Luxury Watch in Wedding Photos Draws Corruption Accusations for Putin’s Aide

August 6, 2015 Updated: August 7, 2015

The Richard Mille RM 52-01, a limited edition “tourbillon skull” watch that retails for an estimated $620,000, has placed Vladimir Putin’s press spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, in the midst of corruption accusations.

Photographs on social media of newly wed Peskov kissing his bride, former Olympic gold medalist skater Tatyana Navka, on their wedding day on Saturday, Aug. 1, revealed the high-end watch. Opposition leader Alexey Navalny quickly took to Twitter to highlight the issue. Navalny pointed out that the watch is worth more than four times Peskov’s reported salary.

What we see in the photographs from ‘the wedding of the year’ isn’t a simple wedding but a classic example of ‘illegal enrichment.’
— Alexey Navalny, Russian opposition leader, on his blog

“What we see in the photographs from ‘the wedding of the year’ isn’t a simple wedding but a classic example of ‘illegal enrichment,'” Navalny wrote on his blog. “He’s got a watch that’s worth an apartment, but no legal income to buy one.”

Only 21 RM 52-01 watches exist, according to the Richard Mille website. Fifteen are made of titanium, and six were made in red or white gold. The photographs online appear to show a red gold version of the watch.

Peskov told Russian media agency RBC that the watch was a gift from his new wife.

“I’m an Olympic champion and I work a lot, including all summer,” his new wife told the Russian version of Tatler Magazine, Bloomberg L.P. reported. “Before the wedding, I wondered what I could get the man I love. And I found a solution and I bought this great watch.”

A photograph on Peskov’s daughter’s Instagram account appears to show him wearing the watch several months earlier.

The couple married at the RODINA Grand Hotel & SPA, in Sochi, the host town of the 2014 Winter Olympics, last Saturday. They reportedly booked the entire hotel for their guests, and the surrounding hotels and beaches were closed to the public to ensure security.

The photo that caused the controversy initially appeared on the Instagram account of Oleg Mitvol, the council leader of the Green Alliance People’s Party, along with dozens of other wedding photos.

Peskov’s ex-wife Yekaterina told the Russian Tatler Magazine last September that she asked him for a divorce after she found out about his affair with Navka, more than two years ago.