Speed Reads

Pandora Papers

Russian state media ignores Putin's mistress revelations in Pandora Papers trove

Russia's state media made a big deal of Sunday's release of the "Pandora Papers," a detailing of how the world's wealthy and powerful shield their riches offshore in real estate, art, and other assets. But there was no mention of the revelation that a woman who reportedly was having an affair with Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly acquired a luxury waterfront apartment in Monaco just after she gave birth to a daughter that Russia's independent media says Putin fathered. 

None of the state news agencies mentioned the woman, Svetlana Krivonogikh, or any of Putin's other associates mentioned in the Pandora Papers, but they did focus on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who transferred his stake in a secret offshore company before his election in 2019, The Washington Post reports. "It's terribly funny how the RIA Novosti rag is covering the Pandora Papers — 'Zelensky this, Zelensky that,'" tweeted Leonid Volkov, a close ally of jailed Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny.

The detailed records in the Pandora Papers show that a shell company incorporated in the Caribbean island of Tortola a month after Krivonogikh gave birth to her daughter in 2003 purchased the luxury unit in Monte Carlo for $4.1 million a few months later. At some point in the next three years, Krivonogikh, now 47, became the "beneficial owner" of the shell company that still owns the apartment, the Post reports. Her ownership would have been very difficult to trace without the leaked documents. 

"The Monaco apartment is part of an astonishing portfolio of properties accumulated by Krivonogikh after she allegedly began her relationship with Putin," the Post adds, listing a St. Petersburg apartment and majority ownership of a ski resort, as well as a yacht, Swiss bank account. "There is no indication that her personal fortune derives from family wealth." 

"Krivonogikh has not spoken about her alleged relationship with Putin or her remarkable accumulation of wealth," the Post reports. "But her daughter, who turned 18 this year and goes by the name Luiza Rozova, has fueled speculation about her paternity in interviews, capitalizing on the attention to build a growing online following. In pictures, Rozova bears a striking resemblance to the Russian president," among other clues. You can read more about Krivonogikh and other Putin associates featured in the Pandora Papers in The Washington Post or the trove itself