On December 22, 2017, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov called “libel” the statement by the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) (created by Alexei Navalny, the charismatic leader of the Russian opposition Progress Party) that Peskov bought his former wife Ekaterina Solotsinskaya an apartment for 1.77 million euros. “It is claimed that I bought an apartment in Paris, which is not true, this is slander,” Peskov said.
The previous day the FBK YouTube channel announced in a video that in September 2016 Solotsinskaya together with her daughter Elizaveta Peskova bought an apartment on the avenue Victor Hugo in the prestigious 16th district of Paris. According to the French records, the owner of an apartment of 180 square meters is the French legal entity SIRIUS, three quarters owned by Ekaterina Solotsinskaya and another quarter by Elizaveta Peskova.
1.3 million euros of the total cost of the apartment was paid in cash, and the remaining 470 thousand euros was paid by a mortgage loan. The loan was provided by the French branch of VTB Bank at a rate of 2.7 percent per annum.
From the contract for the apartment it follows that the purchase by Peskov’s former family was carried out with their own money, but according to the declared income, the family did not have these funds. The FBK concludes that the money for the Paris property was obtained through corruption.
This is not the first time the FBK has investigated the president’s press secretary. On August 2, 2015, Navalny wrote in his blog that in wedding photos Peskov had a Richard Mille RM 52-01 watch on his wrist. Navalny corresponded with the seller of the watch, and found out that this series was released in a limited edition of 30 items and each watch cost 620 thousand dollars.
Peskov said that the watch was presented to him by his wife, figure skater Tatyana Navka. “Indeed, watches are very expensive, but they are significantly cheaper than some comrades point out,” he explained.
On August 17, 2015 Navalny published a message in his blog saying that Peskov held a honeymoon with Navka, and a small circle of friends and children, on a rented yacht “Maltese Falcon” off the coast of Sardinia. According to FBK, the “Maltese Falcon” yacht rental costs 385,000 euros a week. “And this cost does not include the cost of food and entertainment. Dmitry Peskov would have had to pay his salary in full for three years to allow only seven days on this yacht,” Navalny wrote. “In connection with the information received, the Anti-Corruption Fund corruption demands from the civil servant Peskov explanations about who paid the rent of the yacht or — if he paid it himself — where the money came from.”
A week later Navalny accused Peskov of taking a bribe from Ziya Magomedov, the owner of the Summa group of companies. In his blog, Navalny published the results of the investigation, according to which Magomedov paid for the rent of the yacht “Maltese Falcon.”
In September 2015, FBK reported that at the beginning of the year Navka purchased a house in Moscow worth $7 million. Navalny sent a request to check Peskov for “corruption and matching expenses to official revenues” to the Investigative Committee and the FSB.