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Abramovich's secret million-dollar deal with Putin's associates revealed

Abramovich's secret million-dollar deal with Putin's associates revealed Photo: Roman Abramovich (facebook com RomanArkadyevichAbramovich)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and the so-called "wallets" of dictator Vladimir Putin made a secret deal worth millions. It became known about it due to the leak of secret documents, reports the Russian BBC.

Abramovich, who is under UK and EU sanctions, has denied financial ties to the Russian dictator. But declassified documents from Cyprus have become new evidence linking them to a secret $40 million deal concluded in 2010.

The essence of the agreement

Until this moment, the agreement was completely classified. This was made possible by the company's complex network in Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands.

Two companies Finoto Holdings and Grosora Holdings (established in 2003) belong to the Sara Trust Settlement, the ultimate owner of which is Abramovich.

In September 2003, these two firms each bought 12.5% of the shares of the Russian advertising giant Video International for $130,000. The price was significantly understated since at the time of the agreement the company was the leader of the TV advertising market in the Russian Federation.

For the next seven years, Abramovich owned a stake in Video International. The company announced a turnover of more than 2 billion dollars. During this period, dividends of $30 million were paid to Finoto and Grosora.

In 2010, the revenue of "Video International" amounted to 3 billion dollars. But Abramovich's companies sold their shares to other firms for $20 million, which is much lower than the market value. The shares were purchased by firms owned by Sergey Roldugin and Aleksandr Plekhov. They are called Putin's "wallets".

Abramovich's secret million-dollar deal with Putin's associates revealed

What is known about them

Sergey Roldugin is an old friend of Putin. He is a cellist and artistic director of the House of Music in St. Petersburg. It is known that it was Roldugin who introduced Putin to his first wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva. At most, Roldugin became the godfather of their eldest daughter.

Oleksandr Plekhov is another close friend of Putin from St. Petersburg. He is a former biochemist but has now become a businessman.

Roldugin and Plekhov are accused of being Putin's "wallets", that is, secretly holding money and assets on his behalf. Against Plekhov and Roldugin, sanctions were imposed in Britain, the EU, and the USA. They are called "guardians of Putin's offshore wealth".

The role of Cyprus

It is worth noting that among the Russian elite, Cyprus is popular as a place for storing money offshore. However, after Russia attacked Ukraine, Cyprus was under threat.

Cyprus is a member of the EU, and therefore, many people close to Putin who kept funds in Cypriot offshores have been sanctioned. Sanctions have shown that Cyprus cannot be used by Russian oligarchs to support Putin's orders.

The journalists add that there are signs that Cyprus is likely to put its affairs in order.

Abramovich and his role in the war against Ukraine

Roman Abramovich is considered an oligarch close to Putin, although he denies these statements. The governments of the UK and the EU called Abramovich a pro-Kremlin oligarch and imposed sanctions against him in March 2022.

Let's add that the Russian oligarch owned the British football club Chelsea since 2003. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he was removed from the post of director due to sanctions and ties to the dictator Putin.

Abramovich announced the sale of Chelsea at the beginning of March 2022 and noted that the withdrawn funds would go to the aid fund for Ukraine. In May, the Russian oligarch sold the football club for 5.4 billion dollars, but the funds have not yet reached the fund.

Abramovich became an unofficial mediator in the peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Then the negotiations took place in Turkey.