: ICIJ: Offshore network tied to Putin

09:54 Apr. 4, 2016

ICIJ: Offshore network tied to Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, March 28, 2016 (AP Photo)

People and companies closely allied to Russian President may be directly related with multimillion-dollar offshore financial deals

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) together with other media partners has published an investigation based on secret files that reveal complex multimillion-dollar offshore financial deals that channel wealth and power towards a network of people and companies closely allied to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The records show Putin's ally Sergey Roldugin who is a behind-the-scenes player in a clandestine network operated by Putin associates that has shuffled at least billion through banks and offshore companies, investigative journalists Jake Bernstein, Petra Blum, Oliver Zihlmann, David Thompson, Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer wrote in the article titled "All Putin's Men: Secret Records Reveal Money Network Tied to Russian Leader," published on Sunday, April 3.

In the documents, Roldugin is listed as the owner of offshore companies that have obtained payments from other companies worth tens of millions of dollars. A company linked to the cellist also grabbed secret influence over Russia's largest truck maker, another snagged a big slice of Russia's TV advertising industry.

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It's possible Roldugin, who has publicly claimed not to be a businessman, is not the true beneficiary of these riches. Instead, the evidence in the files suggests Roldugin is acting as a front man for a network of Putin loyalists – and perhaps for Putin himself.

Roldugin did not respond to detailed questions, the article said. Reporters from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an ICIJ partner, met briefly with the musician after a concert in Moscow last week. Roldugin told them he needed more time to review the questions and determine what he could say.

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About 100 financial deals related to the network are described in the leaked documents. They are complex. Payments are disguised in various ways. On paper, shares in companies are swapped back and forth in a day. Documents are backdated. Questionable financial penalties are assessed. The rights to multimillion-dollar loans are sold between offshore companies for .

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In almost every instance, the result is the same: money and power moves in the direction of the network, to companies and people allied to Putin. The network's covert deals allowed it to receive money in a variety of ways including hundreds of millions of dollars in sweetheart loans from a bank controlled by the Russian government.

"The leaked documents come from the files of Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm that registered some of the Roldugin companies and helped administer the network's holdings in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore havens," the article reads.

Many of the men linked to the network, including Putin, share something else in common besides history. They are connected to the St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, which the U.S. government has identified as Putin's personal cashbox.

Reporting by UNIAN


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