US sanctions affect Israeli business of Viktor Vekselberg

US sanctions affect Israeli business of Viktor Vekselberg
Viktor Vekselberg

The owner of Renova Holding, the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, whose assets are estimated at $13 billion, due to US sanctions will not be able to expand his investment activities in Israel.

This is reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, quoting the executive director of the CNTP investment fund (Columbus Nova Technology Partners) – Viktor Vekselberg's division of Columbus Nova for investments in the Israeli technology sector.

Head of CNTP Yaron Eitan told the media that Vekselberg was pleased with his investments in technology start-ups in Israel and other countries. More recently Eitan had discussed with him the prospects for expanding technological activities. However, now, in connection with the sanctions, these plans of Vekselberg are not destined to be realized.

It is worth noting that in the first half of December 2018, the name of Viktor Vekselberg hit the headlines of the Israeli media in connection with the closure of the startup Fifth Dimension, engaged in defense developments. Haaretz and other Israeli media have directly linked the collapse of a promising startup with the inclusion of one of its main investors, Vekselberg, on the US sanctions list. Vekselberg invested $ 10 million in Fifth Dimension through Columbus Nova Technology Partners (CNTP), which is a quarter of the total investment.

Moreover, the connection with Fifth Dimension of the Russian oligarch from the black list of the United States frightened away from it other potential sponsors – the company in the field of cyber espionage NSO, which before the US sanctions was interested in an alliance with Fifth Dimension.

Two high-ranking retirees of the Ministry of Defense and Mossad, who were on the board of directors of Fifth Dimension, could not save the company. The publication noted that until recently the post of chairman of the board of directors of the startup was held by the former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Beni Ganz, and the former deputy director of the intelligence agency Mossad, Ram Ben-Barak, was the president of the company. However, both are now more focused on their political careers, preparing for the upcoming elections in 2019 for the Israeli parliament (Knesset).

The US authorities included Viktor Vekselberg and Renova on the SDN Sanctions List on April 6, 2018. Assets of individuals and legal entities from the list are subject to blocking in the US jurisdiction, US citizens and companies cannot conduct business with them. In addition, physical persons are prohibited from entering the United States. The US Treasury threatened to introduce secondary sanctions against those conducting transactions in the interests or on behalf of the defendants of the SDN list.

After the imposition of sanctions, Vekselberg began to reduce the size of his shares in the capital of a number of companies. In particular, the shares of Vekselberg in the Swiss companies OC Oerlikon and Schmolz + Bichenbach were reduced. In addition, after the introduction of sanctions, Renova reduced the size of its shares in the capital of the Swiss engineering company Sulzer (from 63.42 to 48.83%), the Russian energy company Hevel (from 51 to 46%) and the largest private heat generating company in Russia T Plus (from 57.1 to 39.59%).

Tags: Oligarchs
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