Svetlana Krivonogikh, a former cleaner from St. Petersburg, is reported to have been in a hidden, years-long romantic relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to a 2020 investigation by the Russian investigative group Proekt, the relationship started in the 1990s, before Putin became president, and continued into the early 2000s. In 2003, she gave birth to a girl, with no father listed in official records. Proekt reported that the girl is Putin’s daughter. The Kremlin has previously dismissed the Proekt report as “unfounded”.
Svetlana Krivonogikh grew up in Leningrad (later St. Petersburg) apartment complex that her family shared with four others, and when she finished high school she worked as a cleaning lady in a store, Proekt reported.
She is now wealthy, according to the Proekt investigation, which found that her residential real estate holdings were worth at least $14.5 million. She also owns assets together with members of Putin’s inner circle. For example, she holds 3% of Bank of Rossiya, which is controlled by Putin’s close friend Yuri Kovalchuk, according to Proekt, and she and Kovalchuk are owners of the Igora ski resort in Sochi.
The Pandora Papers reveal that Krivonogikh is the owner of an offshore company that bought a $4 million Monaco apartment in the fall of 2003, the year Krivonogikh gave birth to the daughter reportedly fathered by Putin.
The British Virgin Islands-registered company, Brockville Development Ltd., used so-called nominee, or stand-in, shareholders provided by a Monaco wealth management firm, Moores Rowland. Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire in Putin’s inner circle, was also a client of Moores Rowland and has used one of the same nominee shareholders. Timchenko’s lawyers suggested that any connection between him and Krivonogikh was “misconceived”.
The multi-million outlay in 2003 by Svetlana Krivonogikh, now 46, begs questions of how the woman from humble origins netted not only a pad in a building advertised as “highly sought after by the world’s wealthiest,” but also stakes in a Russian bank and ski resort both linked to Putin, along with a yacht. Krivonogikh also used a Monaco financial services firm that was cozy with Putin’s billionaire friends.
Krivonogikh is far from alone in benefiting from a long-standing relationship with Putin.
For years Russia’s inner circle has gravitated to Monaco, where lax tax laws and policies have made the waterfront city a favorite for the wealthy.
“It has become Moscow-on-Sea. The mentality is to show off,” local lawyer Dominique Anastasis told the Guardian. “Nobody asks where your money comes from. There’s no culture of checking. You don’t make a tax declaration.”
Among the wealthiest of the Russian-Monaco circle is Gennady Timchenko, a former Soviet bureaucrat who has been friends with Putin since the 1990s.
A former oil trader, Timchenko was given an oil export license by Putin in 1991, and later co-founded a Swiss-based oil export company named Gunvor — with the Russian president long rumored to be a silent partner in the firm.
Forbes reported Timchenko’s net worth at $22 billion, the outlet said.
Another member of Putin’s inner circle is Peter Kolbin, an old family friend, who took over as director of Leningrad-based International Petroleum Products in 2003 despite having few qualifications for the job.
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