Photos of 'Rotenberg Palaces' Hit the Web

July 8, 2014 — 19:42

Prominent whistleblower Alexei Navalny published photos Tuesday of a posh pair of matching mansions on the outskirts of Moscow, allegedly owned by Kremlin-linked tycoons the Rotenberg brothers.

Pictures posted on Navalny's blog reveal two massive, symmetrical mansions shrouded in gardens and surrounded by a concrete fence.

Aerial photos of the estates, located in the luxurious Zhukovka village, were credited to the "flight squad" of Navalny's NGO Anti-Corruption Foundation.

The blogger also published documentation from the federal real estate roster allegedly linking the property to Arkady and Boris Rotenberg.

The documents list the mansion sizes at 7,255 and 7,184 square meters, which — according to Navalny — tower over the estates of billionaires Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg, whose homes measure 557 and 837 square meters, respectively.

The mansions likewise dwarf that of deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who lived in a 536 square meter home, according to Navalny.

The photos' authenticity and supporting documentation could not be immediately verified. The Rotenbergs kept silent on the issue; their SMP Bank redirected all inquiries to their construction company Stroigazmontazh, which had not returned a request for comment by the time of publication.

Arkady Rotenberg, 62, has an estimated net worth of $4 billion, according to a list published by Forbes Russia in April. The same list estimated his 57-year-old brother's net worth to be $1.7 billion.

The magazine referred to them as Russia's "Kings of State Tenders," with 217 billion rubles ($6.3 billion) in state contracts having been awarded between the two in 2013, mostly in construction.
The brothers are longtime affiliates of President Vladimir Putin — the three studied martial arts together in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Rotenbergs have been accused by members of the Russian opposition of having built their business success on connections, a charge they have staunchly denied.

The duo were added to a U.S. sanctions list in March over their alleged involvement in Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Those included on the list had their U.S. assets frozen, and U.S. citizens were generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

Contact the author at a.eremenko@imedia.ru