Italy’s tax police have seized assets worth over 141 million euros ($144 million) from an architect who designed a luxury estate on the Black Sea in Russia, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The tax police sent a statement earlier on Wednesday saying it had seized the assets from a “well-known professional” in Brescia, a town in northern Italy, citing alleged tax offences. It declined to name the person when contacted by Reuters.
The source said the assets belonged to Lanfranco Cirillo, who designed a grand estate on the Black Sea in Russia that became known as “Putin’s palace” due to claims by a businessman that the property was built for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian president has denied any link to the luxury property. The issue surfaced again early in 2021 when jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny made an online video claiming that Putin was its ultimate owner.
A lawyer for Cirillo did not respond when contacted by Reuters.
In an interview with Italian televison in April, Cirillo said he had designed the building but that it was commissioned by a private group and he had had no dealings with Putin.
“It’s madness to think that the president of such an important country would need to build a palace for himself,” Cirillo said in the interview on Italy’s La7.
($1 = 0.9822 euros)