The search for assets often fails because the real ownership is hidden behind a series of mailboxes, corporations, trusts and trustees. The International Federation of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its partners have revised Pandora’s documents released last year and linked them to other sources, focusing on the business activities of Russian billionaires: Pandora Papers Russia.
In Austria, the ORF and the “profile” were involved in the process. Research shows that in every wave of sanctions, assets are in motion. Funds had already been moved in 2014, when the first sanctions were imposed after Russia annexed Crimea. Significant changes took place in 2018 after the US imposed sanctions on several oligarchy groups.
“Protection of Family Property”
The four founders of Russia’s Alpha Bank, Peter Aven, Michael Friedman, German Kahn and Alexei Kuznetsov, are “closely associated” with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the EU. In the early 1990s, they controlled wealth through the British Virgin Islands. After annexing Crimea, they established more shell companies. Aven, for example, set up a trust in which he freezes his assets, thus protecting them from obstacles. In a statement to the ICIJ, Aven noted that “protecting family wealth” was the reason for the reorganization.
Other oligarchy is also very busy. According to research, Alexej Mordaschwo, a major partner in the travel group TUI, could be assigned to 60 foreign companies. Mikhail Guzeriev, founder of the Russian oil company RussNeft, and his brother may be linked to 80 mailboxes.
Hermann Greif, head of Russia’s Sberbank and former finance minister, has been on the sanctions list in Europe since Friday – after the United States and Great Britain – about 75 million US dollars (approximately 69 million euros) in an opaque corporate network. And foundations. In 2017 he transferred assets to his nephew – a very common practice to make it difficult for international authorities to access funds. There are also traces of diversions from Greif to Austria.
In 2020, Oberwaltersdorf, on the site of Magna’s European headquarters in Oberwaltersdorf, was demolished for about nine million euros: dealer Fontana Sportveranstaltungs GmbH, which owns 94 percent of the company. Investor Siegfried Wolf. The sale was completely legal and took place in accordance with all legal provisions.
Buyer of one of the Gray Sky GmbH properties in Baden. It is owned by a company in Liechtenstein. It states in the Department of the Treasury’s Benefit Register that it is designed to disclose the real beneficiaries of corporations, accounts, real estate, boats or jet aircraft.
The documents lead to Putin’s former vice president
The disclosure of the record was revealed by ICIJ’s data records, which can be traced back to at least 2019: according to them, the only shareholder in the company in Liechtenstein is a family-owned company in the Caribbean. Foundation in Liechtenstein. It is owned by Grill Androso.
Born in 1972, the Russian had a remarkable career: Putin’s former vice president, chairman of the Aeroflot Board and Russian State Railways from 2016/2017, and today an investor and professor of economics at Moscow University. According to the Pandora Papers, Androso has a close business relationship with Griffin’s family, now the licensed boss of the large Russian bank Sberbank. At Sberbank’s European headquarters in Vienna, Siegfried Wolf was chairman of the oversight committee until the end.
Not everyone involved responded to ORF and “profile” inquiries. The Oberwaltersdorf Municipality says they do not know who owns the property and what is being built there: “We have no information about the submission.” This is because there are already three to two storey building bombs. Property position, but significant.
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