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Another Putin Oligarch Dumps His Shares Ahead Of Sanctions

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Last week we discovered that Gazprom's Chairman Viktor Zubkov sold his entire stake in the company days before the Crimean invasion (and subsequent sanctions and asset freezes). Today, on the heels of the latest round of US sanctions against Russia's so-called "Putin cronies"; Cyprus-based oil trader Gunvor Group announced that co-founder Gennady Timchenko (estimated wealth $8.5 billion) - who was named on today's sanctions list - sold his entire 44% stake in the company yesterday. The question is - as we show below - did the US Treasury tip Timchenko off to what was coming?

 

 

Gunvor Ensures Continued Operations...

Anticipating potential economic sanctions so to ensure with certainty the continued and uninterrupted operations of Gunvor Group Ltd’s activities, the shares of the company held by Mr. Gennady Timchenko were sold on March 19 from his personal holding vehicle to Mr. Torbjorn Törnqvist personally.

 

As a result, Mr. Törnqvist has become the majority owner of Gunvor Group Ltd, with an 87 percent stake, and Mr. Timchenko has fully divested his entire holdings in the company. The remaining 13 percent of shares are held by senior employees of Gunvor. There are no outside shareholders.

One thing we suspect will happen next, the list of names from US Sanctions 3.0 will include Mr. Tornqvist's name. Or maybe not - it may be that doing trade with Gunvor is even more important than the pretense of sanctioning those "evil" Russians.

Some more color from Bloomberg:

The majority of Timchenko's net worth was derived from his 44 percent stake in Cyprus-based oil trader Gunvor Group, which he sold to partner Torbjorn Tornqvist on March 19, 2014, ahead of U.S. economic sanctions. Through Volga Group, his Luxembourg-based investment vehicle, he also holds 23 percent stake in publicly traded Novatek, Russia's second-largest natural gas producer; a 31.5 percent stake in petrochemical company Sibur; and 80 percent of rail company Transoil.

 

He owns Sibur through the holding company Sibur Ltd. with billionaire partner Leonid Mikhelson. The pair acquired the company from Gazprombank, the lending affiliate of state-controlled energy company Gazprom, in 2010 and 2011. The investment cost is calculated using the value stated by Gazprombank in December 2010, when it sold the first 25 percent for $1.3 billion. He also has an 80 percent stake in Russian construction company Stroytransgaz, which is valued using the average price-to-sales and price-to-book value multiples of three publicly traded peers: Mostotrest, Budimex and Polimex-Mostostal.

 

Through Volga, Timchenko holds stakes in publicly traded Rorvik Timber and Russian Sea Group, a fish farm and seafood processing company, as well as 8 percent of Bank Rossia, 12.5 percent of insurance company Sogaz, 49.1 percent of insurance company Sovag and 30 percent of coal mining company Kolmar. Gunvor holds another 30 percent of Kolmar.

 

Through A-group, the billionaire controls 70 percent of Avia Group, which develops ground infrastructure for the business aviation center at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, Avia Group Nord, which provides business-aviation services for flights out of Saint Petersburg's Pulkovo international airport, and a 99 stake in private jet operator Airfix Aviation. He also controls Finland's Hartwall Areena along with billionaire partners Boris and Arkady Rotenberg.

Some background on Timchenko, Putin, and Gunvor (via The FT from 2008)...

many wonder whether Gunvor’s rapid expansion over the past five years – just as the Kremlin has moved in on private oil production – is due to more than just vision. The company has “one very good friend,” a former partner says. “He is at the very top level,” says another.

 

Some have speculated whether there are ties that bind Gunvor’s other co-founder, Gennady Timchenko, and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president from 2000 until last week. As the company emerges from obscurity, some details of the connections between the two are finally becoming clear. The company claims that it has not benefited from any political favours.

 

The company’s rise provides a glimpse into a secretive clique of businessmen close to Mr Putin who have made immense fortunes under his presidency but have so far stayed far away from public scrutiny. Even as Mr Putin completes a stage-managed transfer to the role of prime minister, installing his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, as president, they are finding it increasingly hard to escape the spotlight. This year, Mr Timchenko for the first time made it on to the Forbes rich list with an estimated fortune of $2.5bn.

 

In a scanty paper trail, corporate records from St Petersburg show Mr Timchenko and a committee headed by Mr Putin participated in one business in the early 1990s. Bankers say the company, Golden Gates, was established to build an oil terminal at St Petersburg’s port but foundered in a clash with organised crime.

 

Mr Timchenko’s trading company, meanwhile, was a beneficiary of a large export quota under a scandal-tainted oil-for-food scheme set up by Mr Putin when he worked as head of the city administration’s foreign economic relations committee in 1991, local parliament records show. The trader also built close ties with Surgutneftegaz, a Kremlin-loyal oil company, inviting speculation he may have built a significant stake there.

The big question is - how did he know? We suspect the US Treasury telegraphed it.

Timchenko Stake in Gunvor Less Than 50% Trigger, Treasury Says

 

Gunvor Group Ltd. isn’t subject to automatic blocking from dealing with U.S. persons under Russian sanctions because co-founder Gennady Timchenko owns less than 50 percent of the company, a U.S. Treasury official said.

 

Treasury: Under the 50 percent rule, only entities in which a designated individual or entity owns a 50 percent or greater interest are blocked by operation of law

 

Treasury’s understanding is that Timchenko’s ownership stake in Gunvor is less than the 50 percent required to trigger an automatic blocking

 

Treasury urged U.S. persons to act with caution when considering a transaction with a non-blocked entity in which a blocked person has a significant ownership

Bottom line: since the US needs a means to trade Russian oil, the top Russian crude trading firm will be exempt no matter what.

 

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Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:57 | 4574352 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

The more you tighten your grip, Barry, the more oligarchs will slip through your fingers.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:58 | 4574359 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

You are now about to witness the strength of this fully armed and operational Choom Wagon, bitchez.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:20 | 4574431 knukles
knukles's picture

If they keep this up it will guarantee that there will be no declining USDollars as payment for oil.
This whole thing is just way too childish, second rate and impossibly nothing more than entertainment and an annoyance.

You don't tip over the world's payment mechanism because somebody farted.  There's a whole lot more of Europe and the Middle East to fuck up before you gotta go to that length.

Good God, why not just give Vlad a blue ribbon?
It's not like he's the good guy in all this shit, either. 
This is not gonna end well.

You pecker-heads in France best get ready to defend yourselves, ya know?
Not that I dislike the French... just that when I lived over there, they were miserably uncivil and impolite (before their time) to English speaking peoples.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:38 | 4574474 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

We have much more in common with Russia than I had thought.

Most of our officials at the very top are connected with a lot of unseemly business types.

Oh well..., who's Jon Corzine?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:57 | 4574541 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

One rule to find them all, One rule to connect them, One Rule to expose them all, and in their 'richness' define them... Follow the money.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:01 | 4574556 Occident Mortal
Occident Mortal's picture

No need to tip anyone off.

The USA has built a gigantic infrastructure to spy on all Americans.

Russia just needs to get a couple of skilled coders through the application process at the NSA (we know Russian spies have sat on Senate Commitees in the past).

This is what the USA is so naive about. It would be prudent to assume that about 10% of the people working at the NSA are foreign agents.

What the NSA has done is to provide open season to Russia, China, anyone who can be bothered to sponsor one of their nationals/agents with fake ID in order to get them inside the NSA.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:28 | 4574650 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Why do you assume that the NSA is not already giving out any information the Russians desire?

They are already giving it out to other allies.

Or are you buying this theater going on with the shirtless tank rider?

The assumption that the NSA is working for the US is comical.

The NSA is working for the benefit of the NSA and no one else, and for the NSA to thrive, it needs adversaries.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:00 | 4574558 Occident Mortal
Occident Mortal's picture

No need to tip anyone off.

The USA has built a gigantic infrastructure to spy on all Americans.

Russia just needs a couple of skilled coders through the application process at the NSA (we know Russian spies have sat on Senate Commitees in the past).

This is what the USA is so naive about. It would be prudent to assume that about 10% of the people working at the NSA are foreign agents.

What the NSA has done is to provide open season to Russia, China, anyone who can be bothered to sponsor one of their nationals/agents with fake ID in order to get them inside the NSA.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:26 | 4574647 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

gmrpeabody     We have much more in common with Russia than I had thought.

Most of our officials at the very top are connected with a lot of unseemly business types.

 

You just now figured that out? Let me ask you a question. Let's say the system collapsed world wide. Who would remain on top?

Answer: the same wealthy people who are on top. And that goes for all nations around the world. The people at the bottom are always the ones that feel the most pain no matter what the situation. Good times and bad times.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:44 | 4574692 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

"You just now figured that out?"

I was being a little tongue-in-cheek there, sessinpo.

I figured it out back in the early 1970s, maybe even a little before then.

Back when parents cared about what I thought, and before the school

system was taken over by the federal government.

 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:59 | 4574363 Canadian Dirtlump
Canadian Dirtlump's picture

They are 4 steps ahead in terms of their defense. The offense ultimately could be interesting.

 

I would love to see US dollars start to get sent home en masse, and a liquidation of foreign real estate.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:03 | 4574373 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

More ,and more, this looks planned and gamed out years in advance.

The best of the US Ivy league look like they couldn't organize a party in a brewery.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:11 | 4574403 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

I disagree, this is all staged.  It's a global marketplace, nothing is released to the public that isn't pre-planned.   World oligarchs just putting on kabuki theater on a global scale.

 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:15 | 4574414 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Did you read Putin's speech to the Duma ?

Looks to me like a thespian has left the union.Or he was lip synching the whole time.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:58 | 4574728 KickIce
KickIce's picture

If Ukraine's gold wasn't involved I would agree. I think they tried to take advantage of Putin during the Olympics and he's legitamaly pissed.  Now in regard to the oligarchs I would agree they are protecting one another, after all, these types of action are usualy aimed at the 99.9%.

Of course if the gold ends up in Russia then I'd say you were on the money.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:43 | 4574496 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

You don't know how right you are WC

Here's the proof

http://www.utro.ru/articles/2008/12/26/789711.shtml

All the while Putin has been "winking at Barry" even before he stepped into the White House and took an oath!

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:19 | 4574618 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

And while we're at it....

Might as well make it a fun and innovative model of just what might happen if the West pushes too hard.  Find your neighborhood to see what it may look like after "remodeling" gets underway!

Wouldn't want to be George Soros and friends if they push this sucker to the limit.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:32 | 4574664 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Canadian Dirtlump   I would love to see US dollars start to get sent home en masse, and a liquidation of foreign real estate.

 

Liquidation to where? That has been the problem that has kept the dollar up. Where do I park my money? The Yuan and China with their economuy collapsing? The Euro with Europe a mess? With Rubles and Russia in turmoil?

This is a factor that has sustained the dollar. This is nothing more then a petro-dollar war.

Anyway, the cards have been shown, the US has shot itself in the foot and severe market declines are ahead of us later this year.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:01 | 4574367 drink or die
drink or die's picture

Isn't it adorable when politicians think they are smarter than billionare oligarchs?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:44 | 4574497 Event Horizon
Event Horizon's picture

That is why they are called oiligarchs, 

 

BTW,, Putin takes out Soros.. watch for it...

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 22:30 | 4575425 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

When do we get to the point where we make it illegal for Euros to by gas and oil from Russia by placing sanctions on every insect that moves over there?  That should be intertaining.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 16:58 | 4574356 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

With a secret buyback clause.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:02 | 4574370 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Sound-Bite Barry don't care if the plan worked or not. It all about lookin like he know what he doing.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:02 | 4574372 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Coincidental. He needed the cash to pay the rent.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:03 | 4574374 FilthyHabits
FilthyHabits's picture

I have to say, it is amazingly fucking annoying to watch these American Business / political retards play this chess game with people who are way ahead of them.

Get some balls; fucking rejects..

Arm yourselves...

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:09 | 4574396 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Please, it's global marketplace.  The oligarchs are simply putting on a puppet show for you.  No one in the club has been hurt.  You will know when the real power brokers start fighting when serious numbers of peasants start dying.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:32 | 4574463 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

"We're gonna freeze your assets!" *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

yaknowhatimean?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:55 | 4574536 Tim_
Tim_'s picture

A Pact with the Oligarchs

"Kolomoyskyi and Gennady Timchenko are establishing a Jewish centre called the Holocaust Museum in Dnipropetrovsk."

"Kolomoysky has a dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship and controls his business empire from Switzerland" (Source).


Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center announced the establishment of an endowment fund of the Museum

(Translated)

"Co-founders of the endowment fund of the Museum are: Viktor Vekselberg, Len Blavatnik, Roman Abramovich, Vadim Moshkovich, Alex Lichtenfeld, Alexander Klyachin, Gennady Timchenko, Mikhail Gutseriev."

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 21:16 | 4575222 Angus McHugepenis
Angus McHugepenis's picture

LoP: Yep, it matters not about these billionaires. Their bullshit news is a diversion for the sheeple that somehow think their petty sheeple lives are affected by what some obscure billionaire does as they watch Kim Kardassions ASS get bigger.

I really can't wait to see the great "unwashed" go full retard when SHTF.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 21:48 | 4575298 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

I really can't wait to see the great "unwashed" go full retard when SHTF.

 

Me too. People are so wilfully ignorant they'll deserve what they get. Just this week my niece (university graduate) had to rush off 'to see the news'. I was impressed.....until I discovered that 'the news' was about the latest on the Kardashians.  God help us all.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 19:33 | 4574882 Bangin7GramRocks
Bangin7GramRocks's picture

What should we do tough guy? Start a major war? Are you ready to die for fucking Crimea? I sure as fuck know I am not prepared to do shit for Crimea. I'm too busy trying to help less fortunate people in my city.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:06 | 4574386 Mr Giggles
Mr Giggles's picture

I wonder if the info came from the inside, or a mirror NSA?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:08 | 4574391 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

It's going to be a long Winter for Western Europe next year.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:19 | 4574427 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Cold, dark and broke. 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:49 | 4574518 MeMongo
MeMongo's picture

Animal house; Mr Dorfman, fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go thru life! "Cold, dark, and broke" is probably much worse (:-(

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 19:48 | 4574928 WMM II
WMM II's picture

"It's going to be a long Winter for Western Europe next year."

 

 

as it will be for those who need the proceeds from those gas sales.

but it will be warm at the fptb's homes.

 

:)

 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:11 | 4574395 pashley1411
pashley1411's picture

Obama's role model is Casper the Ghost.

You reach for him and there's just nothing there.   

Screw Kiev, I wouldn't be surprised if Putin asserts his right to support the expatriate Russian population in Lisbon.   

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:22 | 4574433 Doubleguns
Doubleguns's picture

Obama insults Putin. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWBUl7oT9sA

 

Its the best he could do. 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:11 | 4574405 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

Pfft. LOL.
All I have are utterances. Ha!
Loser fucking assholes.
My God, the lies.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:12 | 4574406 Defenestratus
Defenestratus's picture

Well damn - this is bad news for the America's Cup.  He's one of Artemis Racing's big sponsors i believe.

 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:16 | 4574416 Ifigenia
Ifigenia's picture

is good for russian people that Ogolfer fucks russian`s 1%, but what could americans 99sheeps benefits? a sense of solidarity with russian 99 sheeps?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:34 | 4574467 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Translate this.

Like they had eyes!!!

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:35 | 4574470 Zymurguy
Zymurguy's picture

He wasn't tipped by the Treas. Dept.... sheesh.  He and his team of advisor are way too calculating to be caught by our gentle presidents little sanction game.  Statements like that are absolutely bullshit vacant strawman comments - if you've got a source or a lead then put your money where your mouth is... if not, then shut the fuck up and stop covering for this inept administration.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:38 | 4574480 john milton
john milton's picture

there will be pussy riot in a white house tonite, finding a rat

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:42 | 4574490 BigRedRider
BigRedRider's picture

Barry, do you still not know the difference between chess and checkers?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:57 | 4574540 fijisailor
fijisailor's picture

So if the Treasury tipped him off then that means this whole dispute is nothing more than theater to distract the muppets from the real economic crisis.

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 18:55 | 4574737 Lumberjack
Lumberjack's picture

"The big question is - how did he know? We suspect the US Treasury telegraphed it.

Timchenko Stake in Gunvor Less Than 50% Trigger, Treasury Says

 

Gunvor Group Ltd. isn’t subject to automatic blocking from dealing with U.S. persons under Russian sanctions because co-founder Gennady Timchenko owns less than 50 percent of the company, a U.S. Treasury official said.

 

Treasury: Under the 50 percent rule, only entities in which a designated individual or entity owns a 50 percent or greater interest are blocked by operation of law

 

Treasury’s understanding is that Timchenko’s ownership stake in Gunvor is less than the 50 percent required to trigger an automatic blocking

 

Treasury urged U.S. persons to act with caution when considering a transaction with a non-blocked entity in which a blocked person has a significant ownership"

 

-------------------------

 

http://www.upc.com.tw/engver/index.htm

 

http://www.marketvisual.com/d/29c47119-5487-423a-807b-10d8cd00e4c2

 

http://www.marketvisual.com/d/07ac53bf-26a7-47d4-9e32-e35c32ad435c

 

http://www.marketvisual.com/Profile?eid=bce85eea-04db-430d-b7bc-09194ead...

 

http://www.marketvisual.com/Profile?eid=ebff4b6d-efc0-469d-b0b1-bc39f503...

 

-------------------

See this comment:  

4525021

This should also include Michael Alvarez who was also involved in the TC pipeline deal and Enron. 

 

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?per...

 

================

 

Lots more to come...

 

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 19:27 | 4574855 Lumberjack
Lumberjack's picture
China going cold on carbon market? Cites Australia and US

 

Another day is The Backdown? Everything is more important than carbon action these days. In China, real pollution is trumping the fake kind. China has been toying with carbon markets, but this month announced they might have to back away. (The shame!)

[Reuters]  “…the all-out efforts to combat China’s disastrous pollution levels might get in the way of plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions in a bid to stunt the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions, Zhu Guangyao, the vice environment minister, said.

“We have to reflect the requests of the majority through many consultation rounds,” he told the Beijing Morning Post from the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary sessions.

A carbon tax is increasingly controversial among lawmakers, said Zhu, adding that an environment tax would be easier to push through without carbon in the mix.

Zhu also referred to the fact that Australia, under a new conservative government, is trying to abolish its carbon tax, while a price on carbon has been blocked in the United States.”

China’s carbon markets were never serious anyway –  the glorious plan was to launch seven pilot trading schemes –  and each new market was an excuse for environmental activists to issue press releases and proclaim “success” and “momentum”. It was all about the number of new markets opening (not the number of degrees the world would cool).  In reality, even these pilot schemes were a pile of tokens (so to speak) — most of the credits were given out for free. The fines for non-compliance were minimal. It almost looks like it was designed with PR in mind?

Thu, 03/20/2014 - 21:35 | 4575270 Duude
Duude's picture

Obama's sanctions are all for show, so why actually hurt anyone? That's the question Obama surely asked and answered himself.

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 05:03 | 4576018 Oligarch
Oligarch's picture

RUSSKIE billionaires should move their capital to non western banks in hong kong preferably.

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