His financial empire was built with a methodical system, using public resources and a close circle of friends. Can tough financial sanctions really hurt the man who controls Russia’s wealth?
- Putin’s financial empire was built with a methodical system, using public resources and a close circle of friends.
- Observers say he made billionaires from fellow spies and St. Petersburg associates who helped him.
- “He handled his financial affairs in a manner fully consistent with the greatest organized crime boss on the face of the earth,” former US illicit finance official David Asher said.
Saint Petersburg was one of the richest seaports in Russia. But in the early 1990s, he was starving.
The city once known as Leningrad was reeling from the breakup of the Soviet Union. The grocery store shelves were empty. So his deputy mayor came up with a plan. St. Petersburg would allow the export of some of the region’s natural resources and use the money to feed its people.