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‘Proekt’ investigation reveals how Putin’s ‘close acquaintance’ became a multi-millionaire
The investigative outlet Proekt has released a new report on the wealth of Russian millionaire Svetlana Krivonogikh, revealing her ties to President Vladimir Putin.
According to Proekt, Krivonogikh, who was born in St. Petersburg in 1975, became acquainted with Putin in the 1990s. She and Putin took the same flight from St. Petersburg to Moscow at least once (in 1999), Proekt writes.
After Krivonogikh graduated from university in 2000, “her life began to change dramatically” — she acquired shares in several major companies, notably, including Rossiya Bank. Krivonogikh’s former neighbors from the St. Petersburg communal apartment where she grew up said that the source of her unexpected fortune was a wealthy benefactor, who one neighbor described as a “member of the Petersburg government.”
Today, Krivonogikh owns 2.8 percent of Rossiya Bank and is the main owner of both the Igora Ski Resort (where Putin’s daughter Katerina had her wedding in 2013) and the Leningrad Center, a performing arts venue in downtown St. Petersburg.
Proekt estimates the total value of all assets owned by the Krivonogikh family at 7.7 billion rubles (about $101 million) — this includes 1.1 billion rubles (approximately $14.5 million) worth of real estate and 800 million rubles (about $10.6 million) worth of shares in Rossiya Bank.
Proekt also claims that Krivonogikh’s 17-year-old daughter “bears an uncanny resemblance” to the Russian president.
Rossiya Bank is one of Russia’s top twenty banks in terms of assets. Its main shareholder is Yuri Kovalchuk, a friend of Vladimir Putin. In 2014, immediately after the annexation of Crimea, the bank came under sanctions, after which Putin announced that as a sign of support he would open an account with Rossiya Bank and keep his salary there.
During a press conference on Wednesday, November 25, journalists asked Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov if Putin is acquainted with Svetlana Krivonogikh. “I’m hearing about this woman for the very first time and I can’t tell you anything about it. I was really asked about this last name. I’ve never heard anything about it and don’t know anything,” Putin’s spokesman said in response.
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