Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, German Khan, and their connections to the Kremlin and the FSB
Research note prepared by Ilya Zaslavskiy
All the points below suggest strongly that Aven, Fridman and other key Alfa Bank oligarchs are close cronies and insiders of Vladimir Putin’s regime, and do not operate independently of Putin’s demands.
1. Aven shielded Putin from criminal investigation in 1992.
- When Aven was the Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, he helped Putin, then deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, to cover up his criminal activity on the export of rare commodities (Marina Salye dossier)
- In 1993, according to Karen Dawisha's book, Putin’s Kleptocracy, Kroll Associates wrote monthly reports to Yeltsin and its final report was presented to the Supreme Soviet in September 1993. Direct quote: "the document recounted widespread instances of "bribery of officials, blackmail, and the illegal transfer of currency resources to foreign banks", including by Minister Petr Aven." (quote on p. 19).
2. The corporate raiding of TNK-BP in 2008-2009 with the help of the FSB. Unresolved question of who benefited from the poisoning of CEO Robert Dudley, a U.S. national, copying of government documents from Russia and Ukraine, facilitation of fabrication of fake spy case.
3. TNK-BP used Gennadiy Timchenko’s Gunvor for oil operations. Timchenko is already under U.S. sanctions.
4. In 2012-2013 Putin personally managed and approved a deal of the sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft, the largest corporate deal in Russian history. This deal saw an unexplained 50% premium to the market price (around $10bn) to AAR shareholders, which they quickly moved to the West. This was just nine months before the annexation of Crimea and done through offshore accounts. This money is now being used to advance major investments in the West via Letter One and other entities in the US, UK and Europe at large despite financial sanctions and restrictions on other Kremlin-connected capital from other oligarchs. Somehow Alfa oligarchs managed to continue their investments in the West.
5. Helping the Kremlin in the U.S. to meddle in the 2016 elections?
- The dossier of Christopher Steele (“the Trump Dossier”) claims that Alfa and Putin have kompromat on each other and are closely connected to each other before Putin even came to power (Karen Dawisha’s investigations showed that years ago). As U.S. media has shown, large parts of the dossier have been corroborated as truthful by independent third-party investigations. Alfa oligarchs are now in litigation against media and GPS Fusion over these allegations.
- In addition, there is an unresolved question of whether the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank maintained a secret back-channel; CNN believes that this remains a matter for further investigation.
6. Alfa’s special interests and connections in the Middle East date way back.
- In 2005, an independent US inquiry found Russian politicians and companies heavily involved in abuses of the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq. The final report of the commission, chaired by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, found that among the companies making such payments were Alfa Eco, an affiliate of the Alfa Bank, where Aven was the top executive. http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1062481.html
- Fridman’s Alfa Bank provided financing throughout the 2000s to Atomstroyexport, the state-owned Russian nuclear vendor that installed the reactors at Bushehr, Iran, according to reports. http://nypost.com/2012/04/09/ny-jewish-leaders-biz-partner-has-iran-tie
7. Alfa’s role in money laundering in the Sergei Magnitsky case, and bribes to Shuvalov have not yet been examined properly. Alfa and its affiliates have also been kept under investigation by the Spanish Attorney General for alleged links with organized crime and money laundering.
According to Novaya Gazeta investigation money laundering in Magnitsky-related case was done through many banks, but Alfa-Bank’s role was quite central: http://www.novayagazeta.ru/inquests/53950.html
Alfa used in money transfers to Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov:
8. Employing relatives of Putin, the son-in-law of Lavrov, and people from the former East German Republic (GDR).
Alfa employs Masha Faassen, Putin’s eldest daughter, in its subsidiary Alfa-Endo: https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/4877-new-investigation-sheds-light-on-putin-s-eldest-daughter
Until recently, Alfa employed Alexander Vinokurov, son-in-law of Foreign Minister Lavrov, as head of their key subsidiary A1. http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=172537024&privcapId=11808425&previousCapId=22931744&previousTitle=CTC%20MEDIA%20INC
Alfa employed Franz Wolfe, son of ex-director of GDR's secret service Stasi: