Sergei Roldugin

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Sergei Roldugin

Sergei Roldugin in Palmyra.jpg
Roldugin in Palmyra, May 2016
Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin

(1951-09-28) September 28, 1951 (age 67)
ResidenceSt Petersburg, Russia
OccupationCellist and businessman
Known for"Vladimir Putin's best friend"
Panama Papers
Spouse(s)Irina Nikitina
Elena Mirtova

Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin (Russian: Сергей Павлович Ролдугин, born September 28, 1951 Sakhalin[1][2]) is a Russian cellist and businessman, based in St Petersburg. He is a close friend of Vladimir Putin.

He was awarded the 1980 Prague Spring International Music Festival Competition's 3rd prize. In 1984 Roldugin was appointed the Kirov Opera Theatre Orchestra's principal cellist. He subsequently held a professorship at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he served as the institution's rector from 2002-05. The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra's Guest Conductor, he has been named a People's Artist of Russia.

Since 1990s, Roldugin has been engaged in the oil and media business.[3] He is known for having initiated the renovation of the decayed Alexis Palace as a music school and for having performed at the ruins of Palmyra a month after the site was reconquered from the ISIL.[4] Roldugin plays the Stuart cello made by Antonio Stradivari in 1732; the instrument cost him $12 million.[5]

Sergei Roldugin is a godfather to Maria Putina, Vladimir Putin's older daughter.[6] He has been friends with the Putin since the late 1970s.[7] In March 2016 The Guardian described Roldugin as "Putin's best friend". It was Roldugin who introduced Putin to Lyudmila, his future wife. Roldugin's brother Yevgeny was at KGB training school with Putin.[8]

In connection with the Panama Papers, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project described Roldugin as the "secret caretaker" of Putin's hidden wealth through his participation in transactions with Mossack Fonseca and Dietrich, Baumgartner & Partner, who are Swiss lawyers in Zurich, to various offshore companies including Panama registered International Media Overseas, British Virgin Islands (BVI) registered Sonnette Overseas, Sunbarn Ltd and Sandalwood Continental, and the BVI registered Ove Financial Corp.[6][8][9][10][11][12][13]


Roldugin has maintained close financial ties with the Cyprus-based RCB Bank which is a subsidiary of VTB Bank, Yuri Kovalchuk of Rossiya Bank, Oleg Gordin who owns Sandalwood Continental as the legal representative of Roldugin through Roldugin's sole ownership of International Media Overseas and is a St Petersburg businessman with Rossiya Bank, Aleksander Plekhov who owns Sunbarn Ltd as the legal representative of Roldugin through Roldugin's sole ownership of Sonnette Overseas and is a St Petersburg businessman with Rossiya Bank, Yevgeny Malov who is a partner of Gennady Timchenko and one of the founders of the oil trader Gunvor, the Rotenberg family (Arkady, Igor, and Boris), Suleiman Kerimov, Alexei Mordashov, and other Russian oligarchs.[9][10][14][15]

Established by Mikhail Lesin, Video International (VI) is one of Russia's largest television advertising firms which Roldugin has a large stake through the Cyprus-based Med Media Network which is solely owned by Roldugin's International Media Overseas.[7][10]

In March 2019, Roldugin was implicated in a nearly $9 billion global money laundering scheme allegedly constructed by Sberbank CIB (formerly known as "Troika Dialog"), in which Roldugin received $69 million.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Roldugin's first spouse was Irina Nikitina, President of the Musical Olympus Foundation.[17][18][19][20] His current spouse is Elena Mirtova (opera singer, soprano).[21]


  1. ^ "Sergey Roldugin - Saint Petersburg Music House". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Сергей Ролдугин". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  3. ^ What Do We Know About Sergei Roldugin? (in Russian)
  4. ^ Kramer, Andrew E.; Higgins, Andrew (May 5, 2016). "In Syria, Russia Plays Bach Where ISIS Executed 25". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  5. ^ "Аукционный дом удалил информацию о виолончели, купленной Ролдугиным". Радио Свобода (Radio Svoboda). April 22, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Luke Harding (April 3, 2016). "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin". The Guardian. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Офшоры друга Путина. Главное: Что нужно знать про расследование о миллиардах Сергея Ролдугина" [Offshore friend Putin. The main thing you need to know about the investigation of the billions of Sergei Roldugin]. Meduza (in Russian). April 3, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Harding, Luke (April 3, 2016). "Sergei Roldugin, the cellist who holds the key to tracing Putin's hidden fortune". The Guardian. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Золото партитуры: Почему Сергей Ролдугин, близкий друг Владимира Путина, может считаться не только музыкантом-виртуозом, но и владельцем теневой офшорной империи с активами в миллиарды долларов" [Gold scores: Why Sergey Roldugin, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, can be considered not only a virtuoso musician, but also the owner of a shadowy offshore empire with assets of billions of dollars]. Novaya Gazeta (in Russian). April 3, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Anin, Roman; Shmagun, Olesya; Velikovsky, Dmitry (April 3, 2016). "The Secret Caretaker - The Panama Papers". OCCRP. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  11. ^ Kroll, Luisa (April 3, 2016). "Billionaires, Former Billionaires Outed For Offshore Wealth By The Panama Papers". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Shuster, Simon (April 4, 2016). "Meet the Russian Cellist Behind Putin's Alleged Offshore Fortune". Time. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  13. ^ Mirovalev, Mansur (April 4, 2016). "Putin's best friend is at the heart of Panama Papers scandal". Archived from the original on December 26, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017 – via Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ "Виртуозная спекуляция. Продолжение «Панамского досье»: Как офшоры заработали сотни миллионов рублей на торговле акциями банка «Россия», а государство — потеряло миллиарды" [Virtuoso speculation. Continuation of the “Panama dossier”: How offshore companies earned hundreds of millions of rubles on trading in shares of the bank “Russia”, and the state lost billions]. Novaya Gazeta (in Russian). May 28, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  15. ^ Крутов, Марк (Krutov, Mark) (April 4, 2016). "Деньги Путина на далеких берегах" [Putin's money on distant shores]. Радио Свобода (Radio Svoboda) (in Russian). Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  16. ^ "One of Putin's closest friends was just implicated in a massive money laundering scheme". March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Irina Nikitina, President, Musical Olympus Foundation, Russia". World Public Forum. November 29, 2012. Archived from the original on April 11, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  18. ^ Олимп, Фонд Музыкальный. "About". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  19. ^ "White Nights Bright Days; The Musical Olympus Festival". 26 August 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Musical Olympus Festival Back on the Stage of Carnegie Hall". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Elena Mirtova - Saint Petersburg Music House". Retrieved 29 July 2017.

External links[edit]