LONDON (Reuters) - A senior Russian banker has denied identifying the younger daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin as an official at Moscow State University.
Andrey Akimov, deputy chairman of Gazprombank, challenged a Reuters report published today in which he was quoted as identifying Katerina Tikhonova, a deputy vice-rector at the university, as Putin’s daughter. In its report, Reuters confirmed the identity of Tikhonova through two other sources in addition to Akimov. (reut.rs/1PmvR9C)
The news agency stood by its account of Akimov’s remarks.
Tikhonova heads a project at the university called Innopraktika, which assists young scientists. Gazprombank supports the project.
Reuters quoted Akimov as saying about Tikhonova: “I knew it was Putin’s daughter. But of course we took the decision to support MSU’s (Moscow State University’s) projects irrespective of any family connections.”
In a statement issued today in Moscow, Gazprombank said: “Akimov … was surprised and bewildered when he read the report by Reuters news agency in which he is credited with the statement that the head of ‘Innopraktika’, Ms Tikhonova, is supposedly the daughter of the President of the Russian Federation. It is not so.” Gazprombank added: “Akimov made no such statements.”
Reuters stands by its reporting. A Reuters spokeswoman said: “Mr. Akimov spoke to Reuters on the record. Our account of what he said is wholly accurate, and Reuters stands by its story.”
The Reuters story examined the role of Katerina Tikhonova and the rise of a second generation of the elite around the Russian president. It reported that Tikhonova has described herself as the spouse of Kirill Shamalov, who has a stake in a gas and petrochemical company worth about $2 billion and is the son of an old friend of Putin.
Additional reporting from the Moscow newsroom. Edited by Michael Williams.