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Putin's confidant Gergiev uses charitable fund as personal wallet, investigators say

Valery Gergiev, a conductor and confidante of the Russian president, has been spending money from his own charitable foundation on personal needs for years, members of Alexei Navalny's team say in their new investigation which has been just released.

The Valery Gergiev Charitable Foundation was established in 2003. Its website states it is engaged in «the preservation and promotion of the music of Russian composers» and «provision of support for talented youth.» Its sponsors include VTB, Russian Railways, Sberbank, oligarch Alisher Usmanov, the Moscow city government and other state organizations.

Navalny's team examined the foundation's bank statements and discovered that Gergiev used the money for his personal needs. By using money from the foundation, the conductor paid the rent on his dacha in Repino, made utility payments, and also bought a land plot on Rublevo highway, three adjacent apartments in the upscale Art View House residential complex in St. Petersburg and four apartments in a house in Maly Kakovinsky Lane in Moscow.

Gergiev also transferred more than 300 million rubles from the charity foundation to his personal bank account between 2018 and 2020.

Previously, Agentstvo and the project Russian-speaking America for Democracy in Russia found out he had bought a 164 square meter apartment in Manhattan for $2.4 million in March 2004, which he failed to declare in his tax returns for years, contrary to the law. Navalny's team also found the conductor's undeclared real estate in eight cities across Italy. In and around Rimini alone, he owns dozens of land plots and buildings totaling 288,000 square meters. And he owns over 800,000 square meters of real estate in Milan.

Gergiev has been a longstanding supporter of Putin. After the start of the war in Ukraine, the Carnegie Hall in New York and the Munich Philharmonic cut their ties with him. Milan's La Scala Theater demanded that Gergiev speak in favor of a peaceful resolution of the situation around Ukraine, but the conductor himself had said as early as 2018 he was very far from politics.

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