Russian Railways ex-head Yakunin calls storage for fur coat a small boxroom 

Russian Railways ex-head Yakunin calls storage for fur coat a small boxroom
Vladimir Yakunin on BBC

The former Head of Russian Railways (RR) also said in an interview with a BBC journalist that he did not consider the London home of his son worth 5 million pounds ($6.3 m) very expensive.

Vladimir Yakunin called information about a huge room for storing fur coats in his estate in the Moscow region village of Akulinino a funny story. In an interview with the host of HARDtalk telecast on BBC, Stephen Sackur, the former Head of RR called it "a small storeroom for fur coats". Inviting the British TV journalist to visit his estate, he added that he would not find "any special furs there".

"Maybe some fur coats from Siberia – and so on, and so on", Yakunin opened up.

The storage for fur coats located in Yakunin’s estate became known in 2013 after the investigation of the Anti-Corruption Foundation. In general, the countryside estate of the former official is a territory of "several dozen acres of forest" with lakes, a huge house with a swimming pool, a garage for 15 cars, a separate box for a Maybach, a guest house, a bath complex, a maid's house, a tennis court and numerous farm buildings.

At the same time, newspaper Newsru.com remins, then Yakunin called the term "storage for fur coats" an "absolute lie", adding that he "never put on fur coats". "My wife is an elegant woman, but she also does not have such a quantity of fur products to create a special storage for them". Moreover, a year after the revelatory investigation Yakunin assured that he had sold the estate, and deposited the money he had earned with a bank.

Усадьба Якунина в Акулинино

Yakunin's estate in Akulinino

Yakunin also commented on the housing of his son in London (he has the citizenship of Great Britain and has long lived in the capital of this country). In his opinion, having a house worth 5 million pounds ($6.3 m), his life does not "differ from how other people live here". Moreover, "it was bought with some credits and all that", Yakunin added.

In the course of the interview he also stressed that wages in RR had decreased by 1.8%, part-time employment had been introduced, which had also affected top managers. "I also wrote an application for holidays without pay. But, of course... I continued to work in the workplace". Yakunin did not specify his salary or savings due to fictitious vacations for top managers.

At the same time the former Head of RR accentuated that in 2015 he "resigned", and was not removed from office. Yakunin strongly denied the information that Navalny's investigation affected his future in Russian Railways. "Oh no, do not make such a hero out of him! He is not so influential, you know, to create problems for anyone", Yakunin said.

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