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Italian Tax Police Seize Property Of Architect Who Designed 'Putin's Palace'.

Italian architect Lanfranco Cirillo (right) has been based in Russia for many years and had been granted Russian citizenship in 2014, his lawyer said. (file photo)

Italian architect Lanfranco Cirillo (right) has been based in Russia for many years and had been granted Russian citizenship in 2014, his lawyer said. (file photo)

Tax police in Italy have seized assets worth more than 141 million euros ($144 million) said to belong to an architect who designed a luxury estate dubbed "Putin's Palace" by opponents of the Russian president.

Tax authorities in Brescia in northern Italy said in a statement on August 3 that they had seized the assets from a "well-known professional," saying he failed to pay taxes from 2013 to 2019. Italian media and Reuters said the assets belonged to Lanfranco Cirillo.

The assets include a helicopter, luxury properties, cash, jewels, and important works of art, according to the tax police. The artworks include paintings by Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Cezanne, according to the Italian newspaper la Reppublica.

WATCH: A video alleging that a secret palace used by Russian President Vladimir Putin comes stuffed with over-the-top amenities like a strip club and an $800 toilet brush has gained tens of millions of views on YouTube. The video was made by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and posted by his supporters after his detention.

A lawyer for Cirillo confirmed that his client's assets had been seized but said he was not guilty of any wrongdoing regarding Italian taxes.

"The architect, who is in Moscow, 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," lawyer Stefano Lojacono said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

Lojacono said Cirillo had been based in Russia for many years and had been granted Russian citizenship in 2014. He has been the architect for palaces and villas for dozens of Russian oligarchs.

But he is best known as the architect who designed a grand estate that was the subject of an investigation by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Campaign (FBK). An online video expose released by the FBK in 2021 claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was its ultimate owner.

Putin has denied any link to the luxury property, which overlooks the exclusive Gelendzhik Bay region of the Black Sea from Cape Idokopas. It was built between 2005 and 2010, and the FBK investigation alleges the luxurious estate cost more than $1 billion to build.

The palace is 17,691 square meters and is said to include a home theater, a lobby with a bar, a hookah bar, a casino, and a swimming pool.

Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Putin and one of Russia's wealthiest oligarchs, said in an interview in January 2021 that he owns the mansion. Rotenberg said he acquired it "several years ago" without offering specifics and said he planned to turn it into an apartment-hotel facility.

With reporting by Reuters and la Reppublica

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