Home U.S Biden sanctions Putin's 'personal banker' who pays his 'gymnast lover'

Biden sanctions Putin's 'personal banker' who pays his 'gymnast lover'

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The U.S. Government slapped new sanctions on people close to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle Friday – this time targeting the ice dancing wife of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Putin’s ‘person banker’ who funded his alleged gymnast lover. 

The White House on Monday announced ‘full blocking sanctions’ on Russian elites and family members, including Yuri Kovalchuck, who is known as ‘Putin’s banker.’

The oligarch is close to Putin, and holds shares in the National Media Group, which is chaired by Alina Kabaeva, long rumored to be Putin’s gymast lover.

She allegedly met Putin in 2001, when she was an 18-year-old gymnast. She won Gold in Individual All-Around for Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Athens Olympics before becoming a pro-Putin member of the state Duma, then later earning big bucks as head of a media giant. 

The Insider reported in 2020 based on a leaked tax database that her official income was about $10 million. The Kremlin has long denied an affair.

The White House announced the sanctions as being imposed by the U.S., the European Union, and other G7 nations to impose ‘further economic costs on Russia,’ whose economy has been hammered since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The White House announced sanctions on Yuri Kovalchuck, who is known as'Putin's banker,' and who owns shares in a media company chaired by Alina Kabaeva. Putin and Kabaeva during a meeting between the Russian president and Olympic team at the Kremlin in 2004

The White House announced sanctions on Yuri Kovalchuck, who is known as ‘Putin’s banker,’ and who owns shares in a media company chaired by Alina Kabaeva. Putin and Kabaeva during a meeting between the Russian president and Olympic team at the Kremlin in 2004

The sanctions came down on a day when President Biden announced the removal of Russia’s Permanent Normal Trade Status, amid still more reports of attacks on civilians in Russia’s two week old invasion of Ukraine.

They came down as the New York Times reported U.S. authorities were examining a $700 million mega yacht in dry dock in Italy that had links to Putin. 

Page Six reported last week that Kabaeva, 38, has gone into hiding in a Swiss chalet along with four children, alleged to be Putin’s, citing a source. She has been dubbed ‘Russia’s most flexible woman.’

The U.S. had already imposed sanctions on Peskov, a key Kremlin figure who continued to justify Russia’s invasion on Friday. The State Department called him the regime’s ‘lead propagandist’ when announcing sanctions on him days ago.

Newly announced Treasury Department sanctions announced Friday go after Peskov’s family members, who all live ‘luxurious lifestyles’ that the agency release says were ‘incongruous’ with Peskov’s salary as a civil servant ‘and are likely built on the ill-gotten wealth of Peskov’s connections to Putin.’ 

The glamorous Alina Kabayeva athlete has appeared on the cover of Russian Vogue - pictured here at the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg in 2008

The glamorous Alina Kabayeva athlete has appeared on the cover of Russian Vogue – pictured here at the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St Petersburg in 2008

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Russian gymnasts Alina Kabayeva (centre) and Svetlana Khorkina ahead of the Olympics in 2004

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Russian gymnasts Alina Kabayeva (centre) and Svetlana Khorkina ahead of the Olympics in 2004

Tatiana Navka, former Russian figure skater and now wife of Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov poses for the media on red carpet prior closing ceremony of 41st Moscow International Film Festival at Pushkinsky cinema center in Moscow, Russia, 25 April 2019. The government says she has real estate worth $10 million

Tatiana Navka, former Russian figure skater and now wife of Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov poses for the media on red carpet prior closing ceremony of 41st Moscow International Film Festival at Pushkinsky cinema center in Moscow, Russia, 25 April 2019. The government says she has real estate worth $10 million

Russian President Vladimir Putin (c) and Tatiana Navka Turin 2006 Figure Skating Olympic Champion Give Chocolate Candies to Children at a Skating Rink On the Red Square in Moscow Tuesday 26 December 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin (c) and Tatiana Navka Turin 2006 Figure Skating Olympic Champion Give Chocolate Candies to Children at a Skating Rink On the Red Square in Moscow Tuesday 26 December 2006

Treasury said oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was worth $6 billion

Treasury said oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was worth $6 billion

A sanctions statement called Peskov the Kremlin's 'lead propagandist.' He continued to justify the invasion Friday, while calling it a'special military operation'

A sanctions statement called Peskov the Kremlin’s ‘lead propagandist.’ He continued to justify the invasion Friday, while calling it a ‘special military operation’

Putin allegedly met Alina Kabaeva in 2001, when she was an 18-year-old gymnast. Here she performs during a gymnastic gala at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, September 26, 2000

Putin allegedly met Alina Kabaeva in 2001, when she was an 18-year-old gymnast. Here she performs during a gymnastic gala at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, September 26, 2000

Treasury valued Vekselberg's jet at $90 million

Treasury valued Vekselberg’s jet at $90 million

The government said his yacht, Tango, is also worth $90 million. It is owned by Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin

The government said his yacht, Tango, is also worth $90 million. It is owned by Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin

This multispectral satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows destroyed homes, impact craters and fires in town of Moschun, Ukraine, during the Russian invasion, Friday, March 11, 2022

This multispectral satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows destroyed homes, impact craters and fires in town of Moschun, Ukraine, during the Russian invasion, Friday, March 11, 2022

Peskov’s wife, Tatiana Aleksandrovna Navka (Navka), owns property worth more than $10 million, according to Treasury, with holdings in a Moscow suburb where Putin lives, a Moscow apartment, and another in Crimea – which Russia invaded in 2014.

‘She first gained notoriety when she won a gold medal in ice dancing representing Russia at the 2006 Winter Olympics and later hosted an ice dancing show on Russia’s state-owned pro-Kremlin Channel One,’ the Department noted.

 The Russian citizen, she lived and trained for more than a decade in the U.S. 

The couple both have children from previous relationships, and a daughter born in August 2014. 

Treasury also designated Peskov’s two adult children, Nikolay Peskov (Nikolay) and Elizaveta Dmitriyevna Peskova (Liza) as being people whose property was blocked due to their relationship with Peskov.

Nikolay grew up in the UK, later serving in the Russian Army and working for RT – the Kremlin-backed outlet that social media companies placed restrictions on following Russia’s invasion.

She ‘travels on private aircraft and yachts,’ according to Treasury. 

Liza ‘has tens of thousands of followers on social media, where she displays her luxurious lifestyle’ and publicly supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Elizaveta Peskova posted the phrase “no to war” to her Instagram Live account, according to reports in Russia, only to quickly delete it.  

Treasury estimates Vekselberg’s wealth at $6 billion, and he has long been reported to be close to Putin.

His holdings ‘span multiple sectors of the Russian Federation economy.’

The government designated two of his holdings valued at $90 million each as ‘blocked property’: an Airbus A319 jet, and a yacht, Tango, which is flagged in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

Treasury also designated 10 officials with Russia’s second largest bank, VTB Bank.

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