Introducing the Russian Asset Tracker, designed to track and catalogue the vast wealth held outside Russia by oligarchs and key figures close to Putin
21 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
21 March 2022 | Drew Sullivan | Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
The Russian Asset Tracker has an ambitious goal: to identify and catalog every foreign asset belonging to several dozen members of Russia’s ruling class — some of whom have blood on their hands.
As of its launch today (21 March 2022), the tracker lists more than $17 billion in assets linked to oligarchs and enablers of Vladimir Putin’s regime, and we have much more to go.
Despite unprecedented sanctions implemented in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, some of Russia’s most high-profile oligarchs still control bank accounts, yachts, mansions, planes, and other lucrative assets in Western countries.
That’s because Vladimir Putin’s allies have learned to master the dark art of obscuring ownership. The tactics they use to hide their wealth will be familiar to readers of OCCRP: opaque corporate structures, secret bank accounts, and proxies that reach far offshore.
The 22-year rule of Vladimir Putin has made vast fortunes for oligarchs, well-connected politicians, security officials, and other beneficiaries of his corrupt, personalist regime.
Early in his presidency, Putin earned praise for bringing to heel the tycoons who had plundered Russia’s economy in the 1990s. Some signaled their loyalty to him, securing their wealth and their place in the new order. A new generation of wealthy men obedient to Putin has also arisen during his reign.
They are his allies, his friends, his financiers, and his enablers.
Though average Russians have seen their incomes stagnate in recent years, the country’s wealthiest fly around the world in executive jets, lounge in Mediterranean mansions, and cruise the seas in some of the world’s biggest yachts. Their children cavort in exclusive nightclubs and receive prestigious educations at the world’s top universities.
In the wake of Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine, governments around the world have imposed sanctions on many of Putin’s enablers. But they have learned to keep their wealth obscured, hiring an army of lawyers to hide it in secretive bank accounts and corporate structures that reach far offshore. Figuring out who owns what, and how much of it, is a tall order even for experienced police investigators.
That’s why we decided to follow the trail, tracking down as many of these assets as possible and compiling them in a database for the public to see and use. We started with a list of names of people who “actively participate in the oppression and corruption of Putin’s regime” drawn up by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, led by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. We’ll be expanding it soon to include other Russians sanctioned for corruption or their support of Putin.
We looked for land, mansions, companies, boats, planes, and anything else of value that could be tied through documentary evidence to Putin’s circle. Some of these assets have been reported before. Some are being revealed here for the first time. Some are still to be discovered: We’ll keep searching for more properties and yachts, adding more names, and updating this database regularly. If you are aware of anything we’ve missed, please let us know by filling out this form.
For now, we’ve uncovered over $17.5 billion in assets, and counting.