A vast network of companies holding a combined total of more than $4.5billion in luxury assets linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin all share one common email domain, it has been reported.
An investigation by Russian-Latvian news organisation Meduza and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) found that a total of 86 different companies, seemingly unrelated and operating across different industries, all communicated under the email domain ‘LLCInvest.ru’.
The email domain is hosted by a Russian IT company heavily tied to Bank Rossiya – described by the US Treasury as ‘the personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation’ – whose shareholders are a collective of Putin’s friends, associates and even one of his supposed mistresses.
A whole host of assets owned by various companies and their oligarchs – including a Black Sea palace, a luxury ski resort and a superyacht – have reportly been used and enjoyed by Putin in the past.
But a digital paper trail, revealed via the common LLCInvest email domain, has shown for the first time how all of these companies and their respective assets are inextricably linked to one vast network of power and wealth, at the centre of which sits the Russian President.
A vast network of companies holding a combined total of more than $4.5billion in luxury assets linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) all share one common email domain, it has been reported
This grab taken on January 25, 2021 of an handout video of the Alexey Navalny Youtube Channel shows an aerial view of a property, located along Russia’s southern Black Sea, that Navalny claims is owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin
A whole host of assets owned by various companies and their oligarchs who share an LLCInvest email address – including this Black Sea palace – are all reported to have been used and enjoyed by Putin in the past
Alexei Navalny’s team share new pictures from what they describe as President Vladimir Putin’s ‘palace’ in Gelendzhik, by the Black Sea
This image from the Black Sea mansion was described as ‘Putin’s bedroom’ by Navalny’s team
The vast ‘Igora’ ski resort outside St Petersburg is one of many assets owned by LLCInvest companies
Previous attempts to prove which assets are owned by Putin have been futile, though the reality is widely believed to be vastly different to the picture painted by official Russian records, which suggest the President owns little more than an apartment and a few cars.
Each time a luxurious villa or superyacht has been linked to the Russian despot, one of his friends, associates or oligarchs came forward to claim ownership.
Billionaire businessman and Putin’s fellow judo practitioner Arkady Rotenberg was named as the owner of the Gelendzhik Black Sea palace, while the Sellgren villa north of St Petersburg was claimed by Sergey Rudnov, the son of an old Putin associate who died in 2015.
But the companies associated with both of these individuals were found to operate a private email address connected to the LLCInvest network.
Other unofficial members of the network include Putin’s childhood friend and majority Bank Rossiya shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk, oligarch Gennady Timchenko, and alleged mistress Svetlana Krivonogikh.
A Russian corruption expert, who remained anonymous for safety reasons, told Meduza: ‘The only explanation I see is that these companies are united by a common management system… ‘[LLCInvest] looks most of all like a cooperative, or an association, in which its members can exchange benefits and property.’
This theory of a common management system through which Russian elites can trade and share incredible sums of money and highly-desired assets supports the longstanding claims that Putin has consolidated a vast fortune shrouded by a series of proxies and frontmen.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov immediately shut down enquiries following the revelation of LLCInvest, declaring that ‘The President of the Russian Federation is not linked or affiliated in any way with the assets and organisations mentioned.’
Meduza and OCCRP meanwhile said they did not receive a single response from hundreds of LLCInvest email addresses they had contacted in the course of their investigation, though read receipts showed dozens of the emails were opened by the recipients.
Ownership of this lavish villa north of St Petersburg was claimed by Sergey Rudnov, the son of an old Putin associate who died in 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg (L) attend judo training at Yug Sport complex February 14, 2019. Rotenberg is the supposed owner of a huge palace on the Black Sea connected to the LLCInvest network
Unofficial members of the network include Putin’s childhood friend and majority Bank Rossiya shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk (L), oligarch Gennady Timchenko, and alleged mistress Svetlana Krivonogikh (R)
The findings of the investigation were published just days after Putin slammed the West’s sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs and businesses following his invasion of Ukraine and delivered a thinly-veiled threat to any oligarchs thinking of abandoning Russia for sunnier climes.
Amid a lengthy denunciation of the US and its allies, Putin, 69, warned ‘nothing will be as it used to be’ as he delivered last week’s St Petersburg Economic Forum (SPIEF) keynote speech more than 90 minutes later than expected after the event suffered a cyber attack.
When he eventually took to the stage, Putin issued a warning to Russian elites thinking of quitting his regime.
‘It’s safer in your own house,’ he said solemnly. ‘Those who didn’t want to listen to this have lost millions abroad.’
Putin drew applause from the hall when he reaffirmed his determination to continue the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine that has unleashed what he said was an ‘unprecedented’ barrage of Western economic sanctions.
Putin ominously claimed the West ‘thinks they have won’ and said Moscow’s war in Ukraine had become a ‘lifesaver for the West to blame all the problem on Russia.’
He added that the US considers itself ‘God’s emissary on Earth’, and that Western sanctions were founded on a false premise that Russia had no economic sovereignty.