How U.s. Sanctions Take a Hidden Toll on Russian Oligarchs

Documents show how sanc­tions afflict Putin insid­ers — and how far they go to evade them

As U.S. sanc­tions bit into Russia’s bil­lion­aire class in 2018, an account­ing firm in Singapore issued a secret appraisal of a $200 mil­lion debt owed by one of the tar­get­ed oligarchs.

The ver­dict was brac­ing. The mon­ey was owed by a com­pa­ny con­trolled by Oleg Deripaska, accord­ing to a copy of the appraisal, at a time when his ener­gy and min­ing empire was reel­ing from sanc­tions the United States had imposed on Russian oli­garchs in response to “Russia’s world­wide malign activity.”

Now Deripaska’s assets were at “risk due to the unsta­ble polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, demon­strat­ed by the lat­est round of sanc­tions,” the account­ing firm wrote. Recovering more than a small frac­tion of the $200 mil­lion, the firm con­clud­ed, “would be dif­fi­cult if not impos­si­ble.”Read key take­aways from the Pandora Papers investigation

This meant a loss of tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, as the impact of sanc­tions rip­pled across a hid­den cor­ner of what crit­ics call Russia’s kleptocracy.

U.S. offi­cials involved in sanc­tions pol­i­cy say vis­i­bil­i­ty into the pri­vate ledgers of tar­get­ed oli­garchs is rare, even in clas­si­fied set­tings. Details of the Deripaska debt-gone-bad, how­ev­er, are revealed in a mas­sive trove of finan­cial records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with The Washington Post and oth­er news orga­ni­za­tions. The Pandora Papers, as the trove is called, pro­vide insights into the reach of U.S. and European sanc­tions tar­get­ing a range of Russian elites at a time when these puni­tive mea­sures serve as the over­whelm­ing weapon of choice in Washington’s com­bat­ive rela­tion­ship with Moscow.

Over the past sev­en years, the United States and Europe have imposed sanc­tions on more than 800 Russian indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties for alleged “malign” behav­ior includ­ing Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea, armed incur­sions into Ukraine, attempt­ed assas­si­na­tions of polit­i­cal dis­si­dents, cyber­at­tacks on Western insti­tu­tions and dis­rup­tions of U.S. elections.

The Pandora files show sanc­tions not only hit­ting their Russian tar­gets but then trig­ger­ing loss­es that spread across their inter­con­nect­ed finan­cial networks.

The doc­u­ments con­tain mate­r­i­al on at least 46 Russian oli­garchs who appear on the Forbes list of bil­lion­aires. Among them are Deripaska and Gennady Timchenko, who amassed a for­tune through oil trad­ing. There are also peo­ple excep­tion­al­ly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, includ­ing Peter Kolbin, a child­hood friend sus­pect­ed by U.S. offi­cials and oth­ers of hold­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in assets for him.

Pandora doc­u­ments show that Timchenko and Kolbin changed the reg­is­tered own­er­ship of off­shore com­pa­nies as sanc­tions hit.

But the files also under­score the lim­its of sanc­tions, mak­ing clear that vast quan­ti­ties of Russian mon­ey con­tin­ue to slosh through secret glob­al accounts while Moscow’s actions beyond its bor­ders seem unde­terred. Russia remains in con­trol of Crimea, a promi­nent crit­ic of Putin was poi­soned last year, and U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies accused Moscow of mount­ing a new attack on a U.S. pres­i­den­tial election.

Current and for­mer U.S. offi­cials said the loss­es and reac­tions depict­ed in the doc­u­ments demon­strate the reach of the West’s finan­cial arse­nal. The offi­cials said these puni­tive mea­sures influ­ence the Kremlin’s cal­cu­la­tions if not always change its course.

What it shows is that these net­works don’t feel untouch­able,” said Julia Friedlander, who served in senior posi­tions at the Treasury Department and the White House dur­ing the Obama and Trump admin­is­tra­tions. “Although sanc­tions have often failed to deliv­er on larg­er polit­i­cal goals,” she said, they dis­rupt adver­saries who “rely on our finan­cial mar­kets as an ele­ment of their own power.”

From left, Oleg Deripaska, head of the Russian aluminum conglomerate Rusal; Vadim Sorokin, head of the Russian automotive company GAZ Group; and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016. Two years later the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Deripaska and Rusal in a bid to tighten the vise on the Kremlin.
From left, Oleg Deripaska, head of the Russian alu­minum con­glom­er­ate Rusal; Vadim Sorokin, head of the Russian auto­mo­tive com­pa­ny GAZ Group; and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016. Two years lat­er the U.S. Treasury Department sanc­tioned Deripaska and Rusal in a bid to tight­en the vise on the Kremlin. (Tass/Getty Images)

A losing $200 million shuffle

Deripaska, 53, was among sev­en Russian oli­garchs sanc­tioned in 2018 by the U.S. Treasury Department. Several of his com­pa­nies, includ­ing Rusal, one of the world’s largest alu­minum con­glom­er­ates, were also tar­get­ed in an effort to put more pres­sure on the Kremlin.

The impact of such mea­sures can be severe. Treasury des­ig­na­tions all but lock tar­gets out of glob­al mar­kets, where the U.S. dol­lar is the dom­i­nant cur­ren­cy, and bar U.S. banks and com­pa­nies from doing busi­ness with them.

Treasury cit­ed Deripaska’s close ties to the Kremlin and not­ed that he had been “inves­ti­gat­ed for mon­ey laun­der­ing and … accused of threat­en­ing the lives of busi­ness rivals, ille­gal­ly wire­tap­ping a gov­ern­ment offi­cial, and tak­ing part in extor­tion and racketeering.”

In 2016, Deripaska had used a com­pa­ny called A‑Finance Ltd. to issue a promis­so­ry note for $200 mil­lion, accord­ing to records relat­ed to that trans­ac­tion in the Pandora files. The doc­u­ments do not explain why the Russian bil­lion­aire took on that debt, which required inter­est pay­ments of $10 mil­lion a year.

A spokes­woman for Deripaska dis­put­ed the U.S. alle­ga­tions against him and dis­missed ques­tions about the promis­so­ry note. “None of the alle­ga­tions of ille­gal activ­i­ty made against him … have ever been upheld in court,” Larisa Belyaeva said in an email response to writ­ten ques­tions from The Post.

[Documents tie woman alleged­ly in secret, years-long rela­tion­ship with Putin to lux­u­ry Monaco apart­ment]

Belyaeva said that “Deripaska did own A‑Finance Limited” but “denies alle­ga­tions that would sug­gest any ille­gal activ­i­ty by this company.”

The Pandora records show that the note was held by Saffron International Assets Ltd., a shell com­pa­ny con­trolled at the time by anoth­er Russian oli­garch, Evgeny Novitsky, a bil­lion­aire who has held shares in one of Russia’s largest cell­phone networks.

But the promis­so­ry note changed hands in 2017, accord­ing to Pandora records, when Saffron was acquired by a promi­nent Russian financier, Kirill Androsov, as part of what one doc­u­ment describes as an “off­set­ting agree­ment” between Androsov and Novitsky. Androsov had served as senior aide to Putin, dur­ing his tenure as prime min­is­ter between 2008 and 2012, before leav­ing gov­ern­ment, set­ting up invest­ment funds and estab­lish­ing a pres­ence in Singapore.

The trans­ac­tions are record­ed in the inter­nal files of a Singapore-based firm, Asiaciti Trust, which helped Androsov, 49, and oth­er clients set up com­pa­nies, includ­ing in the British Virgin Islands, where Saffron was registered.

In November 2018, Androsov expressed con­cern about col­lat­er­al dam­age from the sanc­tion­ing of Deripaska. Through an inter­me­di­ary, Androsov told Asiaciti that the Deripaska note “posed a cer­tain rep­u­ta­tion­al risk to the entire struc­ture” of his off­shore com­pa­nies, accord­ing to an inter­nal Asiaciti account of the call.

At the time, Saffron was part of a col­lec­tion of com­pa­nies Androsov con­trolled in an inter­lock­ing struc­ture, accord­ing to dia­grams in the Pandora files. His rep­re­sen­ta­tive asked Asiaciti to remove Saffron from that web and move “the entire issued shares in Saffron to his per­son­al name,” doc­u­ments show.

Asiaciti offi­cials at first seemed skep­ti­cal, call­ing the request “slight­ly abrupt,” but ulti­mate­ly agreed that “it would be pru­dent” to iso­late Saffron from Androsov’s oth­er com­pa­nies, accord­ing to notes of Asiaciti offi­cials’ inter­nal discussion.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Asiaciti denied any wrong­do­ing but declined to dis­cuss its inter­ac­tions with Androsov, cit­ing its desire “to main­tain con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and pro­tect per­son­al data.”

A month lat­er, in December, Abacus Capital, a finan­cial ser­vices firm based in Singapore, issued the grim appraisal of this prob­lem­at­ic asset on Androsov’s books.

View doc­u­ment

In its report, Abacus not­ed that the promis­so­ry note’s val­ue had already been down­grad­ed sub­stan­tial­ly because Saffron had failed to secure any col­lat­er­al or a guar­an­tee of repay­ment from Deripaska. Abacus then delved into the dis­tressed state of his assets, with charts show­ing shares of his com­pa­nies, includ­ing En Plus Group, plung­ing on glob­al exchanges as sanc­tions kicked in. In the end, Abacus con­clud­ed that Androsov and Saffron were unlike­ly ever to col­lect more than 10 per­cent of what was owed. Just two years after the $200 mil­lion note was issued, it was worth bare­ly more than $18 million.

Abacus did not respond to requests for comment.

Russian financier Kirill Androsov in 2018. Androsov, a former senior aide to Putin, acquired the company that held a $200 million Deripaska debt in 2017. A secret audit concluded that the unsecured debt was worth less than 10 percent of that amount after Deripaska came under U.S. sanctions.
Russian financier Kirill Androsov in 2018. Androsov, a for­mer senior aide to Putin, acquired the com­pa­ny that held a $200 mil­lion Deripaska debt in 2017. A secret audit con­clud­ed that the unse­cured debt was worth less than 10 per­cent of that amount after Deripaska came under U.S. sanc­tions. (Tass/Getty Images)

The records leave some ques­tions unan­swered, includ­ing why Androsov was will­ing to take on Deripaska-relat­ed debt with no col­lat­er­al. The files do show that Asiaciti was sus­pi­cious about this and oth­er aspects of Androsov’s business.

Asiaciti ulti­mate­ly con­clud­ed that Novitsky was actu­al­ly in con­trol of com­pa­nies reg­is­tered to Androsov and cit­ed a “lack of eco­nom­ic sense” behind trans­ac­tions involv­ing the two men.

In an April 2019 board meet­ing, Asiaciti exec­u­tives decid­ed that con­cerns about the mat­ter exceed­ed the firm’s “accept­able risk appetite” and moved to sev­er its rela­tion­ship with Saffron and oth­er Androsov com­pa­nies, accord­ing to an account of that meet­ing. The doc­u­ment indi­cates that Asiaciti also planned to file “sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion reports” with authorities.

An audit of Asiaciti by the Monetary Authority of Singapore ques­tioned its han­dling of accounts relat­ed to Androsov, Novitsky and oth­ers, con­clud­ing that the firm’s com­pli­ance prac­tices “were assessed to be weak,” accord­ing to a copy of the report in the Pandora trove.

[Trove of secret files details an opaque finan­cial uni­verse where the glob­al elite shield their rich­es]

In response to a let­ter sent to the firm by the ICIJ and The Post, Asiaciti said it is “com­mit­ted to the high­est busi­ness stan­dards, includ­ing ensur­ing that our oper­a­tions ful­ly com­ply with all laws and reg­u­la­tions.” The firm said it “found many inac­cu­ra­cies and instances where impor­tant details were miss­ing” in the let­ter sent to it enu­mer­at­ing details found in the Pandora doc­u­ments. Asiaciti pro­vid­ed no specifics.

Belyaeva, the spokes­woman for Deripaska, reject­ed any sug­ges­tion that there was hid­den or nefar­i­ous pur­pose to the A‑Finance-relat­ed trans­ac­tions. “It sim­ply defies belief that com­pa­nies [Deripaska] found­ed — that gen­er­ate bil­lions of dol­lars in rev­enues and com­ply with the high­est stan­dards of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance — would engage in this sort of pet­ty schem­ing,” she said.

Androsov, whose résumé lists a master’s degree in busi­ness from the University of Chicago, did not respond to requests for com­ment sent to his per­son­al email account or an address pro­vid­ed by Altera Capital, a Moscow-based invest­ment firm where Androsov serves as man­ag­ing partner.

In a recent inter­view with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Androsov denied that sanc­tions had ham­pered his busi­ness prospects and down­played their over­all impact. The mea­sures are “much less an eco­nom­ic tool” and “much more polit­i­cal instru­ment,” he said. “Most of the Russian com­pa­nies are quite suc­cess­ful oper­at­ing, even under the sanc­tions, in oth­er parts of the world, like China and Southeast Asia.”

Gennady Timchenko, center with sunglasses, at a concert in Sochi, Russia, in 2016. Timchenko, who amassed billions in oil trading, moved to reconfigure his offshore accounts as the United States targeted him for sanctions.
Gennady Timchenko, cen­ter with sun­glass­es, at a con­cert in Sochi, Russia, in 2016. Timchenko, who amassed bil­lions in oil trad­ing, moved to recon­fig­ure his off­shore accounts as the United States tar­get­ed him for sanc­tions. (Tass/Getty Images)

For Putin insiders, evasive maneuvers

Another case in the Pandora trove focus­es on two close asso­ciates of Putin who have known him for decades.

Timchenko, 68, has been accused by crit­ics of using Kremlin con­nec­tions to amass an oil-trad­ing for­tune esti­mat­ed at near­ly $20 bil­lion. U.S. author­i­ties have alleged that Putin was a secret investor in Timchenko’s Gunvor Group, which became one of the largest oil-trad­ing com­pa­nies in the world. Timchenko in 2014 denied that Putin “had any own­er­ship, ben­e­fi­cial or oth­er­wise, in Gunvor.”

Kolbin and Putin were child­hood friends whose fathers met in the 1950s, the elder Kolbin once told a Russian news­pa­per. The younger Kolbin spent years work­ing as a butch­er in a St. Petersburg deli before his mete­oric rise in net worth.

Current and for­mer U.S. offi­cials say they sus­pect that Kolbin has served as one of many “wal­lets” for Putin — trust­ed asso­ciates enlist­ed to secret­ly hold mon­ey and prop­er­ty in their names on his behalf.

As the United States tar­get­ed Timchenko and Kolbin for sanc­tions, the two men moved to recon­fig­ure their off­shore accounts, sev­er­al doc­u­ments in the trove show.

Timchenko and Kolbin had both been tied to a petro­le­um ven­ture called LTS Holdings based, at least on paper, in the British Virgin Islands, accord­ing to the documents.For years, own­er­ship of LTS had been split between two shell com­pa­nies. One, called Lerma Trading, was list­ed by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2015 as a Timchenko front. The oth­er, Southport Management Services Ltd., is not explic­it­ly named as a Kolbin com­pa­ny in the doc­u­ments, but the sequence of events depict­ed in the files sug­gests that it was under his control.

That split-own­er­ship arrange­ment was sta­ble for near­ly a decade until Timchenko was sanc­tioned in 2014 for “pro­vid­ing finan­cial, mate­r­i­al or tech­no­log­i­cal sup­port” to the Russian gov­ern­ment as it annexed Crimea, accord­ing to the Treasury Department announcement.

Within months, Timchenko’s shell com­pa­ny was no longer list­ed as co-own­er of LTS Holdings in Pandora doc­u­ments. Instead, Southport Management sud­den­ly held all the out­stand­ing shares.

A spread­sheet list­ing Kolbin as the “ulti­mate ben­e­fi­cial own­er” of LTS Holdings indi­cates that Southport Management was prob­a­bly his shell com­pa­ny all along.

The maneu­vers didn’t shield LTS Holdings or Kolbin. Both were sanc­tioned by the Treasury Department the fol­low­ing year for their asso­ci­a­tion with Timchenko.

After Timchenko and Kolbin were sanc­tioned, Alcogal, the Panamanian law firm that had han­dled the trans­ac­tions for LTS Holdings, filed a sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty report with author­i­ties in the British Virgin Islands, flag­ging that Kolbin and Timchenko held accounts in the islands’ juris­dic­tion and had been sanc­tioned by the United States. Alcogal also resigned as agent to LTS Holdings, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments, cit­ing a “high­er risk to our office” than the firm could tolerate.

In a detailed writ­ten state­ment, Alcogal did not specif­i­cal­ly address ques­tions about its han­dling of accounts linked to Kolbin and Timchenko but said, “We resign in cas­es where we sus­pect that the client is involved in mon­ey laun­der­ing, ter­ror­ism financ­ing or oth­er illic­it activ­i­ties,” or where the firm fails to get “full coop­er­a­tion” from a client or can­not “car­ry out the required cus­tomer due diligence.”

Rather than dis­solve, LTS Holdings moved to anoth­er off­shore reg­istry, accord­ing to anoth­er Alcogal doc­u­ment that does not pro­vide addi­tion­al details.

[The world reacts after secret doc­u­ments show how the elite shield their rich­es]

Registration doc­u­ments that are sep­a­rate from the Pandora files show that LTS Holdings was reg­is­tered in Cyprus in 2017, and that Kolbin’s daugh­ter, Tatiana Kolbina, was the sole share­hold­er. Some Russia experts and jour­nal­ists in Moscow believe that Peter Kolbin died in recent years. No obit­u­ary has appeared.

Kolbin’s rel­a­tives did not respond to requests for com­ment. A London law firm rep­re­sent­ing Timchenko declined to answer ques­tions about the trans­ac­tions involv­ing Kolbin and LTS Holdings. The firm, Carter-Ruck, said that “our client’s unequiv­o­cal posi­tion is that he has always act­ed entire­ly law­ful­ly through­out his career and busi­ness dealings.”

In recent years, U.S. sanc­tions have repeat­ed­ly prompt­ed Russians to take eva­sive steps.

From left, Arkady Rotenberg, a Russian construction magnate and childhood friend of Putin; Putin; and Russian judo team head coach Ezio Gamba in Sochi in 2019. After Rotenberg was targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2014, he passed control of his companies to his son. Treasury then imposed sanctions on the son.
From left, Arkady Rotenberg, a Russian con­struc­tion mag­nate and child­hood friend of Putin; Putin; and Russian judo team head coach Ezio Gamba in Sochi in 2019. After Rotenberg was tar­get­ed by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2014, he passed con­trol of his com­pa­nies to his son. Treasury then imposed sanc­tions on the son.

In 2014, the Treasury Department tar­get­ed Arkady Rotenberg, a child­hood friend of Putin whose con­struc­tion com­pa­nies won con­tracts esti­mat­ed at $7 bil­lion for projects asso­ci­at­ed with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

When Rotenberg then passed con­trol of his com­pa­nies to his son, Igor, Treasury respond­ed by sanc­tion­ing the younger Rotenberg. Italian court doc­u­ments shared with the ICIJ as part of the Pandora project show that the son’s com­pa­nies sud­den­ly faced dif­fi­cul­ties pay­ing bills.

Rotenberg sub­or­di­nates in Moscow and Spain trad­ed emails in 2018 in which they dis­cussed revis­ing con­tracts to swap out the names of com­pa­nies under scruti­ny and send­ing invoic­es to a new com­pa­ny still able to send money.

One of the employ­ees joked about what col­leagues should do if they got caught. “Remember guys, should they arrest me, don’t bring me oranges,” the employ­ee wrote, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments. “Go for choco­late cakes.”

The Rotenbergs did not respond to requests for comment.

Safe option,’ limited deterrence

U.S. offi­cials and experts believe that sanc­tions have tak­en a cumu­la­tive toll on Russia’s econ­o­my, sap­ping its gross domes­tic prod­uct by as much as 1.5 per­cent annu­al­ly. Even so, the past few years have been marked by new waves of alleged Russian aggression.

Last year, the Kremlin was accused by the United States and oth­er Western gov­ern­ments of poi­son­ing polit­i­cal activist Alexei Navalny, wag­ing anoth­er assault on an American pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and car­ry­ing out a mas­sive cyber­at­tack known as SolarWinds on U.S. tar­gets includ­ing fed­er­al agen­cies and Microsoft.

Medical personnel in Omsk, Russia, load Russian political activist Alexei Navalny into an ambulance for an evacuation flight to Germany in August 2020 after he was poisoned with a nerve agent. The United States and other Western governments said the Kremlin was behind the poisoning.
Medical per­son­nel in Omsk, Russia, load Russian polit­i­cal activist Alexei Navalny into an ambu­lance for an evac­u­a­tion flight to Germany in August 2020 after he was poi­soned with a nerve agent. The United States and oth­er Western gov­ern­ments said the Kremlin was behind the poi­son­ing. (Reuters)

Then, this year, Russia moved forces to the bor­der of Ukraine as part of a mil­i­tary buildup that rat­tled nerves in the region and raised fears of an inva­sion. U.S. offi­cials say they believe Putin backed away from esca­lat­ing Russia’s armed incur­sions into Ukraine in 2014 when his gov­ern­ment and many of his clos­est asso­ciates were hit hard by U.S. and European sanctions.

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion announced two waves of sanc­tions against Russia with­in months of tak­ing office and has threat­ened more.

The repeat­ed reliance on sanc­tions reflects a belief in the coer­cive pow­er of the U.S. econ­o­my and cur­ren­cy — but also a lack of palat­able alter­na­tives for con­fronta­tion with anoth­er nuclear-armed pow­er, offi­cials and experts said.

Sanctions rep­re­sent a “safe option” on the menu of retal­ia­to­ry mea­sures against Moscow, said James Nixey, head of the Russia-Eurasia pro­gram at the Chatham House pol­i­cy insti­tute in London.

You can’t ignore out­right medieval-style” behav­ior by Russia, Nixey said. But “we don’t want to invade. We don’t want to start a war. We don’t want to endan­ger any­body any more than we have to.”

Stung but still maneuvering

Early on, Timchenko was cav­a­lier about the puni­tive finan­cial mea­sures tak­en against him, say­ing he had no siz­able assets in the United States and didn’t expect to feel a pinch. But costs accrued in unex­pect­ed ways. In 2014, Timchenko told the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass that because of sanc­tions, his wife “was unable to pay in Germany for a com­plex surgery on the spine.” When she tried to set­tle the bill with the clin­ic that per­formed the oper­a­tion, he said, “the pay­ment did not go through.”

Timchenko said the bill was ulti­mate­ly paid, but expressed annoy­ance, call­ing the com­pli­ca­tions cre­at­ed by sanc­tions “a great stupidity.”

[While his coun­try strug­gles, Jordan’s King Abdullah secret­ly splurges]

Four years lat­er, Timchenko sold a pri­vate jet, accord­ing to air­craft reg­is­tra­tion records obtained by the Reuters news ser­vice. He did so after telling ITAR-Tass that Gulfstream, the U.S.-based air­craft man­u­fac­tur­er, would no longer ser­vice his plane.

For Deripaska and Androsov, the impact of U.S. sanc­tions and their fall­out has been mixed.

Earlier this year, a U.S. fed­er­al court dis­missed Deripaska’s law­suit seek­ing to have the sanc­tions against him lift­ed. Derispaska’s appeal of that rul­ing is pend­ing. In 2019, he suc­ceed­ed in get­ting the mea­sures against sev­er­al of his com­pa­nies, includ­ing Rusal and En Plus, waived when he agreed to reduce his own­er­ship stakes in them.

Deripaska, right, in 2018. In June 2021, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit he had filed seeking to have the sanctions against him lifted.
Deripaska, right, in 2018. In June 2021, a U.S. District Court judge dis­missed a law­suit he had filed seek­ing to have the sanc­tions against him lift­ed. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News)

Several for­mer U.S. offi­cials said the U.S. gov­ern­ment agreed to lift the penal­ties against his com­pa­nies in part because of eco­nom­ic reper­cus­sions beyond Russia. Thousands of jobs were threat­ened at an alu­minum plant in Ireland, for exam­ple, when Western com­pa­nies faced pun­ish­ment for doing busi­ness with Rusal, offi­cials said.

Androsov, whose net worth is list­ed in the tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in doc­u­ments includ­ed in the Pandora trove, sur­faced in media reports ear­li­er this year as the buy­er of a cas­tle-like hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. Androsov acquired the his­toric Château Gütsch from anoth­er Russian oli­garch, Alexander Lebedev, who oper­ates news­pa­pers in London and pre­vi­ous­ly served as a lieu­tenant colonel in the Soviet spy agency, the KGB.

It’s my pri­vate and per­son­al invest­ment,” Androsov said in the inter­view with Australian broad­cast­ers, adding that it is “kind of a tro­phy asset that could be inher­it­ed by your kids.”

By Greg Miller

Original source: WASHINGTON POST