There are many indications that President Putin owns a huge luxury estate on the Black Sea. The palace's Italian architect has lived in Russia for years and seems to have amassed a considerable fortune. Now Italy's tax investigation strikes.
Italian tax police have seized assets worth more than €141 million from an architect who designed "Putin's Palace" on the Black Sea. The Reuters news agency reports that the tax police have confiscated the assets of a "well-known expert" in the northern Italian city of Brescia for alleged tax offences.
The assets are said to belong to Lanfranco Cirillo. He had designed a gigantic estate on the Black Sea in Russia that became known as "Putin's Palace". A lawyer for Cirillo confirmed that his client's assets were confiscated but said he was not guilty of any wrongdoing in relation to Italian taxes. His client has lived in Russia for many years and received Russian citizenship in 2014.
"The architect who is in Moscow is very disappointed at the fact that buying some prestigious properties and works of art in Italy and caring for his wife and daughter is being used as an argument that he faked his move abroad," said lawyer Stefano Lojacono in a statement. According to the tax police in Brescia, among other things, a helicopter, luxury real estate, cash, jewels and important works of art were confiscated.
President Putin has denied any connection to the Black Sea luxury property. The issue surfaced again in early 2021, when jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny claimed in an online video that Putin was the actual owner.
In an interview with Italian television in April, Cirillo said he designed the building but it was commissioned by a private group. He himself had no relations with Putin. "It's crazy to think that the president of such an important country needs to build a palace for himself," Cirillo said in an interview with Italian broadcaster La7.