Dossier Center: Russia’s new defence minister was bookkeeper to the Wagner Group



Newly appointed Russian Defence Minister Andrey Belousov has been revealed to have managed the accounts of the controversial Wagner mercenary organisation while serving as Vladimir Putin’s economic adviser, according to an investigation published on Tuesday by investigations non-profit Dossier Center.

Dossier Center, which was set up by oligarch turned opposition politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky to track the criminal activity of various people associated with the Kremlin, gained access to the diary of the Wagner Group’s late founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, which detailed meetings with Belousov and his staff.

A Dossier source close to the Defence Ministry confirmed that Belousov oversaw the Wagner accounts while serving as Vladimir Putin’s economic adviser in the Kremlin. The source also said that all Defence Ministry economic policy proposals Putin received went via Belousov, and that the arrangement would continue despite Belousov’s recent appointment to Defence Minister.

Dossier Center also gained access to Belousov’s email archive and discovered that he had attempted to sell a villa in the Tuscan coastal town of Forte dei Marmi in 2018. While the property was put on sale for €660,000, Belousov was apparently prepared to come down by €60,000 for a quick sale, the report said.

Having sold the property, Belousov then deposited over €600,000 into a Maltese bank account, Dossier said, revealing that the bank in question had requested documentation to confirm the legal origin of the money.

Prior to his appointment as defence minister on 13 May, Belousov served as the first deputy prime minister. For the previous four years, Belousov was tasked with balancing the government’s books.

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