Wanted Russian oil official shielded from fraud charges by UK bought $40 million mansion in London before fleeing Moscow - reports
That’s according to a joint investigation conducted by Russian publications 7×7, Important Stories, the School of Local Anti-Corruption and Transparency International (registered in Russia as a foreign agent).
In 2016, Moscow newspaper Kommersant revealed that Votinov was wanted for embezzling 113.8 million rubles ($1.5 million) from Rosneft, which is majority-owned by the Russian state, in a case initiated a year prior. The figure was later revealed to be much higher – throughout the course of the investigation, it continued to grow, before settling at 501.4 million rubles ($6.9 million).Also on rt.com The housing market may be booming for a fortunate few, but the have-nots of Britain are still being left way behind
The case, which was opened on November 30, 2015, saw the country’s Investigative Committee look into both Votinov and his business partner Alexander Firichenko for “fraud committed by an organized group on an especially large scale.” Firichenko was arrested and taken into custody. Votinov, who had already fled the country, was placed on the international wanted list in December that year.
In 2018, London’s Westminster Magistrates Court ruled against extraditing Votinov to Moscow, on the grounds that he would suffer a “flagrant denial of justice in Russia.” His primary defense witness, Professor Richard Sakwa from the University of Kent, claimed that the former Rosneft employee was being targeted by company boss Igor Sechin because he refused to support President Vladimir Putin.
Now, it has been discovered that Votinov allegedly bought an expensive mansion in London before fleeing to the United Kingdom and prior to being charged with stealing millions of dollars. Through his Swiss lawyer Dominique Amaudruz Guiramand, Votinov became the owner of a £28.8 million mansion in the British capital’s expensive Hampstead area, according to the investigators.
The journalists also claim that, thanks to information gained through the infamous leaked Panama Papers, they know Votinov purchased a place of residence in Monaco, which would have cost at least €7.8 million. He also bought a house in Cyprus, with the apparent goal of obtaining “golden passports,” given to foreigners who invested a certain amount of money in real estate. Quite how a salaried official earned enough money to afford all these properties is unclear.
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