A Facebook post shared false claims about Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, including the allegation that he owns a $35 million home in Florida.
The April 17 post was shared by Nicolas Tetrault, a former Canadian politician, and features a TikTok video of a screenshot of another social media post.
"The president of Ukraine owns a 35 million dollar home in Florida, and has $1.2 billion in [an] overseas bank account," the post in the TikTok video read. "Zelenskyy owns 15 homes, three private planes and has a monthly income of 11 million dollars."
The post implies Zelenskyy misappropriated Ukrainian aid money to buy the homes and planes.
In a caption with the video, Tetrault echoed the post’s sentiments and also falsely claimed Zelenskyy was the cousin of billionaire philanthropist George Soros — which PolitiFact rated Pants on Fire.
Tetrault’s post has since been deleted, but it’s a claim that still circulates on social media.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The video does not provide proof to back up its claims, and the TikTok account that shared it no longer exists.
The earliest mention of the claim we could find on the internet was from a post on Feb. 23, 2022, on a website called EPrimeFeed. The site appears to only publish posts written by anonymous authors, and the claim was published the day before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The post only cites the Nezygar channel on the messaging app Telegram as the source of the claim and offers no other evidence to corroborate the allegation. A 2018 investigation by the investigative journalism site Proekt found the Nezygar channel was controlled by the Russian government.
Tetrault appeared to provide context in his post by mentioning the Panama Papers and quoting an unnamed source about Zelenskyy’s use of offshore companies.
The Panama Papers were a series of documents made public in 2016 from the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca. The papers detailed how the wealthy and powerful were able to hide their money and circumvent taxes.
However, Zelenskyy was not named in the Panama Papers and the unnamed source Tetrault used was from an investigation done by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, or OCCRP, on the Pandora Papers.
Similar to the Panama Papers but larger in scope, the Pandora Papers were a trove of financial documents made public in 2021 that outlined how wealthy individuals used offshore tax havens and, in some cases, money laundering to hide their assets.
The papers revealed Zelenskyy and several of his allies oversaw several offshore companies that were formed as early as 2012, the OCCRP reported.
The companies were used over the years by people close to Zelenskyy to purchase several expensive properties in London.
The Pandora Papers don’t reveal how much money the offshore companies held, nor were there any mentions of a $35 million home in Florida, private planes or Zelenskyy having a monthly income of $11 million. However, the documents did reveal some of his assets included three offshore companies, property and cars.
An internet search of property records in Florida yielded no results for anything connected to Zelenskyy or the offshore companies named in the Pandora Papers. We did not find Zelenskyy’s name on any deed or mortgage records.
A now-deleted Facebook post shared the claim that Ukraine President Zelenskyy owned a $35 million home in Florida among several other assets.
The claim appears to have originated from a Russian-backed source, and no other corroborating evidence for the claim could be found.
While leaked financial documents showed Zelenskyy owned several offshore companies and other assets like cars and property, they made no mention of a Florida home.
We rate this claim False.