Relatives of Russian oligarchs, beware. Britain is extending its sanctions to include family members who may benefit from their ill-gotten gains. This week, British lawmakers announced sanctions against Polina Kovaleva, stepdaughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Polina Kovaleva’s net worth is estimated to be in the millions.
"Polina has to pack her Louis Vuitton suitcases, say goodbye to her British life and leave the U.K.,” Maria Pevchikh, head of the investigation unit of the Russian Anti-Corruption Foundation, tweeted on March 10.
Stepdaughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Net worth: Over $6 Million
Polina Kovaleva is the unofficial stepdaughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Her mother is Lavrov's mistress, who he has been with since the early 2000s. Kovaleva lives in Kensington, London in a million-dollar apartment she bought with cash.
Mother: Svetlana Polyakova
Education: Imperial College London
In a March 10 Twitter thread, Pevchikh laid out Kovaleva’s relationship to Lavrov and details of her lavish lifestyle, including a London-area apartment she paid £4.4 million (about $5.8 million) in cash for when she was just 21. The apartment is in the affluent London neighborhood of Kensington.
“Should she not be able to explain where she got the £4.4m from, her property must be arrested under the Unexplained Wealth Order procedure," Pevchikh tweeted.
Pevchikh got her wish when British lawmakers included Kovaleva on the list of banks, businesses, and other individuals sanctioned on March 24. Under the sanction, Kovaleva’s assets were frozen, and she is prevented from traveling to and from the U.K., Newsweek reports.
Who is Polina Kovaleva?
Kovaleva is reportedly the daughter of Lavrov’s mistress, Svetlana Polyakova. Lavrov and Polyakova have been together since the early 2000s, and she often accompanies him on official foreign affairs trips, Pevchikh said on her Twitter thread.
“Putin’s cronies often have two families at the same time. Putin himself, while being married to Ludmila Putina, had a second family with former gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Minister of Defense Shoigu had two wives and two sets of children simultaneously. And Lavrov is no different,” Pevchikh tweeted.
Kovaleva is Polyakova’s daughter from a previous marriage. She has reportedly lived in the U.K. for some time. She studied at a private boarding school in Bristol, earned a degree in economics and politics at Loughborough University, and holds a master’s degree from Imperial College London, the Mirror reports.
Kovaleva worked for Russian energy giant Gazprom after college.
After college, Kovaleva when to work in the mergers and acquisitions department of Russian energy company Gazprom, followed by a position at the mining company Glencore, reports the Mirror. The Mirror also reports that Kovaleva shares her million-dollar apartment with a man believed to be her partner.
In her Twitter thread, Pevchikh questioned how Kovaleva could afford to pay cash for her million-dollar apartment when her biological father isn’t “super-rich,” and she doesn’t have an “oligarch husband.”
The thread continues: “She paid cash. No mortgage. £4.4m. Can anyone explain how this is possible? Her only source of money is her unemployed mother, who happens to be Lavrov’s informal wife. This is the textbook example of unexplained wealth. The property can be legally seized right now.”
Kovaleva’s Instagram account was deleted.
If you’re searching Instagram for a glimpse at the glamorous life of the Russian socialite, you won’t find her. Kovaleva’s page, @polina_polyakova13, that Pevchikh shared in her Twitter thread has been deleted.