RUSSIA Russian oligarchs circumventing sanctions

Thousands of documents were published on Arkadij and Boris Rotenberg, some of the oligarchs closest to Putin and owners of the “president’s castle” denounced by Navalni. In the network of figureheads in charge of managing his financial and personal affairs, there is also a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. Even after the invasion of Ukraine, none of his business has been affected by the sanctions, especially in Monaco, Cyprus and Luxembourg.

Moscow () – Some news agencies, together with the website Vazhnye Istorii (“Important Stories”), have carried out an investigation into the phenomenon of corruption and organized crime in Russia. They focused, among others, on the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, two of the oligarchs closest to President Putin, who have been able to effectively camouflage their companies and properties abroad, which include real estate, private planes and yachts, avoiding Western sanctions. .

An anonymous source gave the journalists a series of documents, called the “Rotenberg file”, containing more than 50,000 files, 30,000 electronic messages and 12,000 letters of varying importance. In them it is clear that the Rotenbergs have been able to maintain their empire outside of Russia by organizing a wide network of trusted people, front men, in charge of managing the financial and personal affairs of the protectors in order to mislead the true destiny of the interests. in Game.

One of these front men, according to the investigation, is Maksim Viktorov, a business partner of a cousin of the late Queen of England, Elizabeth II. A former collaborator of the Soviet KGB, Viktorov has worked since 2012 as an adviser to the former Russian defense minister, Anatolij Serdjukov, and became part of President Putin’s closest entourage. In 2014 he began helping the Rotenbergs, who had already been included in the first US and EU sanctions packages, which were issued after the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The millionaire brothers then abandoned the administrative structures of their own companies, hiding a substantial part of the shares in reserved investment funds managed by the Evokorp firm, owned by Viktorov, whom the Rotenbergs have always denied even knowing and are now denied by the documentation. Using off-shore funds, the Rotenbergs have acquired through third parties many properties in Spain, France, Austria and Monaco for more than 50 million dollars, as well as a 42 million Bombardier aircraft. In a chalet in Kitzbühel, Austria, the presence of Putin’s eldest daughter, Maria Vorontsova, and her Dutch ex-husband Jorrit Faassen were recorded.

The wives of the two oligarchs have also helped muddy the waters: Boris’s wife, Karina, is a US citizen, and Arkady’s wife, Maria Borodunova, is a Latvian citizen. The latter has accumulated many properties abroad since she began her relationship with her husband in 2013, and is also a co-founder of the French company SCI Dana, which owns a sumptuous villa in Villefranche-sur Mer, on the Côte d’Azur, and an apartment of 400 m2 in the Sun Tower in the center of Monaco, which was acquired for 65 million euros. Karina, for her part, owns at least half of her husband’s properties, valued at more than 70 million euros.

Until 2022 Karina and Maria ensured their husbands continuous money flows through credits from Russian bank branches abroad, especially from the Cypriot branch of Promsvyazbank. Sanctions continued to accumulate during the invasion of Ukraine, but the parties entrusted to wives and front men appear to have remained completely unchecked and restricted, especially in Monaco, Cyprus and Luxembourg.

The Rotenbergs are part of Putin’s “magic circle,” with Arkady even claiming he owned the scandalous “Putin castle” in Gelendzhik that Navalny denounced at the height of his confrontation with the mighty Kremlin. In Crimea alone, the Rotenbergs have hoarded state funds for more than 300 billion rubles, more than a quarter of the money that the Kremlin invested for the development of the occupied peninsula between 2020-2025.

Boris Rotenberg is also co-owner and member of the board of directors of the important SMP Bank, vice-president of the Russian Judo Federation, a sport highly appreciated by Putin, and founder and director of the Russian car club SMP Racing. The whole world is relentlessly chasing him with sanctions, but he has proven to be quite a “black belt”, not only in the sports field but also in finance.

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Written by Editor TLN

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