The billions of Putin’s “Inner Circle”
Assets managed by people in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘inner circle’ amount to USD 24 billion, and that’s only what’s been proven to date. This sum may only be the tip of the iceberg, Roman Shleinov, Russian coordinator of the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime reported in an interview with Radio Free Europe.
The international organization, which unites investigative journalists, is engaged throughout the world in the search for capital that may have origins in corruption and organized crime.
According to Shleinov, the Russian president’s inner circle consists of childhood friends, colleagues from the KGB, and relatives. These individuals are divided into two groups:
The first group consists of businessmen whose businesses blossomed after Vladimir Putin became president. The largest and most famous of them: Gennady Timchenko, Yuri Kovakchuk, and brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg. Their businesses are either connected with the extraction of gas and oil, or with the execution of government contracts.
The second group consists of people who are not public figures, but are related to President Putin through friendly or familial relationships. Take for example Mikhail Shelomov, the son of one of Vladimir Putin’s cousins, or musician Sergei Roldugin, who is a friend of the Russian President. Officially their companies carry out transactions worth billions of dollars. These people cannot explain the origins of their businesses, and it seems that they are not fully aware of the amount of money they operate with. There’s reason to believe that this is money that Vladimir Putin himself manages, Roman Shleinov said in an interview.
Regarding the estimated amount of USD 200 billion or more, which according to various researchers is controlled by Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the Russian coordinator of the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime said:
“We’re working with a figure of 24 billion dollars because this is something that we can prove for certain.”
At the same time he noted that the situation is constantly changing, such as how Kiril Shamalov, the son of a friend of the Russian president, appeared among the Russian dollar millionaires. This happened after he married Catherine Tikhovna, Vladimir Putin’s youngest daughter.
Recently, Russian officials and oligarchs have increasingly been getting divorced, leaving their fortunes to their ex-wives, or re-allocating assets to their children.
Note that on 2 February, the US National Intelligence and the US Department of State must submit a detailed report on all assets controlled by people with close ties to President Putin.
This measure provides for sanctions imposed by the US in response to Russia’s interference in the course of the 2016 US presidential election.