A Russian billionaire and close associate of President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he is the real owner of an opulent mansion that jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had claimed belongs to the leader.
Arkady Rotenberg lay claim to the lavish mansion in the Black Sea Coast in a video statement.
“Now it will no longer be a secret; I am the beneficiary,” Rotenberg claimed in the video published by the Mash channel in Telegram, according to The Guardian.
“There was a rather complicated facility, there were a lot of creditors, and I managed to become the beneficiary.”
Navalny and his anti-corruption foundation published a documentary titled “Putin’s palace. History of world’s largest bribe” on Jan. 19 in which they allege the mansion is owned by the Russian president and is worth over $1.5 billion.
Putin has denied he owns the palace and described Navalny’s documentary as “boring,” the BBC reported.
Navalny’s Jan. 17 arrest upon returning from Germany sparked massive protests in Russia. More than 4,000 people who demonstrated for Navalny’s release have been arrested.