Corruption Weekly: 16-20 October

Russiangate publishes digest of the most important media investigations.


On October 17, RBC published its investigation of Petersburg’s "Internet Research Agency", better known as the "Troll Factory". The company turned out to be associated with Putin's friend Evgeny Prigozhin, again attracting attention to the issue after Facebook administration suspected the organization of trying to influence results of the US elections via political advertising.

RBC investigation revels that the pages blocked by moderators of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as part of the fight against Russian interference were actually managed from the agency's office. They were followed by about six million people. The reach of the posts was up to 20-30 million users a week.

Employees of the American affairs Dept of the agency, launched in the spring of 2015, published posts on controversial issues such as rights of Afro-Americans, sovereignty of Texas, illegal migration, weapons, LGBT, Muslims and other. Initially, the Dept employed 30 people, then the staff grew to 80-90 employees. About one hundred American activists cooperated with the company, not fully understanding who they were dealing with. Salary fund of the agency was about one million dollars a year.

On October 19, the Investigations Management Center (IMC) published a story about huge Sochi sanatorium which was shown in the Soviet film under the name "Old Hottabych".

The sanatorium named after Ordzhonikidze was purchased via illegal means by a company, belonging to a classmate of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Ilya Yeliseyev. In 2016, Alexander Kolpakov became the head of the Presidential Affairs Office and returned the mansion to the state.

IMC explains in detail how it turned out that the associate of Medvedev lost a valuable asset after the change of the president.

On October 20, the Russian branch of Transparency International revealed that since 2010, former deputy head of the main department for combating organized crime in the Interior Ministry, Anatoly Petukhov, has invested more than $ 38 million in real estate in the US state of Florida.

In Russia, Petukhov has a private house, the cost of which reaches up to two million dollars. His neighbor is former prefect of North-Western District of Moscow Viktor Kozlov, who allocated Petukhov 3,6 thousand sq.m. in the protected area. In addition, he owns an apartment in Moscow.

Despite this, Petukhov has lived in Miami since 2010. There he bought a condominium for three million dollars, an office for his development company for $ 3.2 million and two mansions for $ 7.9 and $ 7 million.

Authors of the investigation note that Petukhov received a status of the US resident illegally, as well as that a source of his income was not established. The organization appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, Russian financial watchdog, the US Department for Combating Financial Crime and the FBI with a demand to conduct inspections.

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