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Putin Helps his Pals the Rotenbergs Take the Edge Off Sanctions

Billionaire Arkady Rotenberg (R) with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Arkady Rotenberg, a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, has encouraged a Duma member to compose a bill that would guarantee that Rotenberg will received public funding to compensate for punitive sanctions imposed against him by the U.S. in March and by the E.U. on July 30th. Critics call the legislation the “Rotenberg villas bill, ” referring to properties Rotenberg has in Italy. While these assets have not been seized, he is not able to receive revenue from rentals and hotels which he owns, according to Business Insider.

The bill, sponsored by Sergei Prikhodko, was voted down at first, but its receiving a second reading at the Duma. Prikhodko says the government should not only guarantee property within the country, but it should also protect and provide compensation for property abroad. The EU has justified its sanctions against Rotenberg by detailing how closely tied he was with the Russian leader. Akady and his brother Boris received and executed high-priced contracts for the Sochi Olympic games and made billions through contracts with state-controlled Gazprom. It is estimated that the brothers made $7 billion on Sochi deals alone.

A few years ago, Rotenberg said, “Knowing high government officials has never hurt anyone in our country, but it has by far not helped anyone. For me, it’s unacceptable to use such connections.”

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