Russian police seize $1.7 mln from protest It Girl
MOSCOW—A glamorous Russian TV host is paying an expensive price for becoming an unlikely face of the anti-Putin protest. When investigators raided her Moscow apartment, they confiscated $1.7 million she had stashed in envelopes.
A spokesman for the investigators, Vladimir Markin, said they found more than 1 million euros ($1.25 million) and $480,000 in cash during Monday's raid on Ksenia Sobchak's apartment -- one of several raids on protest leaders' homes.
Markin said they will try to determine if Sobchak paid taxes on the money, and also look into what she planned to do with it, which was in more than 100 envelopes.
Sobchak, a socialite, TV presenter and restaurant owner, insists that she had done nothing wrong and was keeping her savings at home because she doesn't trust banks. She said on Twitter that her annual income exceeds $2 million.
"I never thought that we would slide back to such repressions," tweeted Sobchak, who is described by some as Russia's Paris Hilton equivalent.
While it's not uncommon for wealthy Russians to keep large amounts of cash at home, authorities are likely to use her wealth to illustrate their depiction of the opposition as a bunch of spoiled rich kids at odds with the majority of Russia's population.
Sobchak -- the only daughter of St. Petersburg's late mayor, a mentor to President Vladimir Putin in the 1990s -- had been spared reprisals until Monday's raid.
She said that the investigator in charge of searching her apartment told her she had made a mistake in mixing up with "bad company" and that she could have avoided any trouble by marrying an officer in the secret police.
Sobchak was questioned for several hours at the Investigative Committee on Tuesday, which prevented her from attending a huge opposition rally.
She tweeted afterward that investigators had seized her passport, effectively barring her from leaving the country even though she has not been charged with any crime.