Wife of Putin’s spokesman faces questions over US tax affairs
The Guardian, UK: Quest-ions have been raised about the US tax affairs of the wife of Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, after records suggested she may have failed to declare her true income to US regulators and not disclosed foreign bank accounts.
Tatiana Navka, a former Olympic ice dancing champion, also appears to have wrongly claimed a potentially beneficial US tax status, according to an investigation by the Guardian.
Court papers suggest she separately built up tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid property taxes on a house she told US authorities she had alr
In 2015, having returned to Russia, she married Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s longtime press secretary and the Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff.
On Wednesday the investigative unit Dossier Center, together with the Guardian, revealed that Navka had accumulated a property portfolio worth at least $10m (£7.7m).
Navka declined to answer specific questions from the Guardian about her US tax affairs. She said: “In your previous newspaper article you didn’t use my answers and commentary, which I sent. Apparently, your newspaper doesn’t strive for objectivity. Consequently I don’t see the point of further answering your questions.
“Your assertions contain a whole series of untrue and inaccurate details. Moreover, there is much personal information, publication of which is prosecutable under Russian, US and UK law.”
Navka moved to the US in the 1990s with her then husband and coach Alexander Zhulin. The couple based themselves in New Jersey and bought several properties there and in neighbouring New York.
In 2004, they purchased a loft apartment in Donald Trump’s “Trump Parc” complex beside Central Park in Manhattan. The following year, they bought a two-bedroom apartment in The Milan, a luxury block on Second Avenue.
Navka, 43, was a permanent US resident from at least 2006 until September 2015, when she notified the Department of Homeland Security she had left for Moscow. During this period she was still obliged to file annual tax returns in the US and to declare her global earnings. That included income from Russian sources.
Records indicate that between 2006 and 2013, Navka and Zhulin paid only $1,168 in federal taxes to the US on a combined income – spanning wages, business profits, rental property revenue and gains from property sales – of $3.4m. While some of the income was taxed in Russia instead, they also reduced their US bills with tax credits and generous write-offs legally available to landlords.
In July 2009, Navka and Zhulin announced that they had separated. In 2010, Zhulin confirmed the split. Their divorce took place that July at Moscow’s Khamovnichesky district court.
Yet tax records appear to suggest they continued to file US tax returns as a married couple for several more years. Married couples in the US may pool their allowances and benefit from some tax breaks that are unavailable to