: RFE/RL: Names of Russia's elite vanish from public property records

10:26 May. 2, 2016

RFE/RL: Names of Russia's elite vanish from public property records

Billionaire Kirill Shamalov, who is widely reported to be Vladimir Putin's son-in-law, is one of a number of wealthy or influential Russians who seem to have had their names removed from property records (Getty Images)

Russian intelligence community is pushing draft legislation to curb access to personal information in public real-estate records

Peculiar things are afoot with senior Russian officials and their relatives tied to pricey real estate: Their information keeps disappearing from public property records.

Kremlin foes, journalists, and anticorruption activists in recent months have uncovered evidence that entries in the official federal real-estate database have been quietly edited, in some cases obscuring ownership of expensive properties thought to be controlled by members of Russia's political elite.

Read also Guardian: Putin's alleged son-in-law in top 10 list of Russian state contract winners

Moreover, the Russian intelligence community is pushing draft legislation that would curb access to personal information in public real-estate records, thus shielding these details from inquisitive journalists and the broader public.

Evidence of the alleged manipulation of property documents has emerged at a time of heightened scrutiny of the wealth of Russia's ruling class, particularly following the massive dump of incriminating data on offshore holdings contained in what have been dubbed the Panama Papers. Full story 

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