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Putin’s hockey friend and Russia’s richest man Vladimir Potanin has ‘plucked banks for little money’ amid an exodus of western owners

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) greets billionaire and businessman Vladimir Potanin (L) as billionaire Gennady Timchenko (R) looks on during a group photo during the Night Hockey League gala game at Bolshoi Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia, May 10, 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) greets billionaire and businessman Vladimir Potanin (L) as billionaire Gennady Timchenko (R) looks on during a group photo during the Night Hockey League gala game at Bolshoi Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia, May 10, 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin played hockey with Vladimir Potanin.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

  • Putin ally Vladimir Potanin is reportedly acquiring Russian banks at a discount rate.

  • Western companies have fled the country en masse after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • According to Forbes, Potanin is reportedly Russia’s richest man with a net worth of just $30 billion.

Russia’s richest man has hijacked domestic banks at discount rates after their western owners dumped the land, reports say.

Russia’s economy has been in free fall since the invasion of Ukraine after the Western powers imposed sanctions on some of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies. seize and freeze their assetsand many leading companies from McDonald’s to Goldman Sachs completely stop operations in the country.

Metal magnate Vladimir Potanin, a longtime ally of Putin, has largely avoided Western sanctions, despite his close personal ties to the regime. Experts say Potanin, who has played ice hockey with Putin in the past, has largely remained off the West’s radar because of his personal importance to global metal markets.

On Thursday the Financial Times reported: Potanin, reportedly worth $30 billion, had tapped his estimated $30 billion fortune to acquire stakes in major Russian banks, which have seen their value dwindle after Western stakeholders left the country.

The billionaire’s Interros group is said to have acquired Rosbank after Socit Gnrale (SocGen), a French bank that bought the company from Potanin in 2008, opted for a quick exit from Russia. Insider previously reported that banks still operating in Russia are preparing to… lose huge amounts money to leave.

Potanin reportedly acquired Oleg Tinkov’s stake in TCS Group Holding, for which Tinkov, who he said was forced to sell his interests after he criticized the war, complained that Potanin paid only 3% of the actual stake, according to the paper. Insider contacted TCS and SocGen, but received no immediate response.

Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis firm R.Police told the FT: “The Kremlin had a geopolitically problematic asset [in Tinkoff] and Potanin had a solution.”

Potanin’s recent acquisitions make him a key figure in the banking industry. In February, Rosbank and Tinkoff, TCS’s principal assets, combined assets of nearly $45 billion (RBS3 trillion).

Someone involved in the negotiations for SocGen told the FT, “We wanted to find a way to leave in the most orderly way while retaining our 12,000 employees.”

They added: “Potanin says he wants to keep the bank and its culture,” so they decided to accept his offer which was prompt and he knows the bank, according to the report.

Potanin founded Interros in 1990, a conglomerate with interests in sectors such as mining, energy and real estate. richest man in russiaper Forbes† But he is best known for mastering the “loans-for-equity” programsthat many other oligarchs, including Roman Abramovichhave made their fortune through the programs.

Under the “loans-for-equity” programs, wealthy entrepreneurs and banks lent money to the Russian government in the 1990s in exchange for shares in the country’s natural resources. The government often failed to repay these loans, leaving many of the natural resource companies in the hands of wealthy individuals.

Read the original article Business Insider

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