Exposing the Truth: Zelensky Wife’s Suspected $4.8 Million Bugatti Purchase

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There have been several difficulties facing Ukraine’s political system, particularly in light of the war with Russia that continues. False reports that Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, bought a $4.8 million Bugatti Tourbillon have added a latest twist to the story. This claim is just another example of misinformation intended to undermine the credibility of the Ukrainian government, and it has gone viral on social media. This article explores this claim’s history, the evidence that refutes it, and the wider effects of these kinds of misinformation efforts.

zelensky with his wife

Source of the Allegation for Zelensky’s wife

Verité Cachée, a website in French, is where the rumour regarding Olena Zelenska’s purported purchase of a luxury automobile first surfaced (Hidden Truth). The website released an article titled “Olena Zelenska became the first owner of the all-new Bugatti Tourbillon,” which stated that the Zelenskyys were given a private presentation of the car by Bugatti while they were in France recently for the 75th anniversary celebrations of the D-Day Normandy landings. According to the article, Zelenska was so taken by the automobile that she ordered one of the first 250 units, which would have cost 4.5 million euros ($4.8 million), to be produced.

Deepfake Videos and Phishing Invoices

A video apparently featuring Jacques Bertin, a staff member of the Bugatti dealership in Paris, verifying the purchase supported the claim. Other dubious websites and X user ‘Aussie Cossack,’ a well-known YouTuber and pundit supporting Putin, spread the word about the film. But fact-checkers saw multiple red lights in this story very soon.

zelensky's wife

In an interview with X, Kyle Glen of the Centre for Information Resilience, a group that fights misinformation, said, “The video is obviously AI-generated but that’s not the best thing about this ludicrous claim.” It was determined that the video was a deepfake, which is a digitally modified clip produced by artificial intelligence that purports to show someone talking or acting in a way that they never did. This advanced technology has the ability to be very convincing, which makes it an effective instrument for disseminating misleading information.

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Furthermore, it was discovered after careful examination that the purported invoice for the automobile purchase was fake. Several discrepancies in the invoice were discovered by fact-checkers, including obsolete visuals, erroneous pricing, and inadequate explanations. The disputed Bugatti dealership angrily denied ever having any such transaction, claiming they were the targets of a misinformation campaign and had already filed a lawsuit against the people putting out the incorrect information.

Background of Disinformation Campaigns in History

The first family of Ukraine has previously been the subject of false accusations. Social media was ablaze in December 2022 with rumours that Olena Zelenska had spent $42,500 on an ostentatious shopping spree while in Paris. Later, a Newsweek investigation disproved these stories and showed them to be untrue. Other accusations, including those that the first lady had bought a private island and that President Zelenskyy had accumulated a property portfolio spanning the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France, have also been completely debunked.

Verité Cachée’s Function and Russian Influence

The French website Verité Cachée, which first broke the story of the Bugatti acquisition, appears to have been around for a very brief time. The website was just made on June 22, 2024, according to the Ukrainian Centre for Countering Disinformation, and it is primarily made up of pro-Russian content concerning the conflict in Ukraine. The timing and substance of the website strongly imply that it was created with the express purpose of spreading misinformation.

The Russian government’s involvement in this effort is further evidenced by the engagement of ‘Aussie Cossack,’ whose true name is Simeon Boikov. Boikov is a well-known Kremlin propagandist who often disseminates falsehoods that support Russia. The Verité Cachée website’s operators were so irresponsible, according to the Centre for Information Resilience, that they failed to even delete instructions.

Importance of Media Literacy and Fact-Checking

The need of media literacy and fact-checking has increased in the era of digital communication. Despite being effective vehicles for communication, social media sites can serve as havens for false and misleading information. Users must critically assess the material they encounter, particularly if it contains spectacular assertions without supporting evidence.

In this context, fact-checking organisations are essential. They contribute to preserving the integrity of public debate and guaranteeing that citizens are provided with correct information by thoroughly examining and refuting misleading assertions. On the front lines of this conflict, groups like the Ukrainian Centre for Countering Disinformation and the Centre for Information Resilience are putting in endless effort to uncover and refute false narratives.

Zelenskyy’s wife did not spend $4 million on a Bugatti

Conclusion

A masterful disinformation effort may be seen in the fabrication that Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, paid $4.8 million for a Bugatti Tourbillon. This claim, which surfaced on a questionable French website and was further inflated by deepfake films created by AI, has been extensively refuted by fact-checkers. Such initiatives are a part of a larger attempt to erode international support for Ukraine and erode confidence in its leadership.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on publicly available sources and may not be 100% accurate.

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