A nonprofit reporting network launched on Monday the Russian Asset Tracker, a database to track the assets of prominent Russians who have links to Vladimir Putin.
It's "the most comprehensive public database of oligarch assets to date," according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which collaborated with 27 media outlets to launch the tracker. The tool is interactive and displays the "vast wealth held outside Russia by oligarchs and key figures close" to the Russian president.
The investigative project uncovered more than 150 assets worth about $17 billion combined, including property, private planes, company stock, yachts, mansions and more. Journalists discovered these assets by combing through land records, corporate registries and offshore leaks.
"Russia under Vladimir Putin has been controlled by a very small group of people, enablers who keep him in power while benefiting from his patronage system at the expense of the Russian people," OCCRP Publisher Drew Sullivan said in a press release.
That system has been under fresh scrutiny since Putin's invasion of Ukraine, as Western governments have sought to freeze Putin and the oligarchs' overseas assets — and prevent them from traveling. The goal is two-pronged: Sanctions act as both a punishment for Russia's ruling class and a cudgel to try to force Putin to back down.
The idea was conceived in February just before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the Guardian, which is part of the project. The project launched with "a list of 35 individuals named last year by the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny as 'key enablers and beneficiaries of the Kremlin's kleptocracy.'"
Just three weeks after the invasion, "27 of those individuals are subject to sanctions in the US and Europe. A further seven have been blacklisted in Canada," the Guardian wrote.
One of the people on that list of 35 is Roman Abramovich, a 55-year-old worth an estimated $13.5 billion. Although he has not been sanctioned by the UK and has denied ties to Putin, Abramovich recently announced that he is selling his Chelsea Football Club, which he acquired in 2003. OCCRP's database shows he has at least $7 billion worth of assets, including a seaside estate in the posh French Riviera, a Bombardier private jet and several properties scattered throughout London.
Others included in the database are businessman Alisher Usmanov, Igor Sechin (CEO of Russian oil giant Rosneft) and Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire who made his fortune in the aluminum business.
The OCCRP has released other revealing exposés in the past, including a damning report about Credit Suisse that detailed clients that included criminals, alleged human rights abusers and parties facing sanctions. The Swiss bank pushed back on their report.