Published On: Tue, Jan 26th, 2016

Roman Abramovich ‘gave Putin a £25 million yacht when he was elected’

Details emerge of gift to Russian President as US treasury officials accuse him of corruption and embezzlement of state funds; Putin has '20 properties, 58 planes and helicopters and a £110 million private jet'



Roman Abramovich gave Vladimir Putin a £25 million yacht after he became president of Russia, it was claimed last night.

The gift from the Chelsea Football Club owner is just a small part of Mr Putin’s vast wealth, which is estimated to have reached £28 billion.

A senior American official openly accused Mr Putin of corruption, nepotism, and direct embezzlement of state funds.

The US government has already imposed sanctions on Mr Putin’s aides, but it is thought to be the first time it has directly accused the president himself of corruption.




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While Mr Putin’s personal wealth has been the subject of speculation and claims of corruption for years, little evidence has ever been produced to back up such allegations. Mr Putin has dismissed claims about his wealth as “simply rubbish.”

But a Panorama documentary broadcast on BBC tv last night (Monday) detailed allegations that Mr Putin has established a complex system of “training and practices” that allow him to “mask his actual wealth”.

Details include Mr Putin’s alleged acquisition of the Olympia, a 187ft yacht. Dmitry Skarga, a former head of Russia’s state shipping company Sovcomflot, said the boat was a gift from the oligarch owner of Chelsea Football Club, who transferred it to the president via an intermediary.

“It’s a fact that Mr Abramovich, through his employee, transferred a yacht to Mr Putin, ” Mr Skarga said. He also alleged that the yacht was maintained with state funds, even though it is Mr Putin’s personal property.


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Adam Szubin, an official who oversees sanctions at the US Treasury, told the programme that he believes Mr Putin is corrupt and that the US has been aware of this for “many, many years”.

“We’ve seen him enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalising those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets. Whether that’s Russia’s energy wealth, whether it’s other state contracts, he directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don’t. To me, that is a picture of corruption, ” Mr Szubin said.

Mr Abramovich was reputedly the first person to recommend to Boris Yeltsin that Mr Putin be his successor, back in 1999. Mr Abramovich would remain one of Mr Putin’s closest confidants, with the pair being described by the president’s biographer, Chris Hutchins, as having a relationship of father and favourite son.


PUTIN RUScreen Shot 2014-02-03 at 11.10.22 AM  Constantine Palace (near St. Petersburg) This complex contains more than 40 buildings and is located on 140 hectares.  The palace was reconstructed for the 300th Anniversary of St. Peter


Although Mr Szubin did not put a figure on the size of Mr Putin’s fortune, he said that the president’s declared annual salary was “not an accurate statement of the man’s wealth”. In 2007 Stanislav Belkovsky, a Russian political commentator, claimed Mr Putin had amassed $40?billion through stakes in three Russian energy companies. Last year, Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager and critic of Mr Putin, claimed that the president was worth $200?billion – a sum that would make him by far the richest man in the world.

In 2014 the US stated that Mr Putin had secret investments in the energy sector, but did not accuse him of corruption. Mr Putin’s spokesman has called these claims “complete trash”.


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The Kremlin told the BBC that the allegations did not require a response “as they are pure fiction”.

Mr Abramovich’s lawyers called the claims about the yacht “unsubstantiated” and little more than a “rehash of speculation and rumours”.

This article was first published at newindianexpress






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