- A Russian oligarch transferred $ 1.3 billion worth of stock to an offshore tax haven on the day he was sanctioned, the documents suggest.
- A company controlled by steel magnate Alexei Mordashov sold the stock in travel giant TUI on February 28.
- Mordashov was sanctioned by the European Union and the UK by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A Russian oligarch transferred $ 1.3 billion worth of shares to an offshore tax haven on the day he was hit by war sanctions in Ukraine, regulatory and company documents suggest.
On February 28, a subsidiary of Alexei Mordashov, one of Russia’s richest businessmen, sold a 29.9% stake in TUI, the world’s largest tour operator, to a British Virgin Islands company. according to the documents.
The company that bought Mordashov’s TUI stock, Ondero, is affiliated with the oligarch, according to Bloomberg.
The British Virgin Islands, a British Overseas Territory, do not charge companies,
o wealth taxes.
Mordashov, a steel magnate, is the second richest person in Russia with a net worth of $ 22.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Prior to the sale of the shares, Mordashov was TUI’s largest shareholder, with a 34% stake, and had been a shareholder for about 15 years, according to a press release published by TUI shortly after being sanctioned by the European Union. Mordashov stepped down from TUI’s board of directors on March 2, the company said.
According to Bloomberg, Mordashov held his stake in TUI through Cyprus-based Unifirm, a company itself owned by subsidiaries of Mordashov and his sons.
A 29.9% stake in TUI was sold to Ondero on February 28, according to a TUI filing released on March 5. Another 4.1% was sold to Russian investment firm Severgroup, according to a March 4 filing. Severgroup is owned by Mordashov.
TUI told The Guardian it cannot identify Ondero’s shareholders.
TUI did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, which was submitted outside normal business hours.
Insider was unable to contact Mordashov or his rep for comment. His spokesperson previously declined to comment on Bloomberg.
Mordashov ceased to have control of Unifirm on February 28, according to TUI’s March 5 filing.
Sweeping sanctions have hit Russia and some of its richest people since the country invaded Ukraine. Many of the restrictions target oligarchs, prompting them to reshuffle their stakes in their businesses, including moving holdings and assets around intricate networks of onshore and offshore companies. Such structures are often used by oligarchs to hide their wealth, complicating attempts to seize their assets.
Earlier this month, Mordashov transferred control of a $ 1.1 billion stake in a mining company to his wife.