Wednesday, 22 May 2024 09:52

Eliseeva and Eduard Khudainatov are not married; however, her two children bear his last name, and he is listed as their father on their birth certificates Featured

An investigation by Paper Trail Media, OCCRP and Important Stories has revealed that the former lover of Kremlin-linked oil oligarch Eduard Khudainatov , who fell under EU sanctions in June 2022, owns four villas in an elite Austrian ski resort.

From 2017 to 2021, Svetlana Eliseeva, a citizen of Russia and Cyprus, bought four properties in the Alpine town of Kitzbühel in the Tyrol region. Judging by the documents, the total value of the property was about 26 million euros.

Documents obtained by OCCRP show that Eliseeva was Khudainatov’s partner for many years, although she denied through her lawyer that they were currently in a relationship.

The newspaper quoted a politician from the local parliament who said that the situation “raises questions regarding the numerous illegal holiday homes and real estate trade in Tyrol” - while Svetlana E. could not be found. The publication wrote that the woman is not listed in the Austrian population register, and “there is nothing about her on the Internet.”

Last month, Paper Trail Media visited Kitzbühel and found the four villas looking empty but well maintained. Neighbors said that the owners did not live there: some saw a housekeeper who spoke Russian and German. On the gate of one of the houses it says "Max Musterman". This is the German equivalent of the generic name John Doe.

The Austrian real estate register indicates that in fact the plot and several other villas belong to Eliseeva. The Russian woman bought the first property in the Alpine town in July 2017. The house overlooks the Streif, one of the most famous ski slopes in the world, visited by tens of thousands of foreigners every year.

As OCCRP and partners discovered last year, just a few minutes’ drive from Eliseeva’s villa is a two-story chalet where locals saw Maria Vorontsova , Vladimir Putin’s eldest daughter.

In July 2018, Eliseeva purchased two more houses in Kitzbühel - on the same plot - worth just under six million euros. In May 2021, she bought a fourth villa for seven million.

Khudainatov did not respond to requests for comment. Sergei Etinger, a German lawyer representing Eliseeva, said that although his client did not deny owning Austrian villas, she was “a purely private person” and “was NOT a partner of Mr. Khudainatov.”

“Our client has no relationship and/or contact with Mr. Khudaynatov,” Etinger said.

“Our client purchased the property solely with her own funds and holds it solely for her own benefit and at her own expense,” he added.

Eliseeva bought real estate using the “golden passport” of Cyprus

A few months before purchasing her first Austrian villa, Eliseeva received an EU passport under the now defunct Cypriot citizenship by investment program.

The so-called golden passport, which Eliseeva was issued in January 2017, allowed her to avoid the checks that non-EU citizens are subjected to in Austria when selling real estate. Austrian regulators require people from countries outside the bloc to obtain approval from local authorities before purchasing property. It is granted only if there is a cultural, social or economic interest in the transaction and the purchase will not harm “national political interests.”

Previously, Eliseeva tried to obtain a Maltese passport. This is known from documents leaked fr