An investigation conducted by a non-profit organisation found that the wife of a Russian defence official was on a luxury holiday in Europe as Vladimir Putin’s army killed civilians in Ukraine, a news report claimed. According to the news report, Svetlana Ivanova, the wife of Timur Ivanov, a deputy defence minister, flew into Paris in March on a £70,000 shopping spree.
The report claimed that Ms Ivanova visited a Prada boutique, as well as an exclusive jewellery shop in one of the French capital’s wealthiest districts.
Mr Ivanov has been sanctioned by Britain, the European Union and the United States over his role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On March 23, as Russian bombs were falling on Kyiv, Ivanova, 49, travelled to Britain to see her son, Mikhail, a business student in Oxford, Navalny’s team said.
She then returned to Paris to spend time with her daughter, Alexandra, a resident of France who shares her passion for expensive shopping trips. Ivanova and her children are not subject to sanctions.
The Times reported that Mr Ivanov, 47, previously served as deputy head of the Moscow region and has been in his defence ministry post since 2016.
He is responsible for Russian defence construction projects, which are notorious for corruption.
Navalny’s allies accused him of illegal enrichment, including the use of money that the Kremlin has allocated for the reconstruction of Mariupol, the Ukrainian port city that was almost wiped from the face of the earth by Russian bombs.
In the first 24 hours after its release by the Anti-Corruption Foundation on their YouTube channel on Tuesday, the investigation video was viewed 1.4 million times.
The investigation further detailed the extravagant lifestyle enjoyed by the Ivanov family, including month-long holidays in villas on the French Riviera that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, ownership of a mansion near Moscow, as well as a swathe of other elite property in the Russian capital.
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The investigators further stated that the couple’s wedding in 2010 was a lavish affair that included a €70,000 appearance fee for a member of Modern Talking, the German pop band popular with the Russian elite.
The couple divorced in August, records show, but it is thought that the separation was a legal sleight of hand to ensure that Svetlana was not hit by Western sanctions.
The divorce came after Svetlana had changed her surname to Ivanova.