Marlborough Express

Putin’s ‘goddaughte­r’ flees Russia to avoid police raid


A Russian socialite rumoured to be President Vladimir Putin’s goddaughte­r has evaded arrest by fleeing Russia after police raided her luxury Moscow home, state media said.

Ksenia Sobchak, a former reality show presenter who unexpected­ly stood for president in 2018, was widely seen as untouchabl­e due to her family’s ties to Putin. Tass, the state news agency, said police had tried to detain Sobchak, 40, but she had tricked them by buying flights to Turkey and Dubai and then travelled to Lithuania via Belarus. It is unclear what she is charged with and Sobchak has not commented.

The raid on her home in the elite Rublyovka district came a day after Kirill Sukhanov, commercial director at Sobchak’s Ostorozhno Media website, was detained on suspicion of extortion. Sobchak alleged that his arrest was an attempt to put pressure on the website, which has published articles critical of the war in Ukraine.

Some reports suggested Sobchak had been charged with extortion. However, she was also under investigat­ion over an online video that alleged the theft of state funds intended for a prestigiou­s film festival in Moscow. Officials said the accusation­s were false and accused her of spreading fake news, an offence punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Sobchak is the daughter of

Anatoly Sobchak, a former mayor of St Petersburg. Her father, who died in 2000, gave Putin his break in politics when he appointed him as his deputy in the early 1990s.

Putin has described him as a ‘‘friend and mentor’’. Her mother is Lyudmila Narusova, a senator in the upper house of Russia’s Parliament.

Sobchak, a former Playboy pinup, came to national prominence in the early 2000s when she hosted Dom-2 (House 2), the Russian version of Big Brother. – The Times

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand