As young men in the late 1970s, Sergey Roldugin and Vladimir Putin became very close, “almost like brothers,” according to Roldugin. Putin went on to join the KGB and is now president of Russia. Roldugin gained fame as a world-class cellist, eventually becoming director of the St. Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire and Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg House of Music. Throughout their lives, the two have remained close. Roldugin had a role in introducing Putin to his future wife Lyudmila. He is also the godfather of Putin’s oldest daughter, Mariya.
In the data
Sergey Roldugin was an owner of three offshore companies: Sonnette Overseas, International Media Overseas and Raytar Limited. St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya, which the U.S government described as Russia’s “personal bank for senior officials,” created the first two. The Rossiya executive in charge of setting up Sonnette described Roldugin as being “assigned” to the company.. In March 2008, Sonnette Overseas and four other offshore-companies gained major influence over Kamaz , Russia's largest truckmaker, for almost a year. International Media Overseas owned Med Media Network, which in turn controlled 12.5% of Vi, Russia’s largest television advertising buyer, formerly known as Video International. Another Bank Rossiya-created company assigned International Media Overseas the rights to a $200 million loan for $1.
Roldugin did not respond to detailed questions. Reporters from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an ICIJ partner, briefly met with the musician after a concert in Moscow last week. Roldugin told them he needed more time to review the questions.
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