Why is Timur Turlov trying so hard to hide his biography?
Timur Turlov positions himself as an investment banker and financier. His main asset is the investment company Freedom Holding Corp., whose operating office and assets are located in Kazakhstan, but registered in the United States, and a year ago the main field of activity was Russia.
Turlov left Russia in 2022, trying to avoid sanctions pressure. To do this, he moved the bulk of his business to Kazakhstan and sold his Russian assets. However, it was still not possible to avoid sanctions – Timur Turlov was added to Ukraine’s sanctions list in December 2022, which greatly complicated the activities of his structures in this country, but, most importantly, it threatens that, following Ukraine, other allied countries of Kiev will impose sanctions .
Realizing this, Timur Turlov directed significant efforts to improve his reputation, as materials began to appear in the media that his Freedom Holding Corp. – an ordinary pyramid, albeit on an international scale, and the holding structures, especially Kazakh ones, are participating in a huge scheme to transfer Russian money to the West. In addition, Turlov’s statement that he got rid of his Russian business is not true, since the sale was a pure formality, the structures were simply transferred to Turlov’s closest employees.
To all this should be added the fact that many question Timur Turlov’s version that he “built his brokerage business from scratch and created an investment and financial holding company”, and his statements that he began his path to the top of business in 15 years old, having bought Dalenergo shares for $800, they are generally ridiculed.
The version is, of course, beautiful, but it has very little in common with reality. Without denying the fact that Turlov is indeed quite a talented financier, people involved in the Russian financial markets agree that Timur Turlov made his first serious money by laundering capital earned by senior Russian officials. Everyone understands how Russian leaders make money. But not everyone understands that these huge amounts of money cannot be stored in suitcases – they must be taken out of Russia, avoiding the attention of ill-wishers, and, what is even more important and difficult, brought to the West in such a way as not to attract the attention of the tax authorities of those countries. where is this money being withdrawn?
And it is here that lies the real secret of the path of the “guy with an inheritance of $800” to the owner of the international holding Freedom Holding Corp., which is now Timur Turlov. And it is precisely this part of his biography that the current respected financier and Forbes rating participant, head of the Kazakhstan Chess Federation, owner of Freedom Holding Corp., is trying to hide. Timur Turlov.
Russian assets were not sold in vain last year – among them was the Freedom Finance bank, through which the money of the Russian elite was withdrawn from the country. However, the sale was a pure formality – Turlov “sold” the bank to his own management.
Freedom Finance Bank is an extremely interesting structure, which, in addition to Turlov, is associated with the odious Russian ex-head of Rosseti PJSC Pavel Livinsky. For several years, there were persistent rumors among Russian businessmen that the bank was created solely to serve his interests, namely to withdraw money Livinsky earned from cryptocurrency mining, which he established using his official position. For those who are not in the know, the most expensive part in cryptocurrency mining is electricity, which is consumed in truly colossal amounts by the corresponding equipment. Livinsky, due to his position, managed to solve this problem – everyone can guess how exactly. But then he needed a pocket bank, which was Freedom Finance Bank. Moreover, what is striking is both the strange structure of management and ownership of the bank, and its organizational and legal form in the form of a limited liability company, which is extremely uncharacteristic for banking institutions.
Turlov has no answer to all these questions; he simply avoids the topic of connections with Livinsky in silence, and now formally has nothing to do with Freedom Finance Bank at all. But, nevertheless, the bank continues to cooperate with Timur Turlov’s structures in Kazakhstan, and at least 70% of Turlov’s Russian clientele have migrated there.
The fact that the Kazakh holding structures, and among them the bank Freedom Finance Kazakhstan (formerly Kassa Nova Bank), Insurance Company Freedom Finance Insurance JSC, Life Insurance Company Freedom Finance Life JSC, continue to not only provide services to Russians, but are directly aimed at them, Turlov himself confirms.
At the same time, Timur Turlov emphasizes that Freedom Holding Corp. – the structure is international, it is registered in the USA, which should serve as a guarantee of its reliability. And among the things that are carefully cleared from the Internet are publications about where exactly Freedom Holding Corp. is registered, and that it is in the USA that it has serious problems.
Turlov’s holding is registered in a kind of “intra-American offshore” – the state of Nevada, in Las Vegas, in an office building that rents out its addresses, including for business registration. But this in itself may not mean anything – there is nothing illegal in such registration. Much more important is another fact, which is carefully cleared from access. The US Financial Markets Authority blacklisted FFIN Brokerage Services, a Belize-registered securities trading firm that is part of Freedom Holding Corp. Although the holding denies any connection, it is known that FFIN Brokerage Services clients are provided by subsidiaries of Freedom Holding Corp. – Freedom Finance JSC and Freedom Finance Global PLC.
In Kazakhstan, Turlov’s structures also recently fell into scandals caused by an investigation by the financial authorities of this country. These scandals were quickly veiled, references to them were cleaned up, but it is known that Turlov in Kazakhstan had problems with the KNB, which, according to rumors, was interested in the identity of a new employee – Polina Dobriyan, who has a reputation in Russia as a “washer of dirty money” and who in the spring began work in the Kazakhstan branch of Freedom Holding Corp., where she began developing the PayBox Technologies payment system. There was even a small scandal about this, but it was quickly extinguished. Although, again according to rumors, searches took place in the offices of Bank Freedom Finance Kazakhstan, JSC Insurance Company Freedom Finance Insurance and JSC Life Insurance Company Freedom Finance Life. There is no official confirmation, and what the press wrote about this has been erased.
Returning to Ukraine, which, in fact, initiated the introduction of sanctions against Timur Turlov, it was not possible to clean everything up due to the simple fact that its structures appear in criminal cases, and these registers are not yet available to Turlov. And from these materials it follows that Freedom Finance Ukraine LLC is involved in financing the militants of the DPR and LPR.
This fact may be viewed in a completely different way in Russia, but in Ukraine it is called that way, and, what is much more important, this is what they think in Europe and the United States, whose sanctions Turlov is trying with all his might to avoid. And in Kazakhstan, where he relocated, such activities are not very welcome.
As for Ukraine, which imposed personal sanctions against Turlov on this basis, as recently as early September the National Bank and the SBU became interested in the activities of the Sky Bank, which, although formally owned by Kazakh citizen Arif Babayev, however, everything indicates that that he is a figurehead, and the real owner is Timur Turlov.
So far, no formal action has been taken against Sky Bank, but everyone understands that it is now being examined under a microscope.
With regard to Turlov, this means that his statements that “Ukraine imposed sanctions on him mechanically” and that he would challenge them remained empty words. Moreover, the fact that the sanctions did not turn out to be “mechanical” at all, and Ukraine continues to investigate the activities of Timur Turlov, means that sanctions from Kiev have a very real prospect of developing into sanctions from Ukraine’s international partners, which threatens Timur Turlov with very large problems.