File Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his reputed mistress Alina Kabaeva. Photo courtesy of the Kremlin official website.
"We're targeting banks, oligarchs close to the Putin regime as well as his, I don't know what to call her, his partner," Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told reporters in Ottawa, referring to former gymnast Alina Kabaeva.
Those targeted -- including Kabaeva, the Russian Agricultural Bank, Investtradebank and two fund management firms -- face asset freezes and a ban on entry into Canada.
The European Union has identified Kabaeva as the chairwoman of the board of directors of the National Media Group, a holding company with significant shares in almost all major Russian state media.
Media reports claim that she and the Russian president are romantically involved, which Putin denied when the story was first reported in 2008.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing US officials, Kabaeva and her family have gained a personal fortune thanks to her connection to Putin's inner circle.
The report cites classified US intelligence that names Kabaeva as a beneficiary of Putin's wealth.
Joly said the aim of the sanctions is "to suffocate the Putin regime," and she praised the EU for banning most Russian oil imports on Monday.
Since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,050 individuals and entities from and in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.