One of Putin's closest friends built him a $3.2 million fishing villa in Finland, then had to scrap it when the Russian leader showed up and wasn't keen on fishing in the country: report
- A $3.2 million fishing villa built for Vladimir Putin sits unused in Finland, The Insider reported.
- The luxury home has three floors, a wine cellar, a sauna, and an elevator, but was never completed.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has a multimillion-dollar fishing villa waiting for him in Finland, but he'll probably never use it.
The abandoned holiday home is on the coast of Lake Saimaa in southeast Finland and was built for Putin by a close friend at the cost of around $3.2 million, according to the Russian independent outlet The Insider — which has no affiliation to Insider.
The three-story villa boasts an elevator, a wine cellar, an underground garage, a sauna, a personal swimming pool, a billiard room, an office, and eight toilets, The Insider reported, citing a master plan of the house.
But it was never completed, according to the outlet's reporter, Sergey Kanev.
A video published on Thursday showed Kanev entering the empty house through an open door.
Inside, he found scaffolding, stacks of building materials, tiles, a ladder, cables, refrigerators, and an uninstalled bathtub.
"Don't touch these boxes without my approval!" a message in Russian on a cardboard box read.
Construction was rife with issues, with building crews needing to be regularly replaced because they kept leaving over their wages and working conditions, The Insider reported. Some Finnish workers also refused to work on the house, per the outlet.
The villa was funded by Viktor Khmarin, an old classmate of Putin's at Leningrad State University who now lobbies for the Russian leader, per The Insider. They went to dances together in college and were wrestling buddies, the outlet added.
Khmarin had built the Finnish cottage in a bid to get Putin to spend more time with him, according to The Insider.
The lobbyist paid around $541,000 for the main building, $216,000 for a security house, $432,000 for building materials, and additional costs for wooden bridges, paths, a fishing house, and other facilities, per The Insider.
It's unclear exactly when construction occurred, but it was before July 2017, according to The Insider.
That was when Putin arrived in the nearby city of Savonlinna, where he met Finland's President Sauli Niinistö.
During Putin's meeting, an aide for Khmarin arrived at the villa and told construction workers to stop, saying that Putin was no longer interested in fishing in Finland, according to The Insider, which cited a source in the Russian security services.
Khmarin later wrote off the house as a loss after he couldn't find a buyer, per the outlet.
The reported location of Khmarin's fishing villa puts it close to the Villa Segren, another property in the Gulf of Finland that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny claimed was used by Putin as a holiday retreat.
Drone footage posted by Navalny in 2017 appears to show a pier and helipad on the mansion's grounds.
The Kremlin's press department did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours.
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