Searching for Putin's billions

The head of the British investment fund Hermitage Capital, William Browder, evaluated Russian President Vladimir Putin's wealth at about $200 billion. According to Browder, Putin is twice as rich as the world's richest man Bill Gates, who has "only" $90 billion.

"I estimate that [Putin] has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains," Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "He keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation," the financier added.

According to him, the Russian president personally runs the risk of falling under the Magnitsky Act, which gives the right to impose sanctions against Russian citizens and companies involved in gross violations of human rights. Browder lobbied the adoption of the law, although one can hardly say that he played a significant role at this point.

This is not the end of the story: according to Browder, Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya met the son of the current president, Donald Trump Jr., last year in the US for the purpose to exclude risks for Putin to fall under the Magnitsky Act.

According to The Washington Examiner,  Browder also said that Putin expected to receive 230 million dollars through an offshore company owned by cellist Sergei Roldugin.

We would like to note here that Mr. Browder has serious legal problems in Russia. He was sentenced in absentia to nine years for tax evasion committed during his activities in the Russian Federation. Mr. Browder has been engaged in "exposures" for almost ten years now, with his name appearing in news messages when required.

Needless to say that he tries to take maximum advantage of the current situation. American lawmakers are willing to spend a lot of time on unsubstantiated nonsense to smear the name of the Russian president.

William Browder spoke about the enormous wealth of the Russian leader in 2015. In an interview with CNN in February 2015, Browder said: "I believe that it's $200 billion. After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn't been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank - Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies." Seriously? Sounds like kitchen talk.

Political strategist Stanislav Belkovsky said in an interview with Germany's Die Welt in 2007 that Putin's fortune was worth $40 billion. The figure, by the way, later became very popular among opposition activists. The late Boris Nemtsov wrote in one of his "exposing" brochures that Putin had more than 20 "palaces and villas", 43 aircraft, 15 helicopters and so on.

In April 2014, The New York Times wrote about a secret CIA report, in which the infamous $40 billion were mentioned. Unfortunately, the article refers to a "Russian political scientist"  - Stanislav Belkovsky, who, incidentally, increased the welfare of the Russian president by another three dozen billion dollars in 2012.
In March 2014, officials with the US Treasury said without substantiating their claim with evidence that Putin supposedly invested in Gunvor oil trader.

As you can see, the people, who know "everything" about Putin's fortune are either his political adversaries or criminals.

Anton Kulikov

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov