Russian oligarchs and politicians can circumvent Western sanctions through fencing companies, including in the British Virgin Islands. This is according to research by the journalists consortium ICIJ. There are more than 11,000 mailbox companies and other screen constructions to Russia. It does so based on five past data breaches.
The smokescreen constructions make it more difficult for banks, Western companies and governments to map the fortunes of the hundreds of sanctioned Russians. In the Pandora Papers, ICIJ discovered 163 constructions-especially in the British Virgin Islands and in Cyprus – that are linked to Russian politicians such as MPs and (ex-)ministers. More than 45 Russian oligarchs also appear in the Pandora Papers, at least twelve of whom are targeted by the recent sanctions.
One of them is 56-year-old billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, a confidant of Putin. He is known in our country as an investor in Fortis in 2008, when the Financial Group was looking for fresh money for the acquisition of ABN Amro. The richest Russian Alexei Mordashov (56), who has been on the EU sanctions list since February 28, also made a statement.