Putin apparently poorest Kremlin official, according to state figures

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a relatively modest income of just over US$100,000 for last year - the lowest of all of his staff in the Kremlin, official figures showed Friday.

Putin earned about 3.7 million rubles (S$129,780) and owns three Russian-made cars, a 77 square-metre flat, a garage and a plot of land, according to a declaration of assets published on the Kremlin's website.

For the first time, the document makes no mention of his wife of 30 years Lyudmila, whose divorce from Putin was confirmed earlier this month.

The Russian leader's declared earnings are by far the lowest among Kremlin officials, and below most ministers, many of whom boast fleets of luxury vehicles and multiple houses in European countries.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov once again topped the list, declaring joint family income with his wife of over 478 million rubles, a half dozen homes and luxury cars including a limousine.

Shuvalov came under fire in 2012 after a report alleged he earned vast amounts of money while working in the government through an offshore company that was used to purchase shares in gas giant Gazprom, leading to accusations of conflict of interest, which he denied.

Anti-corruption activists have welcomed the government's initiative to publish earnings of officials, but say that it's often a smokescreen for their undeclared wealth, with Putin alone rumoured to own several ostentatious residences and several planes.

Putin's reported earnings were even lower than last year, when he declared 5.7 million rubles. Among his assets is a garage with a trailer that he says was used in his youth to haul potatoes.

Sergei Donskoi, minister of natural resources and environment, was reported to have the lowest income of the cabinet members with only 3.5 million rubles.

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