Timchenko Gennady Date of Birth
9 November 1952
Timchenko Gennady Citizenship
Timchenko Gennady Professional field/official position
- Owner of the private investment group Volga Group
- Co-owner of the company Gunvor
Timchenko Gennady biography
TIMCHENKO Gennady Nikolayevich (b.1952) is a Russian-Finnish billionaire, a close friend of Vladimir Putin. Born in Soviet Armenia and raised in East Germany and Ukraine, in 1976, he graduated from the Leningrad Mechanical Institute. He started his career as an engineer at the Izhorsky plant near Leningrad, which specialized in building power generators. From 1982 to 1988, he worked as a senior engineer for the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
- In 1988, Gennady Timchenko became deputy director of the state foreign trade association Kirishineftekhimeksport (KiNEx), which was based on the Kirishi oil refinery, one of the largest refineries in Soviet Russia. Timchenko was responsible for relations with foreign partners.
- In 1991, Timchenko moved to Finland and began working for Urals Finland Oy, which became the main buyer of Kirishinefteorgsintez (a parent company for KiNEx) oil products. The same year, KiNEx began cooperation with the Committee on Foreign Economic Relations of Leningrad, which was chaired at that time by Vladimir Putin. In 1995, Urals Finland Oy changed its name to International Petroleum Products Oy (IPP Oy), Timchenko first became the Deputy General Director of the Finnish company, and after a while headed it.
- In 1997, together with his Swedish partner Torbjörn Törnqvist, he founded Gunvor. Both Russian state-owned (Rosneft, Gazprom Neft) and private companies (TNK-BP and Surgutneftegaz) sold oil abroad through Gunvor. In 2007, about 30 percent of all Russian oil exports went through Gunvor. Timchenko sold his stake to a partner in 2014 to protect the company from being hit by the sanctions against Russia. In 2007, Gennady Timchenko founded the private investment fund Volga Resources (currently the Volga Group). The company combines Timchenko’s Russian assets in the energy, transportation, infrastructure construction, etc. According to Forbes, his total wealth estimates over $20 billion (2019).
Timchenko Gennady crimes
National and cross-border corruption, economic crime.
- In 2003-2004 Russian and foreign media conducted a series of investigations alleging that Timchenko was a close friend and confidant of Putin. According to Time magazine, Gennady Timchenko belongs to a narrow circle of “Putin’s judo friends” along with brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg. Timchenko and Putin allegedly had common commercial interests in the 1990s, and Timchenko serves as one of Putin’s wallets by accumulating and keeping large assets in foreign banks, energy and infrastructure companies, and offshore accounts.
- In 2008, The Economist published an article on corruption in Russia that mentioned Timchenko and his company Gunvor. The Economist linked Timchenko’s success in Russia with corruption schemes, and Gunvor largely benefited from the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the sale of Yukos assets. In 2010, opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov published a report “What 10 Years of Putin Have Brought”, which mentioned Timchenko’s friendship with Vladimir Putin, as well as the use of this friendship in corruption schemes.
- In March 2014, following the Crimean status referendum, the U.S. Treasury put Timchenko on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN), a list of individuals sanctioned as “members of the Russian leadership’s inner circle”. Timchenko’s Volga Group has been listed by the US Dept of Treasury (OFAC – Office of Foreign Assets Control) as a SDN (specially Designated Nationals) in the Ukraine-related sanction lists of 2014.
“Financial Times”, May, 22nd 2008, “Wall Street Journal”, June, 11th 2008
In January-February, 1992 “Kirishinefteorgsintez” and its foreign trade division “Kirishineftehimexport” appeared in a scandal story connected with delivery of export quotas to 12 companies in St.Petersburg. Licenses were distributed by Committee on Foreign Economic Relations of the Mayoralty of St.-Petersburg which was headed by Vladimir Putin and his deputy – Alexander Anikin at that time. Among the companies that received quotas there was also Industrial-Trading Company “Neva house” (owners – Jury Rusakov and Vitenberg Vladimir), mediating the deal of export of the 50 thousand tons of “heavy distillates (liquid fuel for specific processing)” and 100 thousand tons of “average distillates (liquid fuel for specific processing (black oil) (diesel fuel)”. Realization of mineral oil was charged to “Kirishinefteorgsintez”. It was supposed that in an exchange St.-Petersburg was going to receive food items from Great Britain. But city authorities did get neither goods, nor money. Petrosovet accused “Kirishinefteorgsintez” that it had not carried out of the obligation and 100 thousand tons of diesel fuel were simply appropriated and sold for export under the pretext of planned delivery. That history did not affect Gennady Timchenko’s life. And in 2008 he declared to foreign editions that he did not remember any scandal, and the products as well as it was required, had been delivered, and moreover, the company had always paid money/
“New newspaper”, November, 14-20th 2005, “Russian Newsweek”, 1/15/2007, December, 17th, 2007.
In 2004 in the scandal center there were companies Gunvor International and Gunvor Energy. Within the project of the United Nations Organization «Oil in exchange for the food» they bought about 3 million tons of Iraq oil for the sum of $500 million from “Zarubezhneft” which had the greatest quotas among the Russian companies. The independent court of inquiry of the United Nations Organization inspected program performance. In the final report known as the report of Paul Walker it was informed that some participants exceeded the quotas, resold oil and underpaid taxes from the profit. Among those have appeared Gunvor International and Gunvor Energy. The profit from resale of barrel of the Iraq oil reached $5, i.e. 3 million tons of oil could bring about $125 million. These incomes petrotraders as affirms in the commission report, shared with “Zarubezhneft”. The management of “Zarubezhneft” declared that copies of contracts with Gunvor to which Walker referred – were fake. The inspector parried: he received documents in state secretary of economic affairs of Switzerland and had no doubts in their authenticity. According to the messages of mass-media, the only consequence of conclusions made by UNO was the fact that Gennady Timchenko at that time avoided any communication with the press, and his data disappeared from all open address lists in Switzerland. Business of Gunvor with the Russian companies did not suffer.
Russian Forbes, April 2004, Smart money, 42 (83) November, 05th 2007, “Russian Newsweek”, 1/15/2007
In 2004 the chairman of the State Duma of the first convocation and the former secretary of Security council of Russia Ivan Rybkin named Gennady Timchenko one of holders of Swiss “slate club” of the Kremlin. He based the statement on the fact that a huge part of production of state oil company “Surgutneftegaz” was exported to the West through the companies connected with Timchenko. And the intermediary of “Kineks” paid for oil a surprisingly low price. In 2002 the difference between the average world price for the Russian oil and the price paid to “Surgutneftegaz” by the intermediary, became more than $5 per barrel that was more than $35 per ton. Thus, by estimates of Hermitage, “Surgutneftegaz” for four years since 1999 lost profits of $1 billion”. Ivan Rybkin (by the way, in 2004 he was the nominee on a post of the president of Russia) declared that Timchenko really owned an oil refinery in Kirishi that according to the documents belonged “to Surgutneftegaz,” and actually supervised company “Surgutneftegaz”. However, when journalists asked denouncer to confirm the words with documents, he could not make it. But he informed that the next day after he «announced the compromising evidence on Timchenko and Putin», all his offices were crushed. It’s not widely known how Timchenko reacted to charges.
“New newspaper”, 11/14/2005, Polit.ru, December, 22nd 2004
In the end of 2004 mass-media designated a version that “Yuganskneftegaz” sale via auction, which was taken for tax debts from YUKOS, had been done in Gennady Timchenko’s and his partners’ interests. By the instructions of Open Company “Baikalfinancegroup” the head of department of organizational structures of Open Society “Surgutneftegaz” Igor Minibaev bought the company. He was business partner of Timchenko from “Surgutneftegaz”. Rumors about the real participants of the purchase spread after the incident when acting at press conference, Vladimir Putin made a mistake, and instead of “Baikalfinancegroup” he said “Baltikfinancegroup”. Some people decided: the mistake could occur because the president remembered: Kirishi weree not on Baikal, but on Baltic. And when Putin told that owners of this firm – “exclusively physical persons, but they are the persons, who have been engaged in business in power sphere for many years”, some people thought that he meant not formal co-owners of “Baikalfinancegruop” who had registered the firm to the address of the Tver bar, but probably the Timchenko group. Then firm “Baikalfinancegroup” (as well as the rights to its active — “Yuganskneftegaz”) was redeemed by the state oil company “Rosneft”. And Gunvor group in 2005 received an oil stream of “Yuganskneftegaz”.
In December 2005 in Estonian press there was an article once again connecting Gennady Timchenko with the top management of Russia. Journalists wrote about the Estonian firm Tarcona, nothing allocated on financial indicators from hundreds and thousands of other Estonian companies. However it was affirmed that it was the main driving mechanism of multi-billion dollar business and brings absolutely others, in comparison with specified in official reports, profit to the owners. It was informed that formally firm Tarcona was owned by company Sherpa International, registered on the British Virgin Islands. In fact it belongs to people who supervise such companies as Gunvor International, Gunvor Services, Gunvor Energy and Clear Lake, Russian “Transoil and “Gunvor”, and also Estonian Westgate Transport and Trendgate. Gennady Timchenko and Swede Torbjern Tornkvist have a direct connection to these companies.
The Estonian edition “Business sheets” declared that Tarcona earned petrodollars for the first persons of the Kremlin and their favorites. Journalists described the scheme of how business looks: Timchenko was responsible for strategic “reception” of oil and mineral oil, Tornkvist supervised sale of this production, and Tarcona organized all logistical chain, “without being visible”. For example, the tanker could be freighted by Clear Lake, “Transoil” was a railway carrier, the owner of the terminal was Trendgate, and the owner of cargo – always Gunvor. The edition wrote that on the volumes the business was commensurable with transit of oil passing through Estonia and mineral oil as well. Destinies of the Estonian petroterminals directly depended on firm Tarcona -it was up to them from whom cargo could be taken, or to whom could be given. Neither heads of company Tarcona, nor businessman Gennady Timchenko wanted to communicate with journalists about it.
“The New Times”, 11/14/2007
In the end of 2007 political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky in interview to German newspaper Die Welt declared that Vladimir Putin was a large businessman, supervising 37 % of actions of “Surgutneftegaz”, which was 20 billion dollars of market cost. Besides, as Belkovsky said, Putin supervised 4,5 % of actions of “Gazprom”. And in company Gunvor trading in oil he had 50 % through the representative Gennady Timchenko. Gunvor Group denied the information that Putin refered to it.
Vedomosti, 7/30/2009, 140 (2410), lenta.ru, 29.07.2009, www.newsru.com, March, 10th, 2009
In March, 2009 Gennady Timchenko submitted the claim to the court of London against the magazine The Economist, which published article about corruption growth in Russia in Vladimir Putin’s presidency. The article was issued in November, 2008 and was called “Grease my palm” (in Russian-speaking mass-media the name was translated as «Give on a paw»). It was a question that the success of Timchenko’s company, Gunvor International BV, coincided with actions against “YUKOS”. As a result Gunvor became the third petrotrader in the world. Also The Economist asserted that the businessman used the friendship with Vladimir Putin when he worked in the mayoralty of Petersburg: the oil company, in which Timchenko used to work with the help of the present prime minister, ostensibly received a big quota. Timchenko demanded to compensate damage for slander and to forbid the edition to publish further the similar information. The court came to the end with the agreement of lawsuit prior to the beginning of debate of the parties. It happened after the necessity to open the information of business, partners and actives, including – structure of proprietors of Gunvor loomed on the horizon. In January, 2009 The Economist apologized the businessman and published specification to scandalous article in which it was informed: speaking about «new corruption» in Russia, journalists did not mean that Gunvor or Gennady Timchenko had got the oil business in Russia as a result of payment of bribes or by means of any other corruption actions. The edition also explained: it accepts assurances of Gunvor that neither Vladimir Putin, nor any other high-ranking Russian official have no possession share in Gunvor. It was not the first attempt of Timchenko to dissuade mass-media that with his success in business he was obliged by affinity to Vladimir Putin. In April, 2008 of The Financial Times published the letter of the businessman in which he rejected the fact of protection from outside politicians.
“Vedomosti” of 11/30/2009, 226 (2496)
In November, 2009 in “Vedomosti” newspaper there was an assumption that the former vice-president of the Petersburg fuel company (PFC) and “the shadow” governor of Petersburg Vladimir Barsukov (Kumarin) was arrested and he appeared under court with «help» of Gennady Timchenko. Journalists wrote that two businessmen, being acquainted with both of them, told the following: authoritative businessman Vladimir Barsukov became interested in the Petersburg oil terminal (POT) which was, as they considered, under control to other authoritative businessman Sergey Vasilev. They didn’t manage to agree. Then in May 4, 2006, in Petersburg an attempt against Vasilev was made. By miracle he survived and asked protection from Timchenko, whose company Transoil exported mineral oil through POT. In an exchange the share in the terminal was promised to the petrotrader. Then, as interlocutors of the edition confirmed, Gennady Timchenko convinced Vladimir Putin to isolate «becoming uncontrollable authority» from a society. Russian mass-media wrote about high level of authority of Gunvor’s co-owner. On the condition of anonymity the high-ranking officials mentioning Gennady Timchenko in connection with such events as Nikolay Aksyonenko’s resignation from a post of the head of Ministry of Railways, dismissal in 2006 of the officials who were responsible for drawing up of schedules of export of oil, the decision on a terminal point of future oil pipeline BTS-2 in Ust-Luga port.
Helsingin Sanomat, http://inopressa.ru/article/13Jan2010/helsingin/fin.html/fin.html, “
In January, 2010 there was an information that company IPP International Petroleum Products trading in oil (connected with Gennady Timchenko) and holding Merropoint ran into debt to tax department of Finland on more than 14 million euro. The court of Helsinki obliged Merropoint to pay 12,1 million euro of VAT for aircraft planes business puchasing in 2002 and 2004. The techniques were bought from IPP in interests of charter airline Airfix Aviation for realization of the international flights. Under the Finnish legislation it would not be necessary to pay VAT if the international aircraft was the basic business of the company. However, the court decided that Airfix Aviation was not the international air carrier and the transaction was subject to VAT taxation as it was intracorporate. As for IPP (which owned more than 80 % of shares of Airfix Aviation), according to court, did not pay taxes of 2,2 million euro for one more plane bought by Merropoint.