For the first time about the palace became known back in 2010 — it was told by businessman Sergey Kolesnikov, who, according to him, was involved in the project of its construction. He published estimates, contracts, and other documents related to the construction and said that businessman Nikolai Shamalov supervised the project in the interests of Vladimir Putin. This led to a major scandal in the media, and a few months later, Shamalov sold the palace to businessman Alexander Ponomarenko, who said that he would complete it as a hotel complex.
The sale was fictitious — Ponomarenko paid only 350 thousand dollars for the palace (a thousand times less than the amount that appeared in the media). One of Shamalov’s firms soon became the management company at the facility.
The residence is located on an area of 68 hectares. On the court plot, there is a helipad, a full-fledged ice palace, a church, an amphitheater, a greenhouse, a tea house with an area of 2,500 square meters, and an 80-meter bridge. For the descent to the beach, a special tunnel has been built inside the mountain, in the middle of which there is a tasting room, from which “the best possible view of the sea” opens.
The adjacent plot of 7,000 hectares belongs to the FSB, but until 2068 it was transferred to the company that owns the palace. The Anti-Corruption Foundation believes that “the only purpose of the lease is to create something like a buffer around Putin’s palace.” The researchers also found that the FSB does not permit to fish near the cape, where the palace is built, and there is an official no-fly zone over the territory.
The authors of the investigation also published a detailed plan of the palace. The Anti-Corruption Foundation claims that they received it from one of the contractors, who gave it to the investigators, as “he was stunned and enraged by the luxury of the decoration.” The Anti-Corruption Foundation compared the plans with several photos of the interiors that were published on the Internet back in 2011 and made sure of their authenticity.
As emphasized in the investigation, the entire palace is equipped with exclusive furniture made individually to order. So, for example, sofas in residence cost one and a half to two million rubles (in total, The Anti-Corruption Foundation counted 47 sofas), and the most expensive table — 4.1 million rubles.
In total, the palace has three floors. Also, there are a swimming pool, saunas, hammams, “warehouse dirt,” Spa, reading room, music room, hookah, cinema, wine tasting room, wine cellar, casino, about a dozen guest bedrooms. The master bedroom has an area of 260 square meters.
The Anti-Corruption Foundation also found out that near the palace territory, there are almost 300 hectares of vineyards, chateaux, wineries, and oyster farms-investigators also call them “Putin’s possessions.” Wineries are furnished with luxury furniture: The Anti-Corruption Foundation cites the example of a coffee table purchased for them for 4.3 million rubles, an Italian toilet brush for 62 thousand, and a toilet paper holder for 92 thousand.
The Anti-Corruption Foundation writes that the construction of the complex was financed by companies associated with friends of Vladimir Putin — including the state-owned Rosneft and Transneft-with the help of fictitious lease payments other corruption schemes. The authors of the investigation call this scheme “the biggest bribe in the world” and estimate the total amount of money spent on the palace and vineyards at least 100 billion rubles.