December 22nd, 2011

Putin declares a paltry savings that’s one-thousandth of one percent of his supposed wealth

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared this week that he earned about $570,000 over the last four years from his government salary, KGB pension and dividends from a minority stake in Bank Saint Petersburg.

Putin also declared that he has $180,000 in his savings accounts; in Russia, presidential candidates must state recent earnings and savings figures.

These numbers, of course, pale in comparison to multi-billion fortune Putin has allegedly accumulated since rising to power in 1999, mostly from his stake in state-run and natural resource-based corporations. The Guardian and other media outlets have reported that the prime minister has much of his wealth hidden in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

In 2007 Russian political expert Stanislav Belkovsky reported that Putin has secretly amassed more than $40 billion during his first eight years in power, which would make him the richest man in Europe.

Among his suspected holdings: 37 percent of the shares of Surgutneftegaz, Russia’s third biggest oil producer, worth $20 billion; a 4.5 percent stake in Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas extractor and largest Russian company; and 75 percent of Gunvor, a Swiss-based oil trading firm.

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