Italian Police have seized assets worth $144 from Lafranco Cirillo, the architect behind Vladimir Putin’s alleged palace on the Black Sea.
According to Reuters, a helicopter, cash, jewels and important works of art were among the items seized from a “well-known professional” in Brescia, Northern Italy, over tax offences. Newspaper Il Corriere della Sera reports that roughly 150 piece of art were taken, including works by Modigliani and Picasso. Cirillo is also known to own works by Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Giorgio de Chirico and Lucio Fontana.
A lawyer for Cirillo, Stefano Lojacono, confirmed that some of his client’s assets had been seized, but claimed his client had done nothing wrong in regard to Italian taxes. Cirillo is currently in Moscow where he has based himself for many years, after being granted Russian citizenship in 2014.
In an April interview on Italy’s La7 TV channel, Cirillo divulged that he had designed the Black Sea building. He said it was commissioned by a private group and he’d had no dealings with Putin, but added, “It’s madness to think that the president of such an important country would need to build a palace for himself.”
The luxurious seaside estate became the subject of international attention last year, after prominent Putin critic Alexei Navalny released an online video claiming it was built specifically for Russia’s president and he was the property’s owner. Putin has denied any link to the property.
Lojacono went on to say, “[Cirillo] is very disappointed by the fact that having bought some prestigious properties and works of art in Italy, and having provided for his wife and daughter, are used to argue that he faked his move abroad.”
Marco Tolla of the Guardia di Finanza would not confirm the report but told The Art Newspaper: “According to usual practice, if the court issues a guilty verdict [pending a trial] that is deemed to be conclusive, the works of art will be confiscated by the state and ultimately entrusted to Italian museums.”
Header image: © La7 Attualità Youtube