Joint media investigation reveals that Putin's friend Boris Rotenberg owns villas on the French Riviera

Boris Rotenberg, a Russian businessman close to Russian President Vladimir Putin owns two villas in the commune of Èze in France. The villas have a total area of 1300 square meters. Rotenberg also owns another villa under construction. This was stated in a joint investigation of Novaya Gazeta, Le Monde and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project or OCCRP.

Rotenberg filed his application to construct the first two villas in 2009. He planned to build a tennis court, a swimming pool and a private funicular there. According to Novaya Gazeta, the pool was completed by February 2017. In 2015, Rothenberg applied for the construction of another villa on the estate. Photographs taken in December 2017 show that building equipment and construction materials are already onsite.

Rotenberg also co-owns another estate with his wife Karina located in the commune of Mouans-Sartoux, about 17 hectares in size. A person close to Rotenberg says that the couple rents from the companies to which the place belongs. Novaya Gazeta, Le Monde and OCCRP managed to find a connection between these companies and the Rotenbergs.

The identity of the estate’s true owner is hidden behind the Monaco offshore Tannor 2, which is registered with C Getad. It is managed by Edmond Patrick Lecourt, Honorary Consul of Luxembourg in Monaco, who in 2014 applied for permission for new construction in the estate that Rotenbergs rent. In another possible connection, an unnamed lawyer from Luxembourg owns 1% of the Rotenberg-owned company SEA des Canebiers, which deals with the sale and breeding of horses.

The authors of the investigation propose that this scheme of alleged possession of real estate may be of interest to the French authorities because of the recent tax evasion scandal involving Senator Suleyman Kerimov.

"Under this scheme, a person leases a property from a Monaco company, and his French company declares rent as expenses, and this gives him the right to demand a deduction from taxes that he must pay in France." The declared French expenses would then become revenues for the company in Monaco, which will remove them from French jurisdiction, thereby protecting them against French taxation," the investigation said.

At the same time, a person close to Rothenberg claims that he himself does not fear possible risks due to the "Kerimov affair." "They have lived in this mode since 2014. Everything that could have been blocked for them was blocked. From the point of view of the law, nothing can be done," the businessman's acquaintance says, referring to the European sanctions that were introduced after the Crimea’s accession to Russia. Rotenberg himself declined to answer any questions in the investigation.

Boris Rotenberg was included in the sanctions lists of the United States but he did not fall under restrictions in the European Union, possibly due to his Finnish citizenship. The authors of the investigation deduced that when the European sanctions list is revised a month from now, Rotenberg may be added to it.

Earlier it was reported that Putin's friend Arkady Rothenberg was named the owner of the Rahil super yacht.

  Rotenberg, Russia, France, Russian oligarchs