TIME russia

The U.S. Is Point-Blank Accusing Vladimir Putin of Corruption

Vladimir Putin
Alexei Nikolsky—AP Russian President Vladimir Putin leads a meeting of the presidential education council in the Kremlin in Moscow on Jan. 21, 2016

A Kremlin spokesperson dismissed the claims as "pure fiction"

The U.S. government has for the first time directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of corruption, the BBC reports.

In an interview with the BBC program Panorama, U.S. Treasury official Adam Szubin said that the U.S. government has believed Putin to be corrupt for “many, many years.” The U.S. levied sanctions against Putin and his political allies in 2014, pointing to the President’s dubious investments in the energy industry but did not claim outright that he was corrupt at the time.

“We’ve seen him enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalizing those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets,” Szubin, who oversees the Treasury’s sanctions, told the BBC. “Whether that’s Russia’s energy wealth, whether it’s other state contracts, he directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don’t. To me, that is a picture of corruption.”

He continued: “He supposedly draws a state salary of something like $110,000 a year. That is not an accurate statement of the man’s wealth, and he has long time training and practices in terms of how to mask his actual wealth.”

One classified report written by the CIA in 2007 placed Putin’s personal wealth at $40 billion.

The Kremlin has systematically dismissed accusations of Putin’s alleged malfeasance for years. The Russian President’s spokesperson told the BBC that the U.S. Treasury’s claims were “pure fiction.”


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team