The wife of the head of the Russian Gazprombank Akimov does not leave the USA and Europe

She is not under sanctions and travels using a Cypriot passport.
Origin source
While the head of Gazprombank, Andrei Akimov, is under sanctions from the United States and Great Britain, his wife, 32-year-old model Daria Popova, travels around Europe with a Cypriot passport, attends fashion shows and appears on the covers of glossy magazines in Europe and the United States. Two sources of “Important Stories” said that Akimov and Popova are in an unofficial marriage and they have a daughter.

In Moscow, Popova has apartments in a residential complex on the Golden Mile, a kilometer from the Kremlin. And in 2021, she was given half of the company, which entered into a major deal with state-controlled Sberbank. The company was associated with Akimov and Putin's friends.

Previously, the state banker conducted personal and, as it turned out, not entirely clean business with them: he sold oil and gas enterprises with licenses obtained in questionable ways, and developed development projects worth billions of rubles. All this was financed by the state-controlled Gazprombank.

We learned about the business of Andrei Akimov and Putin’s friends thanks to participation in the global investigation “Secrets of Cyprus” (Cyprus Confidential), based on the leak of documents from Cypriot registrars and consultants. The documents were made available thanks to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German Paper Trail Media. The publication also used data from earlier leaks - the Panama Files and the Pandora Archive.

Akimov and Popova have been together since about 2017. By that time, the head of Gazprombank had separated from his previous spouses.

“At the moment I feel happy and harmonious, I have everything I dreamed of and wanted,” Popova shared with the fashion magazine L’Officiel Baltic in Lithuania in April 2023. She appeared on the cover and told the magazine that since childhood she had dreamed of becoming a model, but circumstances turned out differently - she was building a family, and now “she wants to become perfect.” In 2023, Popova also appeared on the covers of the American Vulkan Fashion Book and the French Malvie.

Popova is from Kuban, in 2007 she worked for several months at the Kolos breeding plant, and in 2014–2015 as an Aeroflot flight attendant. It was not possible to detect any significant income from her at that time. But after 2015, Popova got two apartments (250 sq. m. and 81 sq. m.) in the center of Moscow, in building 17 on Prechistenskaya embankment. This is the premium residential complex Barkli Plaza, a kilometer from the Kremlin - a deluxe house with facades made of precious marble, restaurants, boutiques and a business center where some state-owned companies have settled. The cost of Popova’s apartments in Barkli Plaza can be estimated at 600–700 million rubles (based on the price of similar proposals).

In 2017, the model received a Cypriot passport, which allows her to travel freely around the world. Photos on social networks show Popova in Paris, Rome and Milan. There is a photo where the famous Italian fashion designer Domenico Dolce hugs her.

And in 2021, Popova received half of the Moscow company Manufaqtury. Manufaqtury was originally owned by the developer Imperiyastroy and was created to manage the areas of its large business district. As “Important Stories” found out, the head of Gazprombank Akimov himself, his deputies and Putin’s friends, Gennady Timchenko and Sergei Ivanov, came together in the business of this company.

Ivanov, Akimov's partner

Sergei Ivanov is a former intelligence officer, reserve colonel general, he managed to work as minister of defense, deputy prime minister, secretary of the Security Council and head of the presidential administration. In 2010, Ivanov’s son, also Sergei, became deputy chairman of the board of Gazprombank. According to the stories of friends, Akimov had a good relationship with the Ivanovs, the state banker actually raised Ivanov Jr. as a financier, he worked as his assistant from the age of 24 and learned a lot from him. And later, as “Important Stories” found out, Akimov and his deputies entered the development business. Through offshore and Cypriot companies, they received a stake in Imperiyastroy, the developer of the Poklonka Place business district, five kilometers from the Kremlin.

Poklonka Place is four towers with a height of 13 to 20 floors and a 6-story building, combined into a complex with an area of more than 140 thousand square meters. m with its own park.

The developer of the quarter, the Imperiyastro company, was owned by the Cypriot Caravagio Consultants. Its final co-owners were Akimov, his two deputies and Ivanov Jr. In December 2009, Caravagio reported receiving a loan from Gazprombank for 10 billion rubles.

The Poklonka Place business district was completed by 2014. By that time, the commercial real estate rental market had declined significantly, which was facilitated by international sanctions after the annexation of Crimea and lower oil prices. But state banks did not abandon Poklonka with their attention.

In 2016, Ivanov Jr. went to work as senior vice president at state-controlled Sberbank. Coincidentally, in 2017 the bank rented almost 40 thousand square meters for its structures. m in Poklonka Place, concluding one of the largest deals on the Moscow office market in its entire history. The rent for this new office was then estimated at 840 million rubles per year. And in 2020, the same Sber also concluded the largest deal to lease a flexible office - a coworking space in Poklonka Place: through the company Manufaqtury, it rented almost 5 thousand sq. m. m (although by that time Ivanov Jr. no longer worked there).

Timchenko, Akimov's partner

The Manufaqtury website says that 2.5 billion rubles were invested in it in 2020–2021. Most of this money was invested by the fund of Putin’s managing friends, close to Gennady Timchenko.

As Important Stories found out, Akimov had a long-standing personal business with Timchenko. And those who took part in it subsequently became co-owners of the developer who created Manufaqtury.

In March 2004, a scandal broke out in the Russian government. Minister of Natural Resources Vitaly Artyukhov, just a few hours before his dismissal, issued 62 licenses for subsoil exploration. And this despite the request of the head of government not to sign any more documents. Licenses then went to not only large oil companies, but also to the companies of a little-known entrepreneur close to the minister and his family.

In the history of corruption of high-ranking Russian officials over many years, this was one of the most obvious cases of abuse of official position for personal gain. “It seems to me that the ministry went wild on the last day,” Artyukhov’s successor at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Yuri Trutnev, carefully chose his words. In 2004, he threatened with an internal audit, the prosecutor's office and the revocation of licenses. But time passed, the check did not reveal anything, and the former minister was not injured. The licenses also survived. Why this happened became clear thanks to offshore leaks.

It's all about the right partners: we discovered that shares in some enterprises with scandalous licenses, through a chain of Cypriot and offshore companies, soon went to the head of Gazprombank Akimov and the president's friend Timchenko. And they successfully sold them to state-owned companies and the largest private gas producer - Novatek, co-owned by the same Timchenko.

In general, in 2007–2010, Timchenko, Akimov, a little-known businessman close to the family of the generous minister, and their intermediary earned at least $200 million from the sale of oil and gas enterprises with licenses. Most of the money was provided by the state-controlled Gazprombank: it financed the intermediary in these transactions for $120 million.

Generals, Akimov's partners

According to leaked documents from "Secrets of Cyprus", the same group with the companies of Akimov, Timchenko and Ivanov Jr. (including those that owned the developer of the business district Poklonka Place, which created Manufaqtury) included the offshore companies of three high-ranking state security officials, including the family trust of two former KGB/FSB leaders. Why is there such a concentration of generals and friends of Putin around Akimov?

A person familiar with the presidential circle reminded Important Stories that Akimov was part of a system that worked closely with the intelligence services: from 1987 to 1990, he headed the Soviet Donau Bank in Austria. And the Soviet foreign banks supported, among other things, secret currency transactions and the supply of Western goods and technologies in circumvention of the embargo against socialist countries.

This area was supervised by the KGB and the state security service of the GDR, the Stasi, which had a secret department of commercial coordination (CoCo) in the East German Ministry of Trade. When the German parliament, the Bundestag, investigated the activities of CoCo in the early nineties, the parliamentary report also mentioned Donau Bank, which was a partner in the secret department firms.

Akimov's acquaintances assured that he did not serve in the KGB. And he became friends with Putin and Timchenko in the early 1990s. But one way or another, all three had a common background. In 1990, Timchenko began his career as an oil trader at an enterprise created by order of the KGB. Putin served in the KGB in East Germany and crossed paths with the Stasi. And the manager of Timchenko’s main offshore companies was the former director of the companies of the secret department of CoCo.