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Published On: Thu, Oct 26th, 2017

Putin’s inner cirkle has amassed $24 bln: OCCRP investigation

nsnbc : Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle is estimated to have amassed almost $24 billion away from the public eye, with large sums and wealth amassed with persons who more likely than not are straw men for Putin, reveals an investigative report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Screen capture from OCCRP YouTube video.

Screen capture from OCCRP YouTube video.

The OCCRP report focuses on members of Putin’s inner cirkle who have amassed  the $24 billion. The report does not include state company executives or politicians. The report also builds a case for the argument that many of the otherwise low-income persons with unusual wealth covered in the report act as proxies for Putin.

Members of Putin’s inner circle were previously implicated in a $2 billion money laundering scheme in a large-scale 2016 leak known as the Panama Papers. However, no direct link to Putin could be established. The issue was hotly debated but it more likely than not merely covered loose change rather than big fish.

The Panama Papers identified musician and Putin’s childhood friend Sergei Roldugin as the owner of offshore companies that the president’s inner circle used to channel the $2 billion to Russia.

The OCCRP investigation singles out Roldugin and two other figures in Putin’s cohort as likely proxies with vast assets who cannot account for their wealth. They are not involved in politics, big business, don’t hold lucrative jobs or live a wealthy lifestyle. The OCCRP says:

“But, somehow, they’ve come to hold enormous assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars — though sometimes they can hardly recall the names of the companies they own.”

Another person who, according to the OCCRP report doubles as one of Putin’s proxies is worth $573 million based on publicly available figures. He has been is identified as the 49-year-old Mikhail Shelomov, the son of the president’s cousin. His official salary at a state oil firm is $700 per month, according to the investigation. The second member of Putin’s inner circle covered in the report is a former butcher and another childhood friend Pyotr Kolbin, with an estimated net worth of $550 million.

In 2012 comments to the Russian Vedemosti newspaper that uncovered him as a stakeholder in an energy company rumored to be the source of Putin’s private wealth, Kolbin denied that he was a businessman. The investigation quotes an unnamed ex-KGB officer as saying that Putin “will never leave any trace” of his vast assets. “Why should [he], if there are trusted people from the inner circle or some distant relatives who can keep all the assets?”

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) also published findings with the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta on Tuesday that estimate Putin’s family and friends are worth almost $24 billion.

CH/L – nsnbc 26.10.2017

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  1. mark delmege says:

    OCCRP is supported by grants by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the United States Department of State, the Swiss Confederation, the Open Society Foundations (OSF), Google Ideas and the Knight Foundation.
    so … dodgy as

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