Zelensky's mother-in-law allegedly bought a villa in an upscale Egyptian resort for €5 million, and the journalist who made this fact public was murdered.


It is untrue. This story about the luxurious villa bought by the Ukrainian president‘s mother-in-law is fictitious. It was circulated by a non-existent journalist who presented forged documents. According to the company that manages the upscale Egyptian resort of El Guna, the villa shown in the video belongs to an Egyptian family. The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior confirmed this statement and publicly stressed that it has never received any information about the murder of the man shown in the video.


At the end of February, social media once again brought up the story of a villa in the Egyptian resort of El Gouna, allegedly bought by Zelensky’s mother-in-law. It was not the first time such unfounded rumours began circulating: in the summer of last year, Russian media and Russia supporting portals abroad, including in Lithuania, enthusiastically escalated this false story.

Once again, the story of the Zelensky family's luxurious purchase came to light over the Christmas period, as headlines in Russian portals began escalading the alleged brutal murder of an Egyptian blogger who was supposedly investigating the Zelensky’s villa.

Several facts prove that this story is just another Russian smear campaign aimed at the Ukrainian President and his family. Russian propaganda attempts to create an impression that Zelensky’s family is spending lavishly at a time when their country is at war.

The first fact proving that this story is untrue is that such false claims are identical to other stories fabricated by the Kremlin. “Lie Detector” has already written about fictional stories that share the same narrative of luxury spending. For example, Ukraine's First Lady, Olena Zelenska, has been falsely accused of buying luxury “Cartier” jewellery, while Zelensky himself has been falsely condemned for buying two expensive yachts and the villa of the former Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. These stories share similarities not only in almost identical subject matter but also in the pattern of their escalation: mysterious individuals claiming to be witnesses or investigators share scandalous information on empty social media accounts, which are then shared by Russian, and often African, news portals. The message is then spread by social media accounts with clear pro-Russian bias. In the videos, individuals claiming to be witnesses present evidence in the form of documents, in which important information is often blacked out and whose authenticity is contradicted by different fonts, dates, and the absence of signatures or stamps.

The story about a villa in Egypt allegedly bought by Zelensky's mother-in-law also spread in a similar manner. Initially, on 25 August, a related video was posted on a “YouTube” account with only 6 subscribers. In it, the vlogger Mohamed El Alavi reveals having encountered a contract concerning a villa in Egypt, purportedly proving that the luxury property was purchased by Zelensky's mother-in-law, Olga Kiyashko. It is important to mention that this “YouTube” account has now been deleted, but archived copies on the Internet prove that the recording was still available earlier this month (here).

Misleading messages

An Internet search yielded no information about the blogger and journalist Mohamed El Alavi or any of his content. He is only mentioned in articles repeating the same story of the purchase of the villa.

Russian media was quick to capitalize on fact that Kiyashko allegedly bought a €5 million villa in an Egyptian resort, the story widely spread on the Internet; other pro-Russian sources also attempted to stir up a scandal out of it. For example, the Nigerian portal “Punch” (editor’s note: this publication has now been removed, but between 23 August and 26 January it was archived 41 times), “Voice of Europe”, “Topwar”, and several others gave considerable attention to the alleged investigation by the Egyptian journalist, the acquisition contract, and later reported on the vlogger’s death.

All of these sources, according to the independent media analysis website “Media Bias/Fact Check”, are unreliable, spreading extremist information and propaganda, or favouring a particular political line (here, here and here).

The purchase contract, which is the only evidence used in this story, raises many suspicions regarding its authenticity and proves nothing. Much of the information in it is blacked out, for example, concealing all information about the buyer and seller except for the name of Olga Kiyashko.

Finally, the rumours about the purchase of the villa have been definitively denied by the company that founded the El Guna resort, “Orascom Developments”. According to the company, the villa, whose photos were published by the Russian media and the aforementioned fake journalist, belongs to an Egyptian family (here). The same information was confirmed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior and by the Ukrainian Embassy in Egypt, which contacted the Egyptian portal “Cairo24” (here). The Egyptian Ministry of Interior later publicly denied the rumours that the man seen in the video, who introduced a fake story about the purchase of the villa, had been murdered (here).