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Michel Litvak, Putin’s associate, a legitimate target for the next EU sanctions?


The next package of European sanctions is targeting those who help circumvent the sanctioned companies and individuals in Russia, thus abiding in financing of the aggressive war Putin wages against Ukraine. Some EU and dual-nationals may be targeted, as certain inner-circle businessmen around the Russian president are in fact citizens of European countries. One of them is Michel Litvak, whose activity on international energy markets makes Russia immune to the previous attempt to cripple the Russian economy. In fact, EU puts a lot of hope on the new legislation as it will allow a broad spectrum of measures to be taken against such individuals.

Michel Litvak, a reintroduced Russian: close ties with Putin and the regime

Michel Litvak and Vladimir Putin.
Michel Litvak and Vladimir Putin.

Michel Litvak, a Russian-Belgian entrepreneur and close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has made headlines as his energy company Oteko has divested its Turkish assets. This decision was reportedly made due to the threat of sanctions and the emergence of new methods for exporting energy products.

The sale of Oteko’s LPG production unit, Petgaz, to Turkey’s BDY Group has been approved at the highest level, leading to rumors that the deal was not profitable for Litvak. Petgaz has a long history in Turkey, with operations dating back to the early 1990s. The company has become a leading player in the Turkish liquefied natural gas sector, offering import, export, wholesale, and warehousing services for liquefied petroleum gas. Petgaz boasts the largest gas storage and reception terminal in Turkey.

Despite the longstanding success of Petgaz in Turkey, Litvak’s decision to divest may have been influenced by the strengthening relationship between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent years. The two countries have collaborated on issues such as the future of Syria and the development of economic relations in the energy and construction sectors. Additionally, Turkey has made efforts to reduce its dependence on Russia and Iran for its energy needs, including purchasing a record amount of liquefied natural gas from the United States in recent years.

Litvak’s divestment of Petgaz is seen as a significant development in the Turkish energy sector and is likely to have broader implications for Russia-Turkey relations. As Litvak continues to be a key player in the energy industry and maintains close ties with Putin, his future business decisions will be closely watched by observers around the world.

Michel Litvak, the Belgian-born millionaire and founder of Oteko, is a pioneer in trade and logistics between Russia and China. Born in Leningrad in 1951, he moved to Belgium with his parents in the 1960s before returning to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Litvak’s company, Oteko, was the first to trade consumer goods with China and offer transport and logistics services to Russian energy companies. In addition to these services, the company has also constructed a harbour in Taman on the Black Sea coast.

Meanwhile, BDY, a diversified company with roots in the fuel and logistics sectors, was established in Batman, southeastern Turkey, in 1970 by the Badai family. Currently led by Chairman Veysel Badai, the company has expanded its operations into real estate, construction, mining, engineering, and warehousing.

Recently, Litvak has turned his attention to coal, with reports suggesting that he is planning to purchase Sibantracite, a leading anthracite extraction and export company, from the heirs of the late billionaire Dmitry Bosov. Gazprombank may assist Litvak in the transaction.

As a controversial businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Litvak’s business decisions are closely watched by observers around the world. Nonetheless, his impressive track record in trade and logistics between Russia and China has cemented his position as a leading figure in the industry.

Michel Litvak’s Interest in Coal Grows: Plans to Purchase Leading Extraction and Export Company Sibantracite

Michel Litvak, the founder of OTECO, has been focusing more on coal lately. He is reportedly planning to purchase Sibantracite, a leading anthracite extraction and export company, from the heirs of the late billionaire Dmitry Bosov. Gazprombank may assist Litvak in the transaction. The Belgian-born millionaire returned to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and has since become a prominent figure in the country’s energy sector.

OTECO, which is owned by Michel Litvak, is the owner of the terminal in Taman. There are rumors that Litvak may have significant supporters in the Kremlin, with Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko being mentioned as one. This suggests that Igor Sechin’s actions may have a direct impact on the interests of these influential «players,» if I may say so.

Meanwhile, oligarch Andrey Bokarev, who is a friend of Michel Litvak and co-owner of Transmashholding, has also entered the fray. A few months prior, Bokarev was the first to suggest transferring the capacity of the large port in St. Petersburg, though not to Lavna, from which he has already withdrawn, but to Ust-Luga. This decision may be influenced by the saying «charity begins at home.»

Michel Litvak and Evgeny Dietrich at the Center of Controversy Over Lavna Port

A dispute has erupted between Michel Litvak and Evgeny Dietrich concerning the Lavna port in Russia. Evgeny Dietrich, who currently serves as the director of the “State Transport Leasing Company” and was formerly the Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, has come out in support of the port. It is worth noting that GTLK, in which Dietrich holds a position, owns 5% of the Lavna port. However, Dietrich is not solely representing state interests.

Dietrich and GTLK’s partners have plans for the Lavna port that extend beyond coal transshipment. They envision the development of container terminals and universal transshipment complexes at the port, citing its location as the northernmost, ice-free, deep-sea port and the shortest way to Europe. Dietrich’s statements have been quoted by RBC.

Meanwhile, the owner of one of Russia’s largest coal holdings, Coalstar’s Mr. Khudainatov, appears unwilling to surrender his market share in the Lavna port. This may be due to the significant financial implications involved. Notably, the figure of Igor Sechin is associated with Khudainatov.

Written by: Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien is a student who is taking only the first steps in journalism. The main interest is events from the world of macroeconomics and finance.

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