An Italianate mansion on Russia’s Black Sea coast, known as Putin’s Palace, has apparently been sold to entrepreneur Aleksandr Ponomarenko in the capacity of a hotel complex, the Kommersant business daily reports. The deal is allegedly worth $ 350 million. The luxury palace was secretly owned by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to the the Ruleaks website – the Russian equivalent of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Putin himself denies that he ever owned it.
The Black Sea palace is said to have cost one billion dollars to build. It is complete with helicopter pad, spa, casino and its own vineyard. The mansion also includes an indoor cinema, a summer amphitheatre, swimming pools and a clock tower. Earlier this year Mr Putin was alleged that the villa was built for his private use with the proceeds of “corruption, bribery and theft.” Where did the money come from for construction, remains the main question according to the Kommersant.
New lucky owner – Aleksandr Ponomarenko – is a shipping magnate with an estimated worth of $1.4 billion. He is avidly denying reports that Vladimir Putin owns the place and insists he bought the complex from three owners (Nikolai Shamalov, a friend of Mr Putin, and two of his partners) after they asked him to invest because they had run out of money.
Mr Ponomarenko is now announcing his plans to turn 8 million square foot mansion into a hotel complex.