Investigation Reveals $1.3B Complex Connected To Putin
The Residence at Cape Idokopas is a 168-acre estate near the resort town of Gelendzhik, with a palatial, Italian-style mansion totaling over 190K SF as its centerpiece, according to the report released on Jan. 19 by the Anti-Corruption Foundation in Russian and explained in English by The Drive. The most recent estimate of the estate's cost is $1.33B.
The Russian government denied any connection between the estate and Putin, but whistleblowers and other reporting have tied Putin to the site since 2000, during which time it has been under near-continuous construction, The Drive reports.
Also on the property is a grass-covered building thought by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, also known by its Russian initials FBK, to be a hockey rink. A greenhouse, outdoor amphitheater and remote tea house also dot the acreage. An apparent administrative center on the land includes offices and dormitories, which could house estate staff and operations or play host to the affairs of state when Putin is in town, FBK reports.
Adjacent to the estate itself is a 17,300-acre plot of land leased to the company that officially controls the Residence at Cape Idokopas, which FBK dubbed "Putin's Palace," for activities like hunting, fishing and science education.
Within the central mansion is an array of amenities suited to a commercial development for the super-rich, including an indoor pool, casino, theater and a "hookah" room, windowless and adorned with a dancer's pole, according to the plans released by FBK.
A tunnel, which FBK says is large enough to be used by a vehicle, connects a below-grade portion of the mansion to an exit on the estate's coastal land. The exit is also close enough to an enclosed harbor to allow sea access.
FBK used detailed site plans and documents to gain an understanding of the compound and to connect it to Putin through a web of shell companies while using a drone camera to obtain external images. Reporters seeking to see the Residence at Cape Idokopas in person have been turned away for years by agents of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or FSB, the post-Soviet intelligence agency that replaced the KGB, The Drive reports.
FBK was founded by Alexey Navalny, whose outspoken criticism of Putin led to his near-fatal poisoning last year at the hands of a group of FSB operatives, Bellingcat reports. Navalny returned to Moscow in January after spending months recovering from the attack in Germany and was promptly arrested, sparking nationwide protests.
FBK's drone images of the compound and the 3D renderings it created of the palace's interior based on floor plans can be viewed along with the full report published here in Russian.