Roldugin controlled directly or indirectly a group of affiliated companies that controlled a significant share of a business empire that usually did one of three things:
- dubious over-the-counter transactions with shares of the largest state-owned Russian companies such as Rosneft;
- “donations” from major Russian businessmen often laundered through paper deals;
- or preferential loans from the Cyprus-based RCB Bank, a large stake of which is controlled by the Russian state-owned VTB Bank.
The lawyers handling Roldugin’s business sent two contracts to Mossack Fonseca on the same day. One was for the purchase of stock, and the other cancelled the first contract. According to the contract, Rodulgin would earn US$ 750,000 if the deal did not go through
, which he in fact did since both contracts were executed at the same time.
In some cases the agreements did not involve a cancellation penalty but a stock trade, but in every one of these cases reviewed by Novaya Gazeta, the cellist earned a profit from the trade, which is highly unusual. His company bought stock in Russian companies and the next day sold the same stock back to the same people, but at a serious profit
, which allowed them to make $400,000-500,000. Roldugin’s contracting partners always lost in these operations.
beneficiary, had to disclose whether he was a PEP (Politically Exposed Person), or acquainted with a PEP. In both cases the Russian cellist said “no”, even though the information that he was friends with Putin was well-documented publicly.
In July 2007, Roldugin’s company Sonnette Overseas received a loan from another offshore company, Levens Trading, for US$ 6 million at a 2 percent yearly interest rate. And just about one month later, the creditor, for a repayment of US$ 1, forgave Roldugin’s debt. Levens Trading is connected to Russian businessman Alexey Mordashov. According to data from the Russian company register (USRLE), this offshore company owned 100 percent of Severstal Vtormet, a major scrap steel company.
Another important source of finance for Roldugin’s offshore group were loans from the Cyprus-based RCB Bank, controlled by Russia’s state-run bank, VTB. The documents say that from 2010 through 2012, a credit line for a minimum of US$ 650 million
was opened for Sandalwood Continental. The deal gave the offshore almost unlimited access to cash for any purpose
At the same time, credit agreements were signed in such a way that even Mossack Fonseca lawyers pondered the question of whether the bank would get that money back.
Part of the fortune in Roldugin’s name accumulated by his offshore companies was invested in Russia. These investments can be divided into two groups: for fun, such as resorts, yacht clubs, and palaces; and for purchasing strategic assets.
Sandalwood Continental also loaned around 50 million rubles (US$ 737,000
), again on favorable terms, to Nord Haus, a company that owns land and a hotel complex in the city of Sortavala, Republic of Karelia... this is the planned location of a holiday house for Putin
Roldugin’s offshore companies controlled stakes in the country’s largest companies, including truck production and TV advertisement sales.
Video International (VI) is Russia’s largest seller of television ads controlling some 70 percent of the advertising market at one point. It was founded by Mikhail Lesin, the former Minister of Press, and a presidential advisor. Lesin died last November under suspicious circumstances in a Dupont Circle hotel in Washington DC and authorities are investigating the matter.
one of the main KamAZ
stakeholders gave control away to an unknown offshore. And 15 percent of that unknown offshore belonged to the cellist Roldugin
through his company, Sonnette Overseas.
“Guys, honestly, I can’t comment at this time. I have to take a look and find out what I can say and what I can’t.”
He promised to talk to reporters in a few days but did not answer calls after that.
Novaya Gazeta asked a person from Roldugin’s circle for one word to characterize the famous Russian cellist. Without hesitation he replied: “Call him the ‘caretaker’
. That works”.
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