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Putin’s $40+ Billion Swiss Bank Account

From those lovers of Communist dictator thugs at the UK’s Guardian:

Putin, the Kremlin power struggle and the $40bn fortune

Luke Harding in Moscow
Friday December 21, 2007

An unprecedented battle is taking place inside the Kremlin in advance of Vladimir Putin’s departure from office, the Guardian has learned, with claims that the president presides over a secret multibillion-dollar fortune.

Rival clans inside the Kremlin are embroiled in a struggle for the control of assets as Putin prepares to transfer power to his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in May, well-placed political observers and other sources have revealed.

At stake are billions of dollars in assets belonging to Russian state-run corporations. Additionally, details of Putin’s own personal fortune, reportedly hidden in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, are being discussed for the first time…

Citing sources inside the president’s administration, Belkovsky claims that after eight years in power Putin has secretly accumulated more than $40bn (£20bn). The sum would make him Russia’s – and Europe’s – richest man.

In an interview with the Guardian, Belkovsky repeated his claims that Putin owns vast holdings in three Russian oil and gas companies, concealed behind a “non-transparent network of offshore trusts”.

Putin “effectively” controls 37% of the shares of Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company and Russia’s third biggest oil producer, worth $20bn, he says. He also owns 4.5% of Gazprom, and “at least 75%” of Gunvor, a mysterious Swiss-based oil trader, founded by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of the president’s, Belkovsky alleges.

Asked how much Putin was worth, Belkovsky said: “At least $40bn. Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about.” He added: “It may be more. It may be much more

In an interview on Wednesday with Time magazine, which named Putin its person of the year, the president vehemently denied that those inside the Kremlin were corrupt.

Asked whether “some of the people closest to you are getting rich”, Putin said: “Then you know who and how. Write to us, to the foreign ministry, if you are so confident. I presume you know the names, you know the systems and the tools.

“I can assure you and everyone who would listen to us, watch us and read us, that the reaction would be swift, immediate, [and] within the prevailing law.”

Shocking, is it not? 

But Mr. Putin’s denials should be enough for all of us.

After all, he’s never lied to us before.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, December 21st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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