A PORTFOLIO of property with a $100million price tag belonging to Vladimir Putin’s alleged lover has been revealed in a huge leak of financial data.
The secret offshore wealth of hundreds of world leaders – including associates of the Russian president – celebrities, and multi-millionaires has been exposed in documents dubbed the Pandora Papers.
The Pandora Papers reveal assets owned by Svetlana Krivonogikh, including a luxury apartment and yacht[/caption]
Vladimir Putin was linked to secret assets in Monaco in the papers[/caption]
They shed light on the previously hidden dealings of the elite and the corrupt, and how they have used offshore accounts to shield assets collectively worth trillions of dollars.
The papers reveal how more than 330 billionaires, religious leaders, drug dealers and politicians have been hiding their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront property, yachts and other assets for the past quarter-century.
A review of nearly 12 million files obtained from 14 firms located around the world has revealed how wealthy world leaders used accounts in tax havens to carry out transactions and accrue vast sums of money.
The papers link Russian president Putin to secret assets in Monaco and reveal an offshore company owned by his alleged lover bought a $4.1million(£3m) apartment below the principality’s casino.
The luxury flat was purchased by Brockville Development Ltd, which according to the Guardian was traced back to Svetlana Krivonogikh.
After forging a friendship with Putin, she appears to have built up a $100million (£74million) property portfolio, including a flat in St Petersburg and sites in Moscow, as well as yacht.
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According to Russian investigative outlet Proekt, the former cleaner is said to be the mother of Putin’s child.
The report released Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involved 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries.
Those identified as beneficiaries of the secret accounts include Jordans King Abdullah II, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso, and associates of both Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The billionaires called out in the report include Turkish construction mogul Erman Ilicak and Robert T. Brockman, the former CEO of software maker Reynolds & Reynolds.
Many of the accounts were designed to evade taxes and conceal assets for other shady reasons, according to the report.
The new data leak “must be a wake-up call”, said Sven Giegold, a Green party lawmaker in the European Parliament.
“Global tax evasion fuels global inequality. We need to expand and sharpen the countermeasures now.”
The Pandora Papers are a follow to a similar project released in 2016 called the Panama Papers, compiled by the same journalistic group.
This latest bombshell is even more expansive, porting through nearly 3 terabytes of data the equivalent of roughly 750,000 photos on a smartphone leaked from 14 different service providers doing business in 38 different jurisdictions in the world.
The records date back to the 1970s, but most of the files span from 1996 to 2020.
In contrast, the Panama Papers culled through 2.6 terabytes of data leaked by one now-defunct law firm called Mossack Fonseca that was located in the country that inspired that project’s nickname.
The latest investigation dug into accounts registered in familiar offshore havens, including the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong, and Belize.
But some of the secret accounts were also scattered around in trusts set up in the US, including 81 in South Dakota and 37 in Florida.
Tony Blair, prime minister from 1997 to 2007, became the owner of an $8.8 million Victorian building in 2017 by buying a British Virgin Islands company that held the property, and the building now hosts the law firm of his wife, Cherie Blair, according to the investigation.
The two bought the company from the family of Bahrains industry and tourism minister, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani.
Buying the company shares instead of the London building saved the Blairs more than $400,000 in property taxes, the investigation found.
The Blairs and the al-Zayanis both said they didn’t initially know the other party was involved in the deal, the probe found.
Cherie Blair said her husband wasn’t involved in the purchase, which she said was meant to bring the company and the building back into the UK tax and regulatory regime.
She also said she did not want to own a British Virgin Islands company and that the seller for their own purposes only wanted to sell the company, which is now closed.
A lawyer for the al-Zayanis said they complied with UK laws.
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