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Anti-corruption activists uncover 9-million-dollar mansion allegedly owned by Russia's Defense Minister

The sleuths at the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), a nonprofit run by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, have published evidence that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu owns a lavish mansion outside Moscow. 

Photo: FBK

The home is located on two plots of land covering about a hectare (2.5 acres). The home's value is estimated to be roughly $9 million. According to FBK's research, Shoigu's household earned only 173 million rubles ($2.7 million) between 2010 and 2012. This level of income, the group says, would not have been sufficient to allow Shoigu to buy the land and build the home that exists today. (In 2012, moreover, Shoigu's wife bought a luxury apartment in Moscow's Sparrow Hills district.)

FBK investigators say Shoigu's $9-million mansion outside Moscow is registered today in his wife's sister's name, Elena Antipina. Shoigu's family first acquired the land in 2009 under the name of Ksenia Shoigu, the Defense Minister's daughter, who had just turned 18 years old (after which age Shoigu was no longer obligated to include her in his property declarations). The land rights were later transferred to Antipina.

Members of FBK tried to meet with Antipina, but they were detained by police near the house. At the police station, officers allegedly threatened FBK's staff against publishing their research. According to the group, Antipina's household lacks the income or wealth necessary to have purchased a hectare of land in the area.

In 2013, FBK discovered another home allegedly owned by Sergei Shoigu, also located outside Moscow.

Sergei Shoigu has worked as a public servant since 1991. He served as Russia's Minister of Emergency Situations from 1991 to 2012, and then briefly as Moscow oblast Governor, before becoming Minister of Defense in November 2012, replacing his disgraced predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov.