Surgutneftegaz, one of the richest and most closed businesses in Russia, is effectively controlled by Vladimir Putin through his friends. The company’s accounts accumulated 57.5 billion, the Dossier Center found out in its investigation.
The company itself assures that the owners of Surgutneftegaz are its top managers and employees. In turn, “Dossier” found out that this is not so: the majority of shares (83.2%) belong to non-profit partnerships that hide the real owner. “To hide its owners, Surgut created a complex scheme of dozens of legal entities,” the investigators say.
For many years, the activities of Surgutneftegaz, according to the investigation, were associated with Vladimir Putin’s entourage. His friends Pyotr Kolbin and Gennady Timchenko, through the IPP group, controlled almost half of Surgutneftegaz’s total exports, and this share would have been higher if it were not for the sanctions imposed against them.
According to Dossier, since 2011, Timchenko and Kolbin have controlled at least 43% of the company’s foreign trade transactions, looking for traders, buying oil and handling logistics.
The key role in concealing the assets of Surgutneftegaz, as the investigators emphasize, was played by long-term general director of the company Vladimir Bogdanov, as well as millionaire and oil trader Gennady Timchenko. According to Dossier, Bogdanov may be the highest paid top manager in Russia: he earns more than 5 billion rubles a year, and his family owns real estate worth 1.5 billion rubles. Since 2018, Bogdanov has been under US sanctions as a Russian businessman close to the Kremlin.
Timchenko, as the investigators emphasize, is looking for traders to sell Russian oil through his partners, even after the introduction of Western sanctions on the purchase of domestic energy resources.
Investigators also note that Surgutneftegaz has accumulated at least 4.25 trillion rubles ($57.5 billion) in its accounts over the past 20 years. This money, according to “Dossier”, the company does not spend, does not invest in development and does not direct to the payment of dividends.
The publication believes that these funds belong personally to Vladimir Putin. “Someday this money will disappear from the accounts, and you will never know what happened to them,” one of the Dossier’s interlocutors notes. After the start of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the company stopped publishing detailed reports, so it is impossible to find out how much is currently in its accounts.
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