Brothel in a monastery
Moscow police have discovered a brothel on the premises of a monastery the abbot of which is thought to be President Vladimir Putin's spiritual adviser.
Two women were arrested on suspicion of prostitution after seven rooms were found in a building close to Sretensky Monastery in which sexual services were allegedly offered from about R490 an hour.
Father Tikhon, the monastery's abbot, is said to be a religious counsellor to Putin, who is a Russian Orthodox congregant. There were conflicting reports about the ownership of the brothel, found in one of a chain of mini-hotels called Podushkin.
Life News, a website with close ties to the police and security services, said the building in which the brothel was located had been rented out by the monastery.
But an attendant at the monastery was quoted as saying: "Some time ago we rented premises for our seminary".
"The bordello was found then, when we started to check which rooms had become temporarily ours, and which hadn't. This establishment had been there for a long time; it belongs to someone and has absolutely no connection to us."
A video of the alleged brothel showed harnesses, chains and whips in a basement.
Podushkin's website advertises rooms in the hotel "fitted out for erotic games".
Father Tikhon has played down his connection to Putin but has admitted that they have known each other since before Putin became president in 2000.
Police said they were looking for the organisers of the brothel.