The Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has published aerial footage of a hidden island mansion near the Finnish border allegedly used by Vladimir Putin as a holiday retreat.
The mansion, known as Villa Segren, is located on a picturesque 50-acre site on and around Lodochny island in the Gulf of Finland. It was used as the backdrop for a Soviet TV adaptation of Sherlock Holmes filmed in the 1980s.
Drone footage of the site shows several large new houses, including the newly extended villa, a helipad and a pier. Navalny said the site was heavily guarded, including by a large fence, and that locals were barred from the area.
In the video, Navalny alleges the property is owned by close friends of the Russian president, but is for his use. “All the evidence clearly points towards one of Vladimir Putin’s standard corruption schemes. His personal assets are registered under the names of his close friends who have become fabulously wealthy over the last 17 years,” said Navalny in the video, which had been viewed almost 2 million times on Thursday, less than 24 hours after it was uploaded to YouTube.
The land the property was built on is rented from Sergei Rudnov, a businessman, according to Navalny. Rudnov is the son of a friend of Putin’s, and also worked for the Russian cellist Sergei Roldugin, who has known Putin for years and was linked in documents leaked in the Panama Papers to offshore companies with cash flows of up to £1.4bn.
In a similar investigation into the ownership of Villa Selgren earlier this month, the liberal TV news channel Dozhd published design sketches for the interior of the “secret dacha”, which show a large indoor swimming pool and a richly furnished office with the double-headed Russian eagle engraved in gold above a desk.
more at: theguardian.com