A Kremlin-loyal news outlet has released video footage of Vladimir Putin‘s ‘£1billlion Black Sea palace’ to deny claims the President is living in luxury.
Jailed critic Alexei Navalny had claimed the Russian leader had the 190,000sq-ft residence decked out with a strip club, casino and an underground ice rink, and was funded through a corruption scheme with oligarchs.
He released a video this month showing the extensive grounds and stunning interior of the Gelendzhik Palace using floor plans to create 3D images, as part of his long-running campaign to discredit Putin.
Alexei Navalny claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was living in luxury in a £1billion mansion near the Black Sea
A Kremlin-loyal news outlet released video footage of the residence on Friday to deny the claims
The footage shows the palace under construction, with workers gutting the interior and scaffolding erected across much of the grounds
But new footage published on Friday by Mash Telegram shows the palace to be little more than a construction site, with workers gutting most of the interior.
Mash chief editor Maxim Iksanov, who was taken on a tour of the grounds, said: ‘The location is one slab of concrete.’
Navalny’s chief investigative aide Maria Pevchikh said the footage confirms what they already knew, that the palace had to be refurbished because of poor ventilation that was causing mould, the Moscow Times reported.
Navalny said earlier this month: ‘Satellite images from six years ago showed that the palace was completely ready.
Mash chief editor Maxim Iksanov, who was taken on a tour of the grounds, said: ‘The location is one slab of concrete’
Construction workers were seen in the video which is looking to refute the claims of Putin’s extravagant wealth and lifestyle
‘But then disaster named mould and sloppiness hit. They decided to redo everything.
‘They stripped the walls, stripped the marble, took out everything of value, literally threw billions in the trash and started work again.’
In his investigation, Navlany showed images of the palace’s floor plans and photos taken by environmental activists opposed to its construction.
It revealed an arcade room with slot machines and a dance mat, a spa and a theatre inside the mansion, along with an underground ice rink and even vineyards in the grounds.
Navalny’s chief investigative aide Maria Pevchikh said they already knew that the palace had to be refurbished
Poor ventilation in the design was causing mould, Navalny’s team claim, which is why the palace is undergoing major works
Putin’s former businessman friend Mr Kolesnikov insists the funds for the palace were raised by a combination of ‘corruption, bribery and theft’
Navalny claims the estate, which also includes a church and strip club fitted with a lap dancers’ pole, is 39 times the size of Monaco and was funded by ‘the world’s largest bribe’.
Putin has denied the palace belongs to him even though the Open Media investigative news website has found five contractors involved in the building who refer to it as ‘Putin’s Palace’.
Navalny was arrested this month after returning to Russia following treatment in Germany for poisoning by the deadly nerve agent Novichok last summer.
He said of his investigation into the palace: ‘It tells how, right now and for the past 15 years, the biggest bribe in history is being given and the most expensive palace in the world is being built.’
Navalny, who was arrested on his return to Russia last weekend, has claimed a strip club, casino and a theatre are among a series of luxurious rooms inside the palace and mocked up 3D images using floor plans provided by constructors
Navalny claims to be in possession of leaked floor plans of Putin’s lavish property on Russia’s southern Black Sea coast which have been used to draw up artists’ impressions of the palace’s interior
Astonishing 3D images of the estate’s interior allege ‘Putin’s palace’ features an arcade room (pictured), a spa and a theatre inside the mansion, along with an underground ice rink and even vineyards in the grounds.
Alexei Navalny has claimed a theatre – fitted with red curtains and a golden ceiling – is among a series of luxurious rooms inside the palace
Putin’s former businessman friend Mr Kolesnikov insists the funds for the palace were raised by a combination of ‘corruption, bribery and theft’.
Navalny claims that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) owns some 7,000 hectares of land surrounding the property and that the complex was financed by Putin’s close allies, including Igor Sechin, chief of Russian oil giant Rosneft, and billionaire tycoon Gennady Timchenko.
‘It is a separate state within Russia. And in this state there is a single and irreplaceable tsar. Putin,’ Navalny says.
Navalny claimed Putin had been able to grant his powerful old friends high-profile positions on lucrative government projects and hide his wealth through his allies.
‘Putin’s friends, who received from him the right to steal whatever they wanted in Russia, thanked him a lot. But they also chipped in, collected 100 billion rubles and built a palace for their boss with this money,’ Navalny said.