Roldugin in Palmyra, May 2016
Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin
September 28, 1951
|Occupation||Cellist and businessman|
|Known for||"Vladimir Putin's best friend"|
Sergei Pavlovich Roldugin (Russian: Сергей Павлович Ролдугин, born September 28, 1951 Sakhalin) 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. 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. Roldugin plays the Stuart cello made by Antonio Stradivari in 1732; the instrument cost him $12 million.
Sergei Roldugin is a godfather to Maria Putina, Vladimir Putin's older daughter. He has been friends with the Putin since the late 1970s. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. The money laundering scheme is known as ŪkioLeaks or the Troika Laundromat.
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