Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Moved $1.3 Billion in Stock to Tax Haven: Filings
- A Russian oligarch transferred $1.3 billion worth of shares to an offshore tax haven the day he was sanctioned, according to filings.
- A company controlled by steel tycoon Alexei Mordashov sold the shares of travel giant TUI on February 28.
- Mordashov has been sanctioned by the European Union and the United Kingdom since Russia invaded Ukraine.
A Russian oligarch moved $1.3 billion worth of stock to an offshore tax haven the day he was hit with wartime sanctions in Ukraine, regulatory and corporate documents suggest.
On February 28, a company controlled by Alexei Mordashov, one of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen, sold a 29.9% stake in TUI, the world’s largest tour operator, to a Virgin Islands company. British, according to the documents filed.
The company that bought Mordashov’s TUI shares, Ondero, is affiliated with the oligarch, according to Bloomberg.
The British Virgin Islands, a British Overseas Territory, does not charge businesses,
or wealth taxes.
Mordashov, a steel magnate, is Russia’s second-richest person with a net worth of $22.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Prior to the sale of 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 issued by TUI shortly after he was sanctioned by the European Union. Mordashov resigned from TUI’s board on March 2, the company announced.
Mordashov held his stake in TUI through Cyprus-based Unifirm, a company that in turn is owned by companies controlled by Mordashov and his sons, according to Bloomberg.
A 29.9% stake in TUI was sold to Ondero on Feb. 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 could not identify Ondero’s shareholders.
TUI did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, which was made outside of normal business hours.
The insider could not reach Mordashov or his representative for comment. His spokesperson previously declined to comment on Bloomberg.
Mordashov ceased control of Unifirm on February 28, according to TUI’s March 5 filing.
Sweeping sanctions have hit Russia and some of its wealthiest people since the country invaded Ukraine. Many restrictions target oligarchs, encouraging them to reorganize their stakes in their businesses, including moving stakes and assets around complex 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.