Prince George’s school accepted £2.2m from Putin’s childhood friend

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit The Passage

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Billionaire Russian gas pipe oligarch Arkady Rotenberg donated £2.2million to help fund a “pool complex” at the illustrious Lambrook School. All three of Prince William and Kate’s children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – attend the Berkshire school. Mr Rotenberg, worth a reported £2.9billion, is a close friend of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and has been sanctioned by the British Government.

The pair met during childhood when President Putin was aged just 11 years old.

Mr Rotenberg even used to be the Kremlin chief’s former judo sparring partner.

The 71-year-old oligarch rose to become the chief of the largest gas pipeline constructor in Russia alongside his brother.

However, he has been caught up in the sanctioning of Russian oligarchs close to President Putin – placing scrutiny on the school for accepting his millions.

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In December 2020, prior to the invasion of Ukraine, the UK slapped a personal package of sanctions on Mr Rotenberg for having “financially benefited from Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine”.

During the current invasion, his brother Boris and son Igor have also been hit with British sanctions.

He donated a significant sum to help Lambrook build a brand-new pool complex around 2011.

The school has been forced to respond to the claims about its connection to the businessman, who once owned 30 percent of Russia’s vodka market.

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A spokesperson told the MailOnline: “Lambrook School has always, and will always, fully comply with all appropriate legislation and undertakes strict due diligence for any charitable donation.

“We do not comment on individual donations or donors.

“The Swimming Pool project began in 2011, and any donations towards this project were received at this time.”

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Lambrook, which accepted the money a decade before the royal children enrolled.


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The claim came to light when his ex-wife Natalia, 41, informed the Sun on Sunday that the donation was made when their own two children attended the school.

Natalia said: “We were happy to support this school and give children the new opportunity for swimming.”

Prince William and Kate’s children started at the school following the family’s move to Windsor’s Adelaide Cottage last year.

The three children enrolled at the prestigious £21,000-a-year independent school in September.

The family were said to be seeking a life away from the “fishbowl” of their previous official residence of Kensington Palace in London, in a bid to give their children the “most normal” life possible.

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