One of Vladimir Putin’s closest friends said on Thursday he believed Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States and that Western leaders were no match for the Russian president.
Sergei Roldugin, a childhood friend of Putin’s and godfather to his eldest daughter, made international headlines earlier this year after his name featured in the leaked Panama Papers as the owner of a sprawling network of offshore accounts.
Some Western media said the papers suggested Roldugin, 64, was looking after Putin’s money. Putin called such reports “a provocation” and said Roldugin, a famous cellist, had done nothing wrong and spent the money he earned from business on buying expensive musical instruments.
Speaking to reporters in the Kremlin on Thursday before Putin bestowed a state award on him, Roldugin said:
“I know who will win in America. You may check it later. Trump will win.” He went on to say that politicians changed their behavior once they were in power.