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23 March, 2014 21:52   ▪  

The Telegraph: Russian billionaire sold his shares the day before he was blacklisted

Russian billionaire and close Putin ally Gennady Timchenko sold stake in oil trading firm Gunvor a day before featuring on a blacklist of Russians sanctioned in the US.

Gennady Timchenko sold his 43 per cent share in the oil trading firm Gunvor to a business partner on Wednesday. The firm, according to The Telegraph, which was co-founded by Mr Timchenko in 1997, said it had pre-prepared the sale “as a contingency in the unlikely event that Mr Timchenko would become involved in sanctions.”

“But it raised questions as to whether news of the list had somehow leaked out prior to publication on Thursday, and how such a substantial deal could have been done at short notice. Questions were also being asked last night as to why Mr Timchenko and a number of other Russian oligarchs were not also included on a new sanctions list drawn up by the European Union,” The Telegraph points out.

The EU list, published on Friday, added 12 new names to an existing European list of 21 names announced on Monday. All those listed are now subject to both visa bans and asset freezes.

But it omits a number of key businessmen and politicians included on the US list. Notable omissions alongside Mr Timchenko included Boris and Arkady Rotenberg, two brothers who are often described as bankers to Mr Putin’s inner circle. Another was Sergei Ivanov, Mr Putin’s chief of staff.

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