Britain on Friday imposed sanctions on 12 members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “entourage”, accusing them of concealing his illegal funds in exchange for influential government positions.

Among them was his ex-wife Ludmila Acharetnaya and him rumored girlfriend Alina Kabayeva38-year-old former Olympic gymnast.

The British government has said it “allegedly has a close personal relationship with Putin”.

“We are exposing and targeting the shadow network that supports Putin’s luxurious lifestyle and amplifying the vices of his immediate entourage,” said Foreign Minister Liz Trass.

“We will continue sanctions against all those who help and support Putin’s aggression until Ukraine wins,” she said.

The United Kingdom has said that the Kremlin leader’s modest government salary and officially declared assets are disputed by reports linking him to a luxury yacht and extensive real estate dubbed the “Putin’s Palace.”

His true wealth lies in a network of family, childhood friends and selected members of the Russian elite who have been appointed to significant roles “in exchange for their unwavering loyalty”.

Among others sanctioned on Friday were Putin’s cousins ​​and Alexander Plekhov, a “close friend” who controls Vital Development Corp.

The UK said it has now imposed sanctions on more than 1,000 individuals and 100 Russian legal entities, including oligarchs worth more than $ 140 billion since Putin’s order invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Kabayev's Russia
In a November 2004 photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to Alina Kabayeva at a Kremlin banquet in Moscow.


This was reported by the Wall Street Journal at the end of last month that US officials have refused to impose sanctions on Kabayeva because the measure was seen as too harsh.

The newspaper refers to unnamed officials The 2016 investigation Russia’s interference in the US presidential election revealed that Kabayeva benefited from Putin’s influence and personal wealth. The U.S. government has suspected Kabayeva of concealing some of the wealth abroad, the Journal reported, adding that U.S. officials also believe she is the mother of at least three of Putin’s children.

However, possible sanctions against Kabayeva were eventually lifted, as the move was seen as “such a personal blow to Mr Putin that it could lead to further escalation of tensions between Russia and the United States,” the magazine reported.

There have been rumors about Kabayeva’s personal relationship with the Russian leader for years. Russian tabloids have dubbed her “Russia’s first mistress” and even “secret first lady.”

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