Zelensky and Ukrainian oligarchs doing business in Russia during the conflict: report

Moscow: In the context of the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, calls for foreign companies to leave the Russian market are not silent. Ukrainian oligarchs and big businessmen publicly declare that they no longer have assets in Russia. But in fact, part of the establishment continues to control business in the Russian Federation through proxies and offshore companies, according to a news outlet.

Among them are not only the names of Ukrainian Forbes, but also President Vladimir Zelensky, according to the RT News report.

Ukrainian business media estimate the number of prominent Ukrainian businessmen doing business in Russia at hundreds of names. One of them sounds particularly strong in the current situation – Zelensky.

So, in Russia, LLC Green Films and Platinumfilm continue to operate and receive income. These companies, founded by Ukraine’s current president and his comrades in 2012, are responsible for the distribution, rental income and royalties of Kvartal 95’s comedy shows and movies, RT reported.

Green Films has submitted its latest financial statements for 2020 only. Then his income amounted to 55.7 million rubles, according to Rosstat. Platinumfilm recorded no revenue in 2020.

The Kontur Focus service shows that the two Russian companies belong to the Cypriot Green Family LTD. The Cypriot offshore, meanwhile, was owned by Zelensky himself by a quarter before the start of his presidential career, the Register of Legal Entities in Cyprus shows.

In 2019, Zelensky got rid of his share, splitting it between Kvartal 95 colleague Andrey Yakovlev and British Virgin Islands offshore company Appex International. This is evidenced by excerpts from the Cyprus Commercial Register received by RT. However, circumstantial evidence suggests that Zelensky retains control of the film production business through his closest associates, brothers Sergei and Boris Shefirov, as well as Timur Mindich, RT reported.

The co-founders of Kvartal 95, the Shefir brothers, each continue to control 15% of the share capital of the Cypriot legal person, according to a new extract from the register. Both are the founders of Kvartal 95 and have known Zelensky since 1995, when the KVN festival was held in his native Krivoy Rog.

Since then, Zelensky and the Shefirs have not parted – they lived in Moscow in the same apartment, worked together on KVN, founded Kvartal 95 together. Zelensky publicly repeatedly called Sergei Shefir his friend. And the day after he took office as president in May 2019, Zelensky appointed a friend as first aide, RT reported.

Timur Mindich, the owner of the Virginian company Appex, is no less close to Zelensky. The fact that Appex International is owned by Mindych has been repeatedly written about by authoritative Ukrainian media. Thanks to this offshore, Mindich received most of Zelensky’s former share and became the 50% owner of Green Family, which receives income from Russian rentals.

The Russian, German and Ukrainian press call Mindych the man of oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, whom Kolomoisky himself allegedly “identified” as Zelensky’s entourage, RT reported.

The degree of closeness between Zelensky and Mindych can be judged, for example, by the fact that the Ukrainian presidential candidate drove Mindych’s car.

Mindich has close cultural and business ties to Russia – he is married to the daughter of Alla Verber, the founder of the Mercury jewelry house. Werber worked as creative director of TSUM until her death and, according to Vogue, had many contacts within the Russian establishment.

And blogger Sergei (Zergulio) Kolyasnikov, shortly after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, said that Zelensky’s mother-in-law and wife continued to receive income from the rental of real estate in Moscow . According to the blogger, they are the owners of two business-class apartments – one in the Tushino region, the other on the Varshavskoye highway, RT reported.

Amanda J. Marsh