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What is Vladimir Putin’s fortune?

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Targeted by sanctions in the same way as that of the Russian oligarchs since the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s fortune is estimated between 40 and 200 billion dollars (between 37 and 183 billion euros). A real intrigue for the experts, whose opinions differ.

Officially, the head of the Kremlin receives a salary of around 125,000 euros per year, owns luxury watches, an apartment in Moscow and three cars. He could, however, be the richest man on the planet.

How is such a discrepancy in estimates possible? The Russian president makes it a point of honor to cover his tracks.

According to several experts contacted by CNEWS, the most reliable recent source on the potential wealth of Vladimir Putin remains the documentary published in January 2021 by Alexeï Navalny, the opponent of the currently imprisoned regime.

The video, subtitled in French and published on YouTube by Médiapart, tends to show how corruption allowed the leader of Russia to build this 17,000 m2 palace on the shores of the Black Sea, “a bit like a new castle of Versailles, a winter palace,” reported RTL. However, the house is in the name of someone close to the head of state.

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“the hardest riddle”

This gigantic residence is only one illustration of the alleged practices of the head of the Kremlin: most of his business or property would be registered via nominees, front companies or foundations.

According to the American media Forbes, which specializes in the wealth of the world’s personalities, “understanding how much Putin weighs is the most difficult enigma of all the hunts for wealth, more complex than that of heirs, other heads of state, and even than some of the drug kingpins we’ve managed to flush out”.

The economic magazine, however, has advanced three tracks on the origin of the wealth, or not, of Putin.

The first hypothesis comes from the American financier Bill Browder. It is a threat. In the early 2000s, the head of the Kremlin would have arranged to arrest and imprison the first fortune of Russia at the time, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

A racket from the oligarchs?

He would then have gathered the main Russian oligarchs by offering them a simple deal: “give me half of your wealth or we will take all your wealth and you will go to prison”.

Based on this pact, Bill Browder estimated Vladimir Putin’s fortune at 200 billion dollars (183 billion euros) in 2017. He added up the fortunes of all the oligarchs and then divided by two.

For the Swedish economist Anders Aslund, the fortune of the head of state would oscillate between 100 and 130 billion dollars (between 91 and 119 billion euros). According to him, the fortune of the Russian president would be distributed among those close to him (family, childhood friends, etc.). Each support person would have between 500 million (457 million euros) and 2 billion dollars (1.8 billion euros) in their name.

This entourage, which would also serve as a “portfolio”, would have a pyramidal mode of operation. Thus, each echelon is indebted to someone in the higher echelon, as explained by Korii.

Finally, the last hypothesis assumes that the personal fortune of Vladimir Putin would be really modest. Making people believe in their wealth would be a way of asserting their power.

Moreover, according to Bloomberg Opinion columnist Leonid Bershidsky, the Kremlin boss doesn’t need to be wealthy because “he has the whole country at his disposal”, as he wrote in 2013.

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