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CORRUPTION

French activist occupies Putin's daughter's villa in Biarritz, aims to use it to host Ukrainian refugees (Video)

In Biarritz, Pierre Affner, a local activist, broke into the Alta Mira villa, owned by the daughter of Vladimir Putin, where he replaced the locks and announced the property as a sanctuary for refugees from Putin's regime — primarily Ukrainians. The villa has a total of eight bedrooms and three bathrooms, Affner told The Insider.

In addition to a magazine titled “VVP. Development Strategy,” [“VVP” coincides with the initials of “Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin” — The Insider] documents concerning Gennady Timchenko, a Russian oligarch and personal friend of Vladimir Putin, and Kirill Shamalov, Putin's former son-in-law, were found in the villa located at 9 Avenue du General Mac-Croskey.

Among other things, the documents found at the villa included a copy Shamalov's passport, as well as a French translation of an electricity bill for his place of permanent residence in Moscow. These documents could have been required to open a bank account in France and to purchase the villa itself. Also found was a power of attorney dated 2009, issued by “Gennady Timchenko, a citizen of Finland” to a French national, Francoise Duchosal, who was supposed to manage repairs at the villa.

Copy of Kirill Shamalov's passport found at Putin's daughter's villa
Copy of Kirill Shamalov's passport found at Putin's daughter's villa

The Insider's examination of the French real estate registry revealed that the villa, initially owned by oligarch Gennady Timchenko since 2007, was transferred to Shamalov in 2012.

Pierre Affner at Putin's daughter's villa in Biarritz
Pierre Affner at Putin's daughter's villa in Biarritz

In 1996, politician Alexander Belyaev claimed that Putin had been investing money in real estate on the French Atlantic Coast; the invested funds had been allegedly stolen from the St. Petersburg mayor's office as part of a scheme exposed by Marina Salye, and then transferred to bank accounts in Austria. Putin vehemently denied these accusations and, as the press wrote at the time, claimed he didn't even know where the Atlantic Coast was.

During the trial, former St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak and Vladimir Putin sought to dismiss allegations of corruption. Putin questioned the alleged inaction of law enforcement, stating, “[If this theft occurred] why are our special services doing nothing to stop the illegal activities of the mayor and his associates?”

Shamalov's villa is not the only luxury property owned by Putin in Biarritz. According to a report by Europe 1 radio citing the French secret services, Putin also bought a villa in 1996 which had previously belonged to the Russian composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky, located at 9 Rue de la Fregate in Biarritz.

There is also a third villa in Biarritz associated with Putin — his ex-wife's house, formally owned by her new husband, Artur Ocheretny. After the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, activists painted the walls of the villa in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

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