Putin’s ex-wife’s loan company sees record profits amid Russia’s full-scale invasion
Putin's ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya (surname of her second husband) (Photo:ТАРС / Telegram)
Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, the former wife of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, has earned nearly a million dollars preying on the debts of average Russians, the Russian independent Mozhem Obyasnit ('We can explain') project claimed on Telegram on April 10.
According to the project, CarMoney, a microloan company owned by Ocheretnaya that offers loans using automobiles as collateral, increased its profits by RUB 140 million ($1.7 million) during the past year of full-scale war — an increase of net profits of 66%. In total, the company’s revenue reached a record RUB 391.3 million ($4.7 million) in 2022. This increase comes amid an economic downturn faced by Russia due to sanctions and foreign divestment spurred by its full-scale invasion.
Ocheretnaya personally earned RUB 58 million ($700,000) from CarMoney in 2022, according to financial statements. Payments were made through the company’s owner, Cypriot offshore company CarMoney CY LTD. This company was controlled by the Meridian company, 99% of which is owned by Putin’s ex-wife.
Two days before the new year, Ocheretnaya’s offshore company ceased to be CarMoney’s owner. The company went under Russian jurisdiction, with Smart Tech Group LLC becoming its new owner. This allow the company to avoid sanctions from the European Union placed on Ocheretnaya herself.
However, Mozhem Obyasnit alleges that Ocheretnaya retains control of the company, as the CEO of Smart Tech Group LLC is Ocheretnaya’s long-time financial partner, Anton Zinoviev. Together with Ocheretnaya, he owns the Zaprosto smartphone rental business. In addition, the CarMoney office is still based in the Volkonsky House in central Moscow — the building is owned by Ocheretnaya herself and her current husband, Artur Ocheretny.
According to journalists, the CarMoney company was founded back in 2010, but it saw little development prior to Ocheretnaya’s offshore company acquiring the business in 2017.
By H1 2022, CarMoney ranked fifth in terms of profit among microfinance organizations that disclosed their financials, and is the eighth largest firm by portfolio in Russia’s microloan sector.
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