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

3 July 2024
What was claimed

The Ukrainian president’s wife, Olena Zelenska, has purchased a brand new Bugatti for $4 million.

Our verdict

There is no evidence this is true. The car dealership it was supposedly purchased from has vehemently denied reports.

Posts falsely claiming that Olena Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has recently bought a Bugatti for $4 million have been shared extremely widely on social media. 

We’ve seen versions of the claim, some shared thousands of times, on Threads, Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). 

Most of the posts we’ve come across make some suggestion that the luxury car was bought with “aid money” or was funded by British taxpayers, implying that funds donated to Ukraine’s war effort have been misappropriated by the Ukrainian leader. 

Several posts also include what appears to be a picture of an invoice to “Mrs Olena. Zelenska” for a Bugatti Tourbillon from ‘Bugatti Paris’ with a “production date” of January 2026. 

While the apparent invoice doesn’t include a currency, the total listed at the bottom is 4.5 million. While some of the posts claim this amount is in dollars, others suggest it is in euros.

But as the BBC and Forbes have written, these claims are false and appear to be the result of a Russian disinformation campaign targeting the upcoming US election. 

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Where does the claim come from?

The claim about Ms Zelenska purchasing the car appears to have been first shared by an obscure French website called Veritée Caché France (Hidden Truth France). 

The article, which we translated using Google, claims that while on a visit to France last month for D-Day commemorations, the Zelenskyys attended a preview held by Bugatti of the new car. 

“Olena Zelenska was impressed by the new car and placed an order, becoming the owner of the first of 250 cars planned for production,” the website says.

It then claims: “Journalists managed to get a copy of the invoice for the new car of the Ukrainian president's wife.” 

The article also shows a supposed video of what is claimed to be a car dealer talking about the sale.

While Veritée Caché presents as a large website with many supposed news articles about current affairs, internet archive the Wayback Machine only has archived versions of the website since 25 June

Claim denied by car dealership

The car dealership where Ms Zelenska supposedly purchased the vehicle has also vehemently denied the claim, saying it had been the “victim of several criminal offences”. 

It added: “The Car Lovers Group strongly denies both the existence of this transaction, and consequently, the existence of this invoice.” 

It went on to point out several inconsistencies with the supposed invoice, saying the price listed was wrong, the descriptions are “inaccurate and inconsistent” and the graphics used “outdated”. 

The statement also said the dealership had taken legal action, describing the claim as a “disinformation campaign”. 

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine we’ve fact checked a number of false allegations made about the country’s president, including a claim that he was filming videos in front of a green screen and a deepfake video of him appearing to belly dance at a party. 

As we have seen in this example, false claims like these based on dubious sources can spread extremely quickly on social media and undermine confidence in political leaders. 

For tips on how to verify images before you share them, read our guide.

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