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CORRUPTION

The “Immortal Dreamer”: Putin’s family still buys its yachts and spare parts for private jets in the West, despite sanctions

Despite a ban on the sale of yachts to Russia, a luxury French-made sailing boat, the Immortal Dreamer, was recently purchased by a firm linked to Mikhail Shelomov, Vladimir Putin's nephew. In the meantime, while Russian civil aviation suffers from constant breakdowns due to a shortage of spare parts, the firm that services the private jet of Alina Kabaeva, Putin’s long-time mistress, is somehow managing to import Western-made components. For the lucky handful of Russians who have gotten sufficiently close to the country’s president-for-life, life goes on almost as if their country’s invasion of Ukraine never happened.

Content
  • Immortal Dreamer

  • Alina Kabaeva's private jet

RU

Immortal Dreamer

Western sanctions prohibit the sale of yachts to Russia. But if you're a member of Putin's family, the rules seemingly don’t apply.

The sailboat Immortal Dreamer was built in France in 2023 at the CNB (Construction Navale Bordeaux) shipyard. The development of this model, Lagoon Seventy 7, was supervised by the famous French designer Patrick le Quement.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

The four-cabin yacht accommodates 18 passengers. “On the interior of the SEVENTY 7, escape the everyday, and experience life on board in an environment of elegant details and fine materials,” reads one of the yacht’s promo pieces.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

The yacht was launched in early 2023, and in August of that year, according to customs documents available to The Insider, it was brought to Russia via transit through Turkey. The intermediary was Burevestnik Group, whose owner, Andrei Boyko, is known as a yacht importer close to the Kremlin. One of the employees of Burevestnik Group was listed among the senior members of the crew of Scheherazade — Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva’s most famous yacht, which came complete with its own judo hall and one in a long and infamous line of “aquatic discos.”

The Immortal Dreamer yacht was purchased by the previously unknown LLC Merkurii (ООО «Меркурий», lit. “Mercury”). An investigation by The Insider into Merkurii’s official owners, managers, and employees revealed that many of them are also employed by Akcept LLC (ООО «Акцепт»), a personal company of Putin’s nephew, Mikhail Shelomov. Shelomov, the son of Putin's cousin, controls assets valued at over a billion dollars.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

Mikhail Shelomov
Mikhail Shelomov

Merkurii was originally founded in 2014 by Oksana Moskalenko, an employee of Akcept. Both companies share the same accountant, Tatiana Vorozhbit. The current founder and CEO of Merkurii, Alexandra Lashayeva, receives her salary from JSC ARB Management (АО «АБР Менеджмент»), the firm managing the Bank Rossiya assets of both Shelomov and Yuri Kovalchuk, the oligarch who is perhaps the closest of all to Putin personally.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

Alexandra Lashayeva
Alexandra Lashayeva

The new French yacht cost Merkurii over 700 million rubles (approximately $7.85 million). According to data obtained by The Insider, the shell company’s funds come almost exclusively from Arotron (АО «Аротрон»), which transfers Merkurii the money through loan agreements. Arotron was also a sponsor of Putin's well-known palace in Gelendzhik, which was exposed in an investigation by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) in 2021. Arotron founder Alexander Plekhov is also identified as the offshore manager for cellist Sergei Roldugin, a close Putin associate who is suspected of serving as a nominal owner of assets belonging to the president himself.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

The new French yacht costs more than 700 million rubles (close to $7.85 million)

Further linking the French-bought yacht to Putin's family are the email addresses used by Merkurii employees. The Insider noted that these addresses belong to the corporate domains llcinvest.ru and mksmail.ru, which are used by employees of companies belonging not only to Putin's nephew Shelomov — but also to Yuri Kovalchuk and to the president's former mistress, Svetlana Krivonogikh.

Almost immediately after being imported into Russia, the yacht Immortal Dreamer was renamed. It is now called “Kamchatka” after the peninsula in the Far East. The last time “Kamchatka” appeared on radar was in spring of this year near Tuapse, a Russian resort town on the Black Sea coast. According to data obtained by The Insider, Merkurii rents its mooring from the Taganrog Aviation Research and Technical Complex named after G. M. Beriev (TANTK), which manufactures amphibious aircraft for customers that include the Russian Defense Ministry. The connection between the yacht and TANTK may seem strange at first, but the explanation is simple: TANTK owns a hydro-aerodrome in the waters of the Gelendzhik Bay, as well as a Gelendzhik resort that features its own pier.

According to airline reservation information obtained by The Insider, Putin's nephew Shelomov frequently visits the Black Sea coast. He travels with his wife and two children from St. Petersburg to Sochi, as the Gelendzhik airport has been closed — for security reasons — since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Neither Shelomov nor the companies involved in importing the luxury French yacht into Russia are subject to Western sanctions.

Alina Kabaeva's private jet

The Insider has also discovered that sanctions similarly do not hinder the delivery of parts for Alina Kabaeva's luxury private jet to Russia.

Russian civil aviation as a whole has been hit hard by international sanctions, with the country’s flag carrier Aeroflot having to cannibalize some of its aircraft for parts due to restrictions on imports. But yet again, such restrictions appear not to apply in practice for members of Putin’s entourage.

Kabaeva, Putin's unofficial wife, travels on a Dassault Falcon 7X private jet worth 3 billion rubles ($33.6 million). This jet — at least until recently — was serviced by Russair («Руссэйр»), which leases it from the insurer Sogaz, whose shareholders in the early 2000s consisted of Shelomov, Kovalchuk, and other figures close to Putin.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

Three people act as the formal beneficiaries of “Russair” through LLC “Breeze” (ООО «Бриз»): Olga Narovskaya, Ekaterina Godzelich, and Alexander Samosyuk. All of them are also connected to assets controlled by Putin's friends, family, and “wallets” (nominal owners, such as Roldugin).

Narovskaya, according to The Insider, receives her salary from LLC Investment Solutions (ООО «Инвестиционные решения»), which is owned by Putin's former classmates Nikolai Egorov and Ilgam Ragimov. Another place of employment for Narovskaya is Binom (АО «Бином») — which turned out to be the formal owner of Putin's palace in Gelendzhik.

Samosyuk is the CEO of Investment Solutions, as well as a part-time employee of LLC Akcept, run by Putin's nephew Shelomov. A third front beneficiary of the airline, Godzelich, is also listed as an employee of Akcept.

“Russair” is not subject to sanctions, and it continues to receive spare parts for the Western-made Falcon luxury private jet — even as Western countries continue to delay the delivery of long-promised F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft to Ukraine. In 2023 and 2024, according to customs information available to The Insider, Russair imported into Russia a transceiver, o-rings and gaskets, a tether jacket, Dzus fasteners, ground wire, backup power supplies, airplane tires, fire extinguishers, crossbeams, spring washers, nuts, gas stacker, helium cylinders, smoke hoods, brackets, propellers, an audio headset, oxygen masks for pilots, as well as multiple other goods for the Falcon private jet.

The manufacturers of these parts — Dassault, SAE, EADS, Honeywell, Military Standards, National Aerospace Standards, AmSafe, Michelin Air Tires, L'Hotellier, Essex, HellermannTyton, Pratt & Whitney, Telex Communications, Harvard industries, General Electric, Intertechnique, B/E Aerospace, Camcar LLC, ESSEX, Fastener Technology, Kell-Strom, Liebherr, NAV-AIDS, PL Porter, Saft — are all Western, hailing from the United States, France, Canada, and the UK.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

“Russair” is not subject to sanctions and continues to receive Western-made spare parts for the Falcon luxury private jet

Spare parts for the personal airline of Putin's entourage continue to make their way to Russia through Turkey, the UAE, and the Maldives. The supply chains involve the firms Al Abrar General Trading, Ats Heavy Equipment & Machinery Spare Parts Trading, Count Asia (Kazakhstan), and J. A .R W Shops And Tools Maint.

This appears in Russair's 2020 financial report. After this fact was reported in the media in 2022, mentions of the jet disappeared from subsequent company documents.

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