Who are Vladimir Putin’s wealthy friends?

They are wealthy, powerful and, according to Ottawa, “key members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle”. Who are these Russian oligarchs (in bold in the texts) targeted since last week by economic sanctions from the Government of Canada? It is clear that this list is rather symbolic, and that some close to Putin with important economic interests in Canada are currently escaping sanctions.

• Read also: Putin’s Last Four Friends

• Read also: Zelensky demands more action from Trudeau

Dmitry Utkin

Courtesy picture

Dmitry Utkin

Identified by several media as being neo-Nazi because of his tattoos with symbols of the Third Reich, Dmitry Utkin would be a former special forces officer of the Russian army.

He is said to have founded the mercenary group Wagner, named after Adolph Hitler’s favorite opera composer. His group, which trains in facilities adjacent to those of the Russian military, is said to have fought alongside dictator Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. Wagner members were allegedly implicated in several war crimes. They would also have had a role in the capture of Crimea in 2014.

According to New York Times, the Wagner group has already been present in Ukraine for a few weeks. According to the newspaper The Timesthe organization would have been sent there with a list of people to be killed, including the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and his council of ministers.

The yacht Valerie is for sale for $142 million.

Photo taken from superyachtsmonaco.com website

The yacht Valerie is for sale for $142 million.

Sergey Chemezov has been a comrade of Vladimir Putin since their days in the KGB. They were roommates in Dresden, East Germany. He is now the general manager of the state-owned technology company Rostec. Chemezov was awarded France’s Legion of Honor and Italy’s Order of Merit. His wife, Ekaterina Ignatova, is now subject to sanctions from Ottawa. According to the ICIJ, a consortium of investigative journalists, the Chemezov family is behind several companies located in tax havens.

Their son, Stanislav Chemezov, is a shareholder or director of several technology, hotel and construction companies. His half-sister, Anastasiya Ignatovais believed to be behind a British Virgin Islands company that owns the yacht Valerie, according to the ICIJ. It is currently for sale for CA$142 million.

Yevgeny Prigozhin,

Photo taken from Polina Prigozhina’s Instagram account

Yevgeny Prigozhin, “Putin’s cook”, with his wife and daughter.

From penniless ex-con to billionaire, Yevgeny Prigozhin is nicknamed “Putin’s cook”. He owes his nickname and his fortune to his good little dishes that seduced the man who was to become President of Russia. Its restaurants have been the scene of meetings of dignitaries with members of the Kremlin. It provides various food services to the Russian army and public schools. Opponent Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation denounced the “domination” of Prigozhin companies in contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The cook has been accused by the United States of influencing the American elections in 2016 and 2018 with his internet troll factories. He is wanted by the FBI.

His wife, Lyubov Prigozhinaand their children, Pavel Prigozhin and Polina Prigozhina, are also subject to Canadian sanctions. Photos posted on Instagram by the latter allowed organizations to investigate the Prigozhin family.

Natalia Popova

Courtesy picture

Natalia Popova

Known as Putin’s right-hand man a decade ago, Igor Shuvalov was Russia’s top civil servant from 2012 to 2018. He is now the president of the country’s economic development bank.

Opponent Alexei Navalny accused him of corruption since one of Shuvalov’s companies, registered in tax havens in the name of his wife, allegedly received payments from Russian billionaires Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov.

Kirill Dmitriev is the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund. His wife, Natalia Popova (photo), is a close friend of Katerina Tikhonova, one of Putin’s daughters.

Son of former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Petr Fradkov heads Promsvyazbank, a bank that funds state defense contracts, according to the US Treasury.

Andrey Patrushev is a major player in the Russian oil industry. He is now the head of an organization for the economic development of the Russian Arctic. His father, Nicolai Patrushev, already sanctioned by Canada, is secretary of Russia’s Security Council and a longtime ally of Putin.

Herman Gref, boss of the first bank of Russia, Sberbank, is targeted by the sanctions. He was a minister in the first Putin government from 2000 to 2007.

Since 2018, he has been one of 210 politicians and businessmen on the US Treasury Department’s “Kremlin List”, which lists people suspected of being close to the Russian president.

Aleksandr Vedyakhin is Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sberbank. He is also part of the “Kremlin List”

Another businessman known for his involvement in Sberbank, Lev Khasi, recently became the president of their new e-commerce investment fund subsidiary.

Several leaders of the VTB, the second largest bank in Russia, are targeted by the sanctions. Andrey Puchkovwhich also has interests in Moscow real estate companies, Yuri Solovyov and his wife, Galina Ulyutina, are part of. Solovyov is also Chairman of the Board of FC Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Premier League.

Denis Bortnikov, vice-chairman of the board of the VTB, was also recently blacklisted by Ottawa. Her father, Aleksander Bortnikov, who was already sanctioned, is a member of Russia’s Security Council and chairman of the Federal Security Service.

After serving as a KGB agent with Vladimir Putin in Dresden, East Germany, Nikolai Tokarev became president of the state oil pipeline company Transneft. His wife, Galina Tokareva, is also targeted by the sanctions, like their daughter, Maya Bolotova. The latter and her ex-husband, Andrey Bolotov, were splashed in the Pandora Papers, a data leak from tax havens. Media have discovered that they have received several contracts from Transneft totaling several tens of millions of dollars.

Arkady Rotenberg with Vladimir Putin.

Photo provided by the Kremlin

Arkady Rotenberg with Vladimir Putin.

The sanctions are aimed Roman Rotenbergvice-president of Gazprombank, a Russian private bank, and first vice-president of the Russian Hockey Federation.

They also target his brother Boris Rotenberg sona professional soccer player in Russia and his wife, Karina Rotenberg.

The two men are the children of Boris Rotenberg, co-owner with his brother Arkady of SMP Bank. Boris and Arkady are two longtime friends of Putin, with whom they have long trained in judo.

The Rotenberg family also brews business in the field of infrastructure, having notably built the Crimean bridge.

Boris Rotenberg’s fortune is valued at CA$1.5 billion, and his brother’s at $4.2 billion, according to the magazine Forbes. The two men, who have already been under sanctions from Ottawa since 2014, were cited in the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers.

Ottawa has also sanctioned Liliya Rotenberg and Pavel Rotenberg, the children of Arkady Rotenberg. Pavel plays hockey for the St Petersburg Dynamo in the KHL.

Vladimir Kiriyenko and Herman Gref.

Photos provided by VK Group and the Kremlin

Vladimir Kiriyenko and Herman Gref.

Ivan Sechin is a leader of Rosneft, a major state-controlled oil company. He is the son of former deputy prime minister in the Putin cabinet, Igor Sechin, whom the American magazine Forbes considered in 2009 the second most influential man in Russia, behind Putin.

Sergei Ivanov Jr. runs Alrosa, a state-owned company and world leader in diamond mining. According to the US government, his father is one of President Putin’s closest allies.

Vladimir Kiriyenko is the new CEO of VK Group, the parent company of VKontakte, the largest social network in Russia and the 25th most visited website in the world. He was once vice-president of the Russian state-run telecommunications company Rostelecom.

The General Manager of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Yury Slyusar is also targeted. He is a director of the airline Aeroflot, banned from Canadian airspace. State-controlled, the UAC is a major supplier to the Russian military.

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