Putin’s judo sparring partner and powerful ally has ‘fled Russia’

Photo by Vasily Anisimov (L) Vladimir Putin taking part in a judo class.

Russian businessman and billionaire Vasily Anisimov (L) with his judo artist Vladimir Putin (Image: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin’s billionaire judo sparring partner Vasily Anisimov has reportedly left Russia for good, according to documents.

Anisimov, 71, whose wealth ranges from vodka and aluminum to metals and real estate, now says he lives in Switzerland, Forbes reported.

On June 2, Anisimov reportedly submitted a notification to a UK government agency database that he had been granted Croatian citizenship.

According to the commercial register, he is a co-owner of the British company Degevol UK LTD.

The main activity of the company is “business consulting”, and according to the register, Anisimov owns between 50% and 75% of it together with businessman Yakov Klebanov.

He submitted another form on Sept. 26 to change his primary residence to Switzerland, Forbes said.

The billionaire has made his fortune in everything from coal to vodka (Image: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

The billionaire has made his fortune in everything from coal to vodka (Image: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Russian billionaire and Putin's close ally Vasily Anisimov, 71, received a Croatian passport. Pictured with Vladimir Putin.

Vasily Anisimov has reportedly received a Croatian passport (Image: Social Media/EAST2WEST NEWS)

Anisimov served as president of the Judo Federation of Russia for 12 years until he resigned in September for family reasons, Russian state media reported.

Sergei Soloveichik, the 57-year-old head of the European Judo Union, took over.

Soloveichik told Russia’s TASS news agency: “I would like to thank Vasily Vasilyevich Anisimov for all the 12 years that he has been at the helm of our federation, treating him as a wise comrade, friend and colleague to every athlete, coach, federation employee.” .

“During his tenure, the federation has reached great heights, particularly in the Olympic movement.”

Putin awarded Anisimov an “Order of Merit for the Fatherland,” a prestigious state award, as recently as October.

He received the medal for his “contribution to the development of physical culture and popularization of national sports”.

Russian billionaire and Putin's close ally Vasily Anisimov, 71, received a Croatian passport.

Anisimov has ties to another powerful Putin ally (Image: Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant/east)

The father of four made his fortune mostly from aluminum in the 1990s, having briefly owned the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant the previous decade.

The former owner of aluminum producer OAO Sual has ties to billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, a longtime friend of Putin who was part of US sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea.

Anisimov has not spoken publicly about the alleged move.

But he’s not the only one who packed his bags and left Russia.

Yuri Milner, one of Russia’s 15 richest people, left the country in 2014 and permanently renounced his citizenship this summer.

Ruben Vardanyan, former CEO and shareholder of investment bank Troika Dialog, renounced his Russian citizenship in September.

Oligarch Leonid Nevzlin has renounced his citizenship for one simple reason, he told CNN in April.

“I do not accept this citizenship, my Russian citizenship, when the fascist Putin is at the helm,” he said.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/12/02/putins-judo-sparring-partner-and-powerful-ally-has-fled-russia-17869643/ Putin's judo sparring partner and powerful ally has 'fled Russia'

Justin Scacco

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