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 68)
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] The money laundering scheme is known as ŪkioLeaks[17] or the Troika Laundromat.[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Roldugin's first spouse was Irina Nikitina, President of the Musical Olympus Foundation.[20][21][22][23] His current spouse is Elena Mirtova (opera singer, soprano).[24]


  1. ^ "Sergey Roldugin - Saint Petersburg Music House". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Сергей Ролдугин". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  3. ^ Сурначева, Елизавета (Surnacheva, Elizaveta); Галактионова, Александра (Galaktionova, Alexandra); Сурганова, Елизавета (Surganova, Elizaveta); Пузырев, Денис (Puzyrev, Denis); Полякова, Юлия (Polyakova, Julia); Дзядко, Тимофей (Dzyadko, Timofey); Михайлова, Анастасия (Mikhailova, Anastasia); Баданин, Роман (Badanin, Roman) (29 March 2016). "Информационный вброс: что известно про друга президента Сергея Ролдугина. Шесть фактов о жизни и бизнесе известного музыканта, который, по сведениям Кремля, стоит в центре новой информационной атаки на российского лидера" [Information stuffing: what is known about the friend of the president Sergey Roldugin. Six facts about the life and business of a famous musician who, according to the Kremlin, is at the center of a new information attack on the Russian leader]. RBK (in Russian). Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  4. ^ Kramer, Andrew E.; Higgins, Andrew (5 May 2016). "In Syria, Russia Plays Bach Where ISIS Executed 25". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Аукционный дом удалил информацию о виолончели, купленной Ролдугиным". Радио Свобода (Radio Svoboda). 22 April 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b Luke Harding (3 April 2016). "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 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). 3 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b Harding, Luke (3 April 2016). "Sergei Roldugin, the cellist who holds the key to tracing Putin's hidden fortune". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 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). 3 April 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Anin, Roman; Shmagun, Olesya; Velikovsky, Dmitry (3 April 2016). "The Secret Caretaker - The Panama Papers". OCCRP. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  11. ^ Kroll, Luisa (3 April 2016). "Billionaires, Former Billionaires Outed For Offshore Wealth By The Panama Papers". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  12. ^ Shuster, Simon (4 April 2016). "Meet the Russian Cellist Behind Putin's Alleged Offshore Fortune". Time. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  13. ^ Mirovalev, Mansur (4 April 2016). "Putin's best friend is at the heart of Panama Papers scandal". Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 29 July 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). 28 May 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  15. ^ Крутов, Марк (Krutov, Mark) (4 April 2016). "Деньги Путина на далеких берегах" [Putin's money on distant shores]. Радио Свобода (Radio Svoboda) (in Russian). Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  16. ^ O'Donnell, Tim (4 March 2019). "One of Putin's closest friends was just implicated in a massive money laundering scheme". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  17. ^ Černiauskas, Šarūnas (4 March 2019). "Ūkio bankas – milijardinės pinigų plovimo sistemos centre" [Ūkio bankas is at the center of the billion-dollar money laundering system]. 15min (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  18. ^ Clerix, Kristof (4 March 2019). "België, het doorgeefluik voor 10 miljard euro van 'witwasbank' Ukio Bankas" [Belgium, the channel for 10 billion euros from 'money laundering bank' Ukio Bankas]. Knack (in Dutch). Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  19. ^ Kleinnijenhuis, Jan; Kuijpers, Karlijn (4 March 2019). "Troika laundromat. Bijna een miljard euro stroomde vanuit Litouwen naar Nederland" [Troika laundromat. Nearly a billion euros flowed from Lithuania to the Netherlands]. Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Irina Nikitina, President, Musical Olympus Foundation, Russia". World Public Forum. 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  21. ^ Олимп, Фонд Музыкальный. "About". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  22. ^ "White Nights Bright Days; The Musical Olympus Festival". 26 August 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Musical Olympus Festival Back on the Stage of Carnegie Hall". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Elena Mirtova - Saint Petersburg Music House". Retrieved 29 July 2017.

External links[edit]