photographs she posts obscure elements of her face however reveal heavy-lidded eyes that resemble these of the Russian chief.

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Her on-line profile exhibits the trimmings of wealth and that she is aware of the French Riviera scene surrounding Monaco. Throughout an look on the video social-networking platform Clubhouse in February, Rozova famous how she visits the French coastal metropolis Menton every year to attend its Lemon Competition — an occasion lower than 20 minutes from the Monte Carlo property.

Rozova didn’t reply to requests for remark.

In a February interview with the Russian version of GQ, she didn’t clarify why she stopped utilizing her mom’s surname, Krivonogikh. Nor did she instantly deal with her paternity. She was prepared, nevertheless, to acknowledge a likeness to Putin.

“Pay attention, in comparison with his younger pictures, most likely, sure, I appear like him,” she mentioned. “However, because it seems, there are various individuals who appear like Vladimir Vladimirovich.”

In an August interview with Srsly.ru, she equally declined to deal with the id of her father, saying the intrigue had already performed out and it was “boring to know the reality.” She additionally declined to say whether or not she had ever met Putin.

The interviewer requested what she’d say to the Russian president if she ended up in entrance of him.

“I might most likely ask him a query,” Rozova replied.

“Which one?” the interviewer requested.


About this story

The Pandora Papers is an investigation based mostly on greater than 11.9 million paperwork revealing the flows of cash, property and different belongings hid within the offshore monetary system. The Washington Put up and different information organizations uncovered the involvement of political leaders, examined the expansion of the trade inside the US and demonstrated how secrecy shields belongings from governments, collectors and people abused or exploited by the rich and highly effective. The trove of confidential data, the most important of its type, was obtained by the Worldwide Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which organized the investigation. Learn extra about this mission.