In an exclusive report The Guardian revealed that a charity run by Prince Charles received donations from an offshore company that funneled vast amounts of money from Russia in a scheme that is under investigation by prosecutors.
According to the investigation the money included cash that can be linked to some of the most notorious frauds committed during Vladimir Putin’s presidency.
It is estimated that $4.6bn was sent to Europe and the US from a Russian-operated network of 70 offshore companies with accounts in Lithuania.
The cash was then used legally to pay for private jets, custom-built yachts, luxury properties, holidays, football tickets and fees at top English private schools.
The Russian-operated network kept money flowing through the pipeline for more than eight years, starting in 2004.
The details have emerged from 1.3m banking transactions obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Lithuanian website 15min.lt.
The files highlight how money flowed through the network in a way that kept the sources of funds unclear and focus on Troika Dialog, a leading Russian investment bank now merged with the country’s biggest high street bank.
Troika’s overall boss at the time was Ruben Vardanyan, an Armenian financier with close ties to Putin, a host of international celebrities and members of the British royal family. Two years ago he was listed as the 99th richest Russian by Forbes magazine. .
In 2009, 2010 and 2011, three transfers from Vardanyan totalling $200,000 went to the Prince’s Charities Foundation, a fundraising vehicle for Prince Charles. The money came from a British Virgin Islands shell company, Quantus Division Ltd.
A key component of the scheme using Troika companies was a Lithuanian bank, Ukio, which was shut down by regulators in February 2013 after being declared insolvent.
Via The Guardian