Russian oligarch secretly recorded saying Putin is 'very ill with blood cancer,' report says
- A Russian
oligarchwas secretly recorded claiming that Vladimir Putinhas blood cancer, reported New Lines magazine.
- The oligarch, whose identity was withheld for his protection, said he hoped "crazy" Putin would die of cancer.
A Russian oligarch was secretly recorded saying Russian President Vladimir Putin is "very ill with blood cancer," a report says.
A Western venture capitalist taped the conversation in mid-March without the unnamed oligarch's consent, and the recording was obtained by New Lines magazine.
The oligarch claimed that Putin's well-reported back problems are linked to blood cancer and claimed he underwent back surgery in October.
New Lines said it had authenticated the oligarch's voice and identity but chose not to disclose it because it would likely lead to state retaliation.
The secret recording emerges amid ongoing speculation about the Russian leader's health. It has not been independently verified
During his public appearance on Victory Day, Putin appeared to be limping and sat a blanket over his lap. Videos have also emerged showing him tightly gripping a table and appearing to shake uncontrollably.
Russian investigative news outlet Proyekt recently claimed that Putin has thyroid cancer and was visited by a cancer surgeon dozens of times in 4 years.
In the 11-minute recording obtained by New Lines, the unnamed oligarch spoke critically about
"He absolutely ruined Russia's economy, Ukraine's economy, and many other economies — ruined [them] absolutely," the oligarch said. "The problem is with his head. One crazy guy can turn the world upside down."
The magazine said it spoke to sources close to the oligarch to verify his authoritativeness.
The oligarch was once part of a "close circle of 20 to 30 people" with whom Putin met in 2014 in advance of the annexation of Crimea, a former European security chief told the magazine, suggesting the Russian leader once trusted him.
One of the oligarch's associates told the magazine that he is still in a position to provide "concrete information" about the inner workings of Putin's world.
The magazine said that the oligarch currently lives outside of Russia and, in 2021, was listed as one of Russian Forbes' 200 richest businesspeople.
While the rumors about Putin's health are impossible to confirm, they have even reached Russia's security services, according to the magazine.
In March, officers in the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia's main security agency, were sent a memo to dispel rumors about the president's health, Bellingcat investigator Christo Grozev told New Lines.
"According to a source at one of the regional units who saw the memo, this unprecedented instruction had the opposite effect, with most FSB officers suddenly coming to believe that Putin indeed suffers from a serious medical condition," Grozev said.
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