'People who are trying to find Putin’s accounts can spend their whole life searching and they will never find anything'
Some will get a kick out of this. You know who you are.
Vladimir Putin is destined to live a modest life. He’s not the richest man in the world. He doesn’t own stakes in Gazprom and Rosneft andBashneft . He doesn’t have a Maybach Exelero parked in the garage in his dacha. He doesn’t own all of Moscow and St. Petersburg and Siberia. All the gas in the Kara Sea does not belong to him. Not even 1% of it. He might look like the coolest James Bond villain in modern politics, but he’s really a puppy-dog loving guy with a six figure, maybea low seven figure net worth.
“You will not find Putin’s wealth,” said VTB Bank's charasmatic CEO Andrey Kostin in an interview with The Financial Times. “He has no car, no money. Do you think when he retires you’ll find him in Monaco on a 200-meter yacht? People who are trying to find Putin’s accounts can spend their whole life searching and they will never find anything,” Kostin told the FT.
In April, an international consortium of journalists released some 11.5 million documents leaked by Panamanian company Mossack Fonseca that showed how political leaders, and their friends, hid money from tax authorities off shore. Putin’s name only appeared on the list in terms of his relationship with Russian billionaires Arkady and Boris Rotenburg and Sergei Roldugin. But out of all the politicians named, and there were many, including Saudi royalty, no one got more negative press out of this than Putin.
Putin said back then that the revelations of the offshore businesses of Roldugin, the godfather to Putin’s eldest daughter, were “accurate” but do not reveal any wrong doing.
“They are simply trying to muddy the waters, he was quoted as sayingin The Telegraph. “Someone out there from among my friends is engaged in some business. The question is, does this money from these offshore accounts reach officials, including me?” he said.
Roldugin, a concert cellist and Putin pal since the 1970s, was linked to three offshore companies with cash flows of up to $2 billion. Putin said Roldugin had been spending millions of dollars on antique instruments that he was going to donate to national museums, including a $12 million, 1732 Stavidarius cello that once belonged to Frederick the Great, the Telegraph reported.
Direct ties to Putin were never revealed by the dossier, but they were revealed for Putin’s rival in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.
Russian business daily Vedomosti noted that despite nearly five years of Putin’s calls to squash Russia’s penchant for offshore entities– especially in Cyprus — shell operations and legit offshore enterprises are still the normal way for rich Russians to take their cash out of the country.
If Kostin is right, Putin himself isn’t part of the trend.