Secret stake of ex-Russian Chief of Staff in US company disclosed
In 2014, the former Head of the Presidential Administration of Russia invested $1.25 million in company American Ethane, receiving for this 2.5% of the company and the position of an independent director. In 2017, the company entered into a deal to supply ethane to China worth $26 billion.
The First Head of Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Administration, Alexander Voloshin owns a stake in company American Ethane, which in 2017 landed a deal to supply ethane to China for $26 billion, reports The Guardian. The newspaper has conducted a joint investigation with Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Dossier project.
According to The Guardian, in 2014 Voloshin invested $1.25 million in American Ethane, having received for this a 2.5% stake in the company and the position of an independent director. The authors of the investigation argue that now his share can be worth "tens of millions of dollars."
In November 2017, the company signed an agreement to supply liquefied ethane to China for $26 billion. The deal took place during a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The document was signed by the representatives of two countries.
The investigation of The Guardian claims the main beneficiaries of this deal "live and work in Moscow." It is reported that the consortium of investors of American Ethane also included Roman Abramovich.
The authors of the inquiry established that "a group of wealthy Russians" was going to invest in the US energy market. The group allegedly included former State Duma deputy Mikhail Yuryev, Andrey Kunatbayev, and Konstantin Nikolayev. The material does not specify who the last two are. Yuryev's plans to invest $2 billion in exploration and processing of offshore gas and oil were reported by Bloomberg in 2013.
The Guardian informs that the plans of Yuryev, Kunatbayev and Nikolayev have failed, and they decided to invest in ethane. Yuryev turned to Voloshin, and the latter - to Abramovich, who allocated $50 billion. Thus, Yuryev, Kunatbayev, Nikolayev, Voloshin, and Abramovich became co-investors in American Ethane.
The agreement on Abramovich's participation in the project was reached a few weeks before the annexation of the Crimea. After this, and also due to sanctions, Abramovich declined to participate. The Guardian remarks that it is not known whether the US Presidential Administration knew there were people in the company who had connections with the Kremlin.
The Head of American Ethane, John Houghtaling, stated that "the relevant US authorities" and potential investors would be notified about the company's ties to Russia. The authors of the investigation say that Houghtaling is married to a Russian woman.
The website of American Ethane reads the Board of Directors of the company includes Houghtaling, Kunatbayev, Nikolayev, James Glickenhaus, and Jim Collingsworth. Voloshin is not featured among the directors.