GOSSIP & RUMORS: Putin’s secret 10K-acre lair near Finnish border revealed
Russian President Vladimir Putin has secretly built a luxurious estate — complete with two $10,000 bidets, a “stolen” waterfall and possibly even its own air defense system — not far from the Finnish border.
The sprawling 1,000-acre complex is hidden deep in the forests of northern Karelia — just 20 miles from Finland, the Dossier Centre, a Russian investigative organization, reported.
The lair, located on the shores of Lake Ladoga, also includes three modern-style homes, two helicopter pads, yacht piers and a trout farm and beef farm, according to the outlet.
Footage shows it is defended by barbed-wire fencing, a 24/7 security detail and drone defense systems.
The compound is only accessible by boat or air.
Relations between Russia and its Finnish neighbors have tensed since the Nordic country joined NATO in April, with the Kremlin threatening “countermeasures” and moving nuclear-capable missiles closer to the border in response.
In November, Finland accused Russia of sending hundreds of Middle Eastern and African migrants across its border, forcing Finland to shut down its border crossings.
The three homes on the estate are known as The Barn, The Fisherman’s Hut and The Garden House, according to the report. The properties are reportedly decked out with the extravagant bidets, shower heads costing up to $4,400 each and a $108,000 Italian Fior di Bosco marble floor.
A brewery with some $380,000 of Austrian brewing equipment capable of making 82 pints of beer a day is also located on the bucolic grounds.
Local residents say Putin visits the estate only about once a year, likely to blow off some steam.
“There is no doubt the president relaxes here,” a reporter for Dossier Centre said in a video report. “During his visits, the local security is replaced by FSO [Federal Guard Service] employees, entrances are blocked off, and neighboring islands are sealed off.”
The drone footage obtained by the outlet also revealed a waterfall that was reportedly stolen from Skerries National Park, on which the property was built.
A raised embankment that could be used to station a surface-to-air defense system — a feature found on some of Putin’s other properties — appears near the back of the main property, the video shows.
The estate was financed by companies linked to Putin’s Kremlin-linked oligarch pals, according to the report. The owner of the estate was listed as Yury Kovalchuk — chairman of Bank Rossiya, described by the US treasury as Putin’s “personal banker” and one of his “cashiers.”
Kovalchuk, who reportedly looks over all of the Russian president’s real estate, has been sanctioned by the US and EU since 2014.
Kovalchuk owns a hotel in the area and a neighboring estate is owned by Roman Abramovich — the former owner of the UK’s Chelsea Football Club, who was forced to sell the team after he was sanctioned by the West for his ties to Putin.
Construction on the site began more than a decade ago and was first reported in 2016, according to the Dossier Centre.
Putin reportedly has very few assets in his name, despite amassing one of the largest fortunes in the world since he became prime minister of Russia in 1999. He has been president since 2012.
Bill Brody, an American financier who ran one of the biggest investment firms in Russia from 1996 to 2005, testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2017 that Putin had “accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains.”
Most of the Russian president’s fortune is stashed away in offshore tax havens, invested in luxury properties inside and outside Russia and spread out among the accounts of his family and friends.