Russian activist Navalny launches new attack on Putin with claim of ‘secret mansion’

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.

Google Earth view of the Finnish island where Navalny claims Putin has a “secret dacha”

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.

Aerial picture of Villa Selgen Grab from a video released by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Security refused to allow TV Rain onto the property, but the channel 

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