Poisoned Russian dissident politician Alexei Navalny, who is locked up in a detention center on the outskirts of Moscow, has alleged in a new video that President Vladimir Putin owns an opulent billion-dollar palace that was built with fraudulently obtained funds. Besides, he has claimed that Putin has a secret slush fund to spend millions on his mistresses and love children.
The video report detailing the allegations was released by Navalny's team on Tuesday, two days after he was jailed at the infamous Matrosskaya Tishina facility for 30 days upon his return to Moscow. The video has since gone viral.
The video urges Russians to take a look into what they allege to be "Putin's palace" on the Black Sea. In the bombshell video, Navalny alleges Putin of being involved in massive corruption schemes and coming up with property estimated to be worth around $1.4 billion. He further claims that Putin allies, including oil chiefs and billionaires, paid for the construction of the Black Sea palace.
The report describes details of the property, and claims it features a casino, an underground ice hockey complex and a vineyard. In addition to sharing the building's floor plan and visualizations of the interiors, the anti-corruption activists recount the history of the construction project in the video and dig into how it was financed by companies connected to members of Putin's inner circle.
"[They] built a palace for their boss with this money," Navalny says in the video. The video also alleges that Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) owns some 27 square miles of land surrounding the private residence. "It has impregnable fences, its own port, its own security, a church, its own permit system, a no-fly zone, and even its own border checkpoint," Navalny says, according to a report in BBC.
Allegations of Colorful Life
Not just owning a plush place with dirty money, Navalny also alleges that the Russian leader uses a "slush fund" to cover the expenses of his extended family. This includes Putin's alleged partner Alina Kabaeva, a gold-medal winning Olympic gymnast, and former mistress Svetlana Krivonogikh, who is reportedly the mother of his 17-year-old love child.
Navalny also alleges that Putin was behind Krivonogikh's rise from a cleaner to a shareholder of Rossiya Bank. According to a report in Meduzza, secrets about the palace first got leaked in 2010 after businessman Sergey Kolesnikov revealed that he had been involved in the building project.
However, the Kremlin shot back on Wednesday, denying Putin owns the palace. "These are all absolutely unfounded claims," said Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Moscow Times reported, citing Interfax. "This is pure nonsense."
Navalny was detained on Sunday night on his arrival to Moscow for the first time since he was poisoned last summer. Navalny went into coma while on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow in late August. Two days later, he was transferred from a hospital in Siberia to one in Berlin.
He spent five months recovering from Novichok poisoning, which he blamed on the Russian government. The Kremlin repeatedly denied any involvement.