Crime

Fraudulent network leads to Putin’s hidden fortune

Suspicious Russian email addresses with the same domain name have led to the gargantuan fortunes of President Vladimir Putin and his oligarch friends. This fortune includes luxury yachts, vineyards, villas, castles, airplanes, and billions of euros in bank accounts. All this capital was linked to 86 companies with the domain name ‘LLCInvest.ru’. This is apparent from a study by various international media.

Several sources have already claimed that Putin has a large hidden capital. The most famous of these is opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who last year made a film about Putin’s gigantic palace on the Black Sea. Navalny proved not to be mistaken because in addition to the gigantic palace, 86 fake companies also appeared that maintain the capital of the Russian president and his entourage.

Whenever Putin is linked to a property, the Kremlin points to a befriended oligarch who then claims it is his property. But all the land and possessions appear to be run by companies with the same domain name: ‘LLCInvest.ru’. This ‘LLCInvest.ru’ network leads to Putin and his entourage, according to the research collective OCCRP and the Russian news site Meduza.

All these companies together have a capital of 4.3 billion euros. That includes giant villas, planes, superyachts, ski resorts, and bank accounts.

Fake rental

For example, there is the Villa Sellgren in the north of Saint Petersburg. It is known that Putin sometimes spends his holidays in the enchanting room, where his daughter also got married. Officially, the estate would belong to the son of a deceased friend of Putin.

But what is striking is that the email address of both the son and the company that owns the property ends with the domain name ‘LLCInvest.ru’. In addition, Sibur, Russia’s largest petrochemical company, has been investing more than a million dollars in this property every year since an agreement in 2012. Supposed to rent this villa, but they don’t use it themselves.

The companies that use the infamous domain name are all in the name of Putin’s henchmen. Several journalists tried to get in touch with those companies, but not a single employee of such a company wanted to answer.

Mussel farm without mussels

In addition to the many estates and luxury yachts, there are also bank accounts that are brimful. Some of those 86 email addresses lead to bank accounts that hold more than half a billion euros in the name of non-profit organizations. Those organizations were officially created to help maintain things like “agricultural projects” or “the tradition of Russian aviation,” but in reality, they don’t.

Finally, the research also shows that the majority of this empire are fake companies that barely carry out any activities. There is, for example, a mussel farm that has not yet sold a single mussel, and there is also an airline where you cannot book flights. All of this is probably just the tip of the iceberg because, according to the researchers, the fraud scandal is even bigger than already mapped out.

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