According to old German files, the Russian PM abused his wife and 'had numerous sexual affairs' when he was a high-ranking KGB officer
Russian PM Vladimir Putin was branded a wife-beating love cheat in intelligence files unearthed by a spy expert. The former KGB boss allegedly had a string of flings when he worked in the German city of Dresden.
The documents from the archive of the BND, Germany's spy agency, paint a dark picture of the Russian prime minister, who plans to return to the presidency next year.
Spy vs spy: According to German spy Balcony, the then KGB spy Putin cheated several times on his wife Ludmilla, adding substance to speculation that Putin left behind an illegitimate child in Germany. File pic/getty images
Gathering information through the work of an agent posing as an interpreter for Ludmilla Putina, Putin's wife, the BND heard that the then youthful 33-year-old spy chief was a "wife beater and a philanderer" during his stint in the German city from 1985 to 1990.
The information surfaced in a story run by the newspaper Berliner Zeitung based on documents found by Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, a respected BND expert who has published books and papers on the agency.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian prime minister, dismissed the allegations in the documents, saying that the "stories were complete nonsense."
In a coup for the German intelligence services the agent code-named Balcony owing, apparently, to her large breast size gained the confidence of Putina and became something of an agony aunt to her.
In a series of meetings with the BND spy at the Putins' house Putina, angered by her treatment at the hands of her husband, claimed to be the victim of a man prone to both violence and extramarital affairs.
The allegations of philandering added substance to long-standing speculation that when the Putins left East Germany in 1990 following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Vladimir left behind an illegitimate child.
By then the BND, fearful that Balcony's cover might be blown, had withdrawn her back to West Germany where she retired from the service.
Dieter Arndt, a BND spokesman, refused to discuss the revelations contained in the documents.
Putin surges ahead in 'Most Powerful list' Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was listed by Forbes magazine as the second-most powerful man in the world. In 2010, Putin ranked number four on the Forbes list of most powerful people. US President Barack Obama was ranked first on the list followed by Putin and later by Chinese President Hu Jintao.