Russian oligarchs sell their US assets fearing new sanctions

Russian oligarchs sell their US assets fearing new sanctions
Viktor Vekselberg

The US Treasury is working on ‘the Kremlin report’ to be released in February. It is expected that the document will contain information about billionaires from among Putin’s inner circle.

Already in a month, the US may introduce new sanctions against the richest Russians – the US Department of Treasury is preparing the so-called Kremlin report, which will focus on all oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin.

Due to this, several Russian businessmen have already begun to get rid of their US assets, Novaya Gazeta reports. For example, late December, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg closed a deal to sell a large stake in the gold mining company Petropavlovsk.

In addition, Renova Assets (registered in the Bahamas) and Lamesa Holding S.A. (Cyprus) have sold a total of 17.91% of their shares. Petropavlovsk has sold 4.42% more shares to Metkombank registered in Kamensk-Uralsk, whereas Vekselberg’s shares in the company have passed to another offshore company, namely the Cypriot Fincraft Holdings Ltd, the beneficiaries of which are not revealed.

The Renova Holding noted that Vekselberg was not interested in the mechanism for returning capital to Russia, which was developed by the Russian Ministry of Finance. The oligarch himself added that he has “no financial resources on foreign accounts,” and that all money “has been invested in business and are in active work.”

Another Russian billionaire – Leonid Mikhelson – also made sure to take care of his shares before the New Year. December 20, he placed 14.4% stake in the gas processing and petrochemical company Sibura in Gazprombank’s trust. In total, Mr. Mikhelson owns a 48.5% share in the company.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of Alisher Usmanov-owned Megafon has approved the purchase of a 70% stake in Cyprus's Amalior Holdings Limited from another offshore – MGL Mail.ru Equity Limited, also registered in Cyprus – at the expense of company’s funds.

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