Russian businessman, investor, politician and owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich gave a Â£25 million yacht to Russian president Vladmir Putin, new reports claim. Dmitry Skarga, a former head of Russiaâ€™s state shipping company, Sovcomflot, said the boat was a gift from Abramovich, who transferred it to the president via an intermediary associate.
The pair have long been friends but Putinâ€™s critics feel he has unknown energy business deals with the Chelsea owner.
â€œItâ€™s a fact that Mr Abramovich, through his employee transferred a yacht to Mr Putin,â€ Mr Skarga told Panorama. Mr Skarga also alleged that the yacht is run and maintained with state funds, even though it is Mr Putinâ€™s personal property.
The allegations come as a top American official openly accused Mr Putin of corruption and direct embezzlement of state funds. There has been a lot of speculation about Putinâ€™s actual wealth value with Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager and vocal critic of Mr Putin, claiming that the Russian president is worth $200 billion, a sum that would make him by far the richest man in the world. But Putinâ€™s spokesman has called the allegations â€œcomplete trash.â€ Mr Abramovichâ€™s lawyers called the claims about the yacht â€œunsubstantiatedâ€ and little more than a â€œrehash of speculation and rumoursâ€.