No one knows Putin’s exact net worth, but many speculate he’s the wealthiest person on the planet — his $1 billion palace and $500 million yacht explain why

• Vladimir Putin may be the wealthiest man in the world.

• Forbes won’t even estimate his net worth, because it can’t verify his financial assets, Newsweek reported.

• The Russian president does indulge in some displays of immense wealth, however.

• Putin is reported to own luxury watches, a fleet of yachts, and multiple expensive properties, including a $1 billion palace.

• American financier Bill Browder estimated that Putin had “accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains,” according to the Atlantic.

Vladimir Putin very well may be the richest man in the world.

But it’s impossible to say for sure. According to the Kremlin, the Russian president earns around $133,000 a year and lives in a small apartment.

That description doesn’t jive with most accounts of Putin’s lifestyle. Former Russian government adviser Stanislav Belkovsky estimated his fortune is worth $70 billion. Hedge fund manager Bill Browder, a noted critic of Putin, claimed it was more like $200 billion. A fortune that enormous would propel him straight past Amazon founder and richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, who Forbes estimates has $150.2 billion to his name.

So why can’t we pin down Putin’s net worth with any certainty? The 2015 Panama Papers revealed that Putin may obscure and bolster his fortune through proxies.

We’ve put together a list of all the clues that indicate Putin is likely one of the richest people on the planet:


As president of Russia, Putin’s official residence is the Moscow Kremlin. However, he spends most of his time at a suburban government residence outside of the city called Novo-Ogaryovo.

source
Shutterstock/OlegDoroshin

Source:Business Insider


He reportedly has access to 20 different palaces and villas.

Source: Up North


Official records published in 2016 by the Kremlin would have us believe that Putin has a very modest real estate portfolio. The report said he owned a small plot of land and an apartment with a garage.

source
Reuters

Source: Newsweek


But over the years, Putin has been linked to other properties. The most controversial of which is the so-called “secret palace.” This was reportedly built for Putin using illegal state funds.

source
Wikicommons/Ruleaks

Source:BBC


This epic mansion reportedly cost $1 billion to build. It has a private theater and landing pad with room for three helicopters.

source
Wikicommons/Ruleaks

Source: Business Insider


The bedrooms are suitably grandiose.

source
Wikicommons/Ruleaks

And the wall art is just as opulent.

source
Wikimedia Commons

Snapshots of the then-under-construction mansion leaked in 2011.

source
Wikimedia Commons

Source: Business Insider


And the following year, opposition leader and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov produced a dossier claiming that Putin owned multiple private jets, helicopters, and yachts.

Source:New York Times, “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin


Nemtsov alleged that, out of the 20 state residences Putin had access to, nine were built during his tenure as president.

source
Harry Engels / Stringer / Getty Images

Source:New York Times, “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin


The president was also accused of owning 58 different types of aircraft, including a Dassault Falcon, which seats 19.

caption
This is not Putin’s plane but an example of what his plane would look like.
source
Wikimedia Commons

One of his planes was said to have an $11 million cabin fitted out by jewelers and that toilet which cost close to $100,000. This plane has room for up to 186 passengers. Putin is accused of owning five of these.

Source: Daily Mail and Business Insider


The dossier claimed Putin has a collection of four yachts, each costing thousands of dollars to maintain. Rossiya, one of his yachts, was upgraded in 2005. It reportedly cost $1.2 billion to do. “The Graceful,” another of his yachts, (shown below) reportedly sleeps 14 people and has six bedrooms.

source
YouTube/SuperYachtFan

Source: Time


Then there’s Olympia. He was reportedly given this 57-meter luxury yacht, worth $35 million, as a gift from Chelsea football club owner and oligarch Roman Abramovich. According to a former head of a state shipping company in Russia, Putin runs the yacht using state money.

caption
Roman Abramovich.
source
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Source:The Telegraph


Putin also likes to take pride in his appearance. The 2012 dossier claimed it Putin has 11 watches worth an estimated $687,000.

Source:New York Times


According to the Russian government-owned paper “Russia Beyond the Headlines,” Putin owns an A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour Le Mérite,’ which costs half a million dollars.

source
Facebook/A. Lange & Söhne

Source:Russia Beyond the Headlines


A $1 million Patek Phillippe going up for auction in July 2017 was also said to be owned by Putin. Accompanying documentation claimed he was the owner. The Kremlin denied these claims.

source
Monaco Legend Auctions

Source: Business Insider


In the past, Putin has even given away his watches. The president reportedly owned five Blancpain watches at one time but gave away one to a Siberian boy while on vacation and another to a factory worker who asked for a keepsake. The watches were reportedly worth $10,500 each.

source
Blancpain

Source: Blancpain, ABC News, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism


Then there’s his clothing. Newsweek’s Ben Judah spent three years researching Putin for his book and claimed that Putin prefers bespoke suits and “dour” Valentino ties over anything else.

Source: Business Insider


Russian government-owned paper “Russia Beyond the Headlines” confirmed Putin’s expensive taste for tailored suits. In 2015, it published an article claiming that the president’s preferred brand of suits was Kiton and Brioni, “Such suits are made ​from start to finish by one tailor, take dozens of hours to complete, and have a starting price tag of $5500,” the article said.

source
REUTERS/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Source:Russia Beyond the Headlines


According to “Russia Beyond the Headlines”, Putin also has a stylist who has been dressing him for over 10 years. “The stylist rips off all the labels from his clothes, so these do not accidentally catch the eyes of journalists.”

source
Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

Source:Russia Beyond the Headlines


In 2015, Putin was photographed working out with Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev. Quartz reported that his Loro Piana silk and cashmere-blend sweatpants cost $1,425. Putin teamed this with a matching top, making the outfit cost a whopping $3,200 in total.

Source: Quartz


In 2007, ex-Kremlin official Stanislav Belkovsky claimed that Putin had a $40 billion fortune hidden away in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. At the time, that would have made him the fourth wealthiest person in the world, between business magnate Carlos Slim and late IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad.

Source: TIME, Forbes


At the time, Belkovsy said Putin secretly controlled 37% of the shares of Surgutneftegaz and 4.5% of Gazprom, two giant Russian oil companies. He also said he controlled “at least 75%” of Swiss oil trader Gunvor, the Guardian reported, but added, “I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about.” Gunvor has refuted these claims, however. “President Putin does not and never has had any ownership, beneficial or otherwise in Gunvor,” a Gunvor spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “He is not a beneficiary of Gunvor or its activities.”

source
Grigory Dukor/Reuters

Source: The Guardian


Estimates of Putin’s net worth have only risen over time. Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, believes that Putin has access to a secret fortune of $200 billion. Browder had invested in Russia in the 1990s, but ultimately came into conflict with Putin.

caption
Bill Browder.
source
Getty Images/ AFP/ Bertrand Guay

Source: Fortune, The Washington Post


After Browder’s lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was jailed and brutally killed while investigation corruption, Browder advocated for the passage of the “Magnitsky Act” in 2012, leading to US sanctions against Russian oligarchs.

caption
Sergei Magnitsky.
source
Wikimedia Commons

Source: Fortune, The Washington Post


Putin’s inner circle is actually the reason why no one can seem to pin down Putin’s exact worth with any certainty. The Guardian reported that in 2010, “US diplomatic cables suggested Putin held his wealth via proxies,” including his best friend Sergei Roldugin and banker Yuri Kovalchuk.

source
REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Source: “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin,” The Guardian


Some of those connections were exposed in the 2015 Panama Papers. The massive leak didn’t include any files directly pertaining to Putin, but they did reveal that “his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage,” the Guardian reported.

source
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan have said that, as a result, the Panama Papers leak was “seen as an attack on personal friends of Putin, his immediate circle.” But Putin and the Kremlin have denied allegations that he’s used his role to enrich himself and his friends.

source
Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images

Source: The Washington Post, ““The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries”


Myers wrote that the Russian leader said, “I am the wealthiest man, not just in Europe but in the whole world: I collect emotions. I am wealthy in that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with the leadership of a great nation such as Russia. I believe that is my greatest wealth.”

source
Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Source: “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin


The repeated rebuttals have done nothing to dispel the scrutiny on Putin’s alleged riches. “In a country where 20  million people can barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a brazen and cynical challenge to society from a high-handed potentate,” Nemstov wrote in one 2012 white paper. The politician, a longtime and vocal critic of Putin, was assassinated in 2015.

caption
Boris Nemtsov.
source
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Source: The Telegraph