Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has been linked to ownership of a villa complex on a scenic island near the Finnish border where a Soviet version of Sherlock Holmes was filmed, according to two investigations.
It is claimed in a YouTube video, which got more than 1.8 million views in 24 hours, that Mr Putin is the owner of the Sellgren Villa on Lodochny Island in the Bay of Vyborg, a red-brick home built in 1913 and recently expanded, according to separate investigations by the independent online channel TV Rain and opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
A drone flyover of the expansive property by Mr Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation showed a new 1,500-square-metre wing on the villa, a helipad, a pier, a guest house built in the same style, and a large house and garage, presumably for staff.
The villa is not mentioned in the president’s 2016 income and property declaration, which said he owns a 1,500-square-metre land plot, two cramped flats, three Soviet-era cars and a small cargo trailer. Mr Putin has previously been tied to a palace on the Black Sea.
Mr Navalny called on supporters to demand he be allowed into next year’s presidential election despite a controversial embezzlement conviction that the authorities said would bar him from running.
The villa was designed by well-known Finnish architect Uno Ullberg and served as the home of German spy Von Bork in a Soviet-era Sherlock Holmes film. Lodochny Island was part of the national forest reserves until it was rezoned for the construction of a tourist base in 2012.
The two investigations claim to have now linked the property, where Google Earth imagery showed construction began in 2011-13, to several longtime friends of Mr Putin.