Putin’s secret treasure and London’s “cell for kleptocracy” to find it

The London government has set up a special “cell for kleptocracy” which has the task of identifying the riches hidden in Great Britain by the Russian president

LONDON – It’s Putin’s secret treasure hunt: the London government has set up a special “cell for kleptocracy»With the task of identifying the riches hidden in Great Britain by the Russian dictator, which are estimated to amount to millions of pounds.

The investigation unit, which is part of the National Crime Agency, will work side by side with His Majesty’s secret services to understand whether the leader of the Kremlin is the real owner, as is suspected, of much of the assets held in the name of the Russian oligarchs. “There are people who are working on it now,” a source said Telegraph -. This is what the team for kleptocracy will do: the unit will have to track down the money of Putin and his acolytes ».

At the beginning of the war in Ukraine Boris Johnson he had announced the creation of “a cell to fight kleptocracy” to target “corrupt assets hidden in the UK”. The Russian leader is under sanctions in London, which means that any identified assets would be immediately frozen. But the Labor opposition is asking to go further: the former Deputy Minister for Europe, Chris Bryant, said in Parliament that the government “should start confiscating the properties instead of just freezing them.” And he added: “Shouldn’t we do more to intercept Putin’s personal finances, much of which is – they tell me – in Great Britain?”

Officially, the Russian president is just a humble servant of the state who lives on a salary of about 85,000 euros a year: but there are those who claim that he is actually the richest man in the world, with a fortune of 200 billions. It cannot be explained otherwise, for example, the construction of the fabulous dacha on the Black Sea, whose existence was unveiled last year by dissident Alexey Navalny: a palace costing over a billion, equipped with a heliport, an underground hockey field, an amphitheater and closely guarded by the men of the security services.

Nominally the building, designed by the Italian architect Lanfranco Cirillo, is from owned by the oligarch Arkadij Rotenberg, but this would only be Putin’s figurehead. So the same could be said of many properties in London. The British journalist Catherine Belton, in her book “Putin’s men”, accused Roman Abramovich of having bought the Chelsea football team on the direct order of the Russian president: the oligarch sued and won, but the suspicion remains that in many cases the Moscow magnates are only the “holders” of possessions whose ultimate beneficiaries are the masters of the Kremlin.

In the past, much has been said about the mysterious Gunvor, the Cyprus-based oil company set up by Gennady Timchenko, the oligarch closely linked to Putin, with whom she shares a passion for hockey: Gunvor has been mentioned as the “safe” Putin, but trying something has always proved extremely difficult. Now it will be the task of the London “cell for kleptocracy”.

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