Andrei Kostin: Russia’s most powerful financier and you may employer off ‘Putin’s piggy bank’ defies new oligarch sterotypes

Andrei Kostin: Russia’s most powerful financier and you may employer off ‘Putin’s piggy bank’ defies new oligarch sterotypes

History fall, Kostin surprised buyers about West by approaching customers in the an excellent gala dinner away from Moscow’s huge all over the world banking fulfilling dressed up due to the fact Joseph Stalin

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Conjure up a picture of Russia’s strongest banker, running an organization at the mercy of west sanctions and you can accused in certain house of being Vladmir Putin’s piggy-bank.

We believe you’ll photo a severe searching, wall-molded politburo bruiser in black match, black colored styles and bushy eyebrows flanked by the good bodyguard or one or two. Their workplace create, We suspect, feel an enormous, oak-panelled jobs from inside the a gray, Stalinist concrete slab by Kremlin. A great portrait out of Putin do ray benignly down of over the wider, mahogany desk.

Andrei Kostin, boss of one’s state-controlled VTB financial, greets their anyone that have a good beaming laugh, an open-necked top and you will a great cheery handshake. He could be mischievous, like other strong Russians. Past trip the guy shocked buyers throughout the West by handling customers in the an effective gala dinner off Moscow’s huge global banking fulfilling outfitted as the Joseph Stalin.

His English is good, along with his work environment – into 58th flooring regarding a cup and you can steel surge inside the Moscow’s economic region – is actually white and you may airy, offering modern Russian artworks. Huge screen tie several edges of one’s space, apparently considering the hub of the city and also the monumental Russian Light House government building. We say “apparently”, since when I visit, everything you can see was heavy white snowflakes and you will fog. It’s particularly keeping your head into the a great feather support.

VTB strike the statements here in the uk during the Oleg Deripaska’s London flotation out of his aluminum and effort behemoth En+. Among the many criticisms of drift was one to money increased out of British pension fund would be repaying finance due to VTB, a sanctioned entity because the Russia’s ‘adventures’ inside Ukraine. The fresh grievance was such as for example reducing just like the VTB might have been accused from the critics regarding financing currency in order to customers for the instructions of the Kremlin.

It’s a claim Kostin – whom a competition banker identifies while the “good survivor” being running the financial institution to possess fifteen years – vehemently denies. “Never!” he states. “Bullsh*t. That’s bullsh*t, positively bullsh*t. There has not ever been just one instance whenever Mr Putin titled me personally and you may claims ‘provide that loan.’ Though he asked, I’m able to pick a hundred reason why they shouldn’t be over.”

For the a comparable vein, a great VTB part, RCB, is actually famously implicated from the reporters exploring the Panama Paperwork out-of mysteriously financing hundreds of millions regarding bucks to help you a great cellist pal from Putin, having account claiming the cash try funnelled due to a good $2bn offshore network. Assumptions were made – and you can denied – this particular is Putin’s dollars. Once again, Kostin says VTB’s hands is clean: “Ha! That was a beneficial tale: in the event the Panama Documents have been authored new journalists all expected: ‘Ooh, where try Putin’s money, where could it be? In the Panama Paperwork, whose currency is discovered? [David] Cameron’s and you will [Ukrainain president Petro] Poroschenko’s. Maybe not an individual Russian senior authoritative.”

The guy jovially heating to help you their theme: “Following, this new Paradise Papers was had written: maybe not an individual Russian elder formal are mentioned. But who was? The new Queen out of The uk! Unfortunately they, as I enjoy their. Oh, while the minister from business about Us [Wilbur Ross]. Zero Russian senior officials.”


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Cynics often suggest right here that Ross’s starring character on Paradise Papers are as it shown him investing in a delivery business having backlinks so you’re able to a Moscow-created team whose investors provided Putin’s friend and you can judo mate Gennady Timchenko and you will son-in-law Kirill Shamalov, but truth be told there you decide to go.

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