Former Kremlin insider reveals Putin’s system of corruption

By and Madeleine Leroyer

In this second part of a lengthy interview he gave to Mediapart this month, oligarch Sergei Pugachev, once a Kremlin insider close to Vladimir Putin, says one of the Russian president’s key allies, a former fellow KGB officer, Sergei Chemezov, regularly negotiated secret commissions on arms deals which were paid into offshore accounts for the benefit of both Chemezov and Putin. According to Pugachev, that was also the case in an ill-fated deal for Russia’s purchase from France of several Mistral amphibious assault vessels.

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France's 2011 deal to sell to the Russian navy four - and up to 20 in all - 22,000-tonne Mistral-class amphibious assault vessels, called “projection and command” ships, or BPCs, built to carry helicopters, tanks and troops, following Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia was, as some in the French military recognised, a high-risk contract.