The tenants pay rent to a company called Meridian, which is 99 per cent owned by a company called Intererservis, corporate and property records reviewed by Reuters in early May showed. Intererservis, according to a state register of corporate entities, has been wholly owned since 2014 by a woman called Lyudmila Alexandrovna Shkrebnyova – which is the maiden name of Putin’s former wife.
The arrangements appear to fit a pattern in Putin’s Russia, whereby people close to the president benefit from contracts, loans, grants or assets from state enterprises or entities closely linked to the Kremlin.
Reuters has previously reported how Putin’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, became a billionaire after marrying a daughter of the president by acquiring a large stake in a leading Russian gas and petrochemicals company.
Reuters also reported how Shamalov acquired a substantial property in Biarritz, France, from a close associate of Putin.