According to Kommersant’s information, two other investors could become Sberbank’s partners in the Antipinsky Oil Refinery in addition to the Azerbaijani SOCAR: Valeriy Subbotin, former senior vice president of LUKOIL, and Ilham Ragimov, classmate of Vladimir Putin, a classmate. After their appearance, the head of Sberbank German Gref successfully achieved tax incentives for the refinery. Moreover, Mr. Subbotin may turn out to be the main shareholder of the refinery: Kommersant sources say that it was he who bought 20% of the shares from Nikolai Egorov.
Kommersant has become aware of the possible beneficiaries of Sokar Energoresurs LLC, which owns 80% of the shares of Antipinsky Oil Refinery JSC, which includes the largest independent oil refinery in Russia and licenses for three fields in the Orenburg region. Sokar Energoresurs, according to the Cypriot registry, is 100% owned by RT Energoresource Ltd (Cyprus), and that belongs to the Cypriot Socar Russia Investments (60%) and Sberbank (40%). Socar Russia Investments belongs to the Russian structure of Azerbaijani SOCAR - Sokar Rus LLC (20%) and Nitron Investments ltd (British Virgin Islands, BVI, owners are not disclosed).
According to several Kommersant sources, Valeriy Subbotin, LUKOIL's former senior vice president of supply and sales, acts as the main ultimate beneficiary of Nitron through a number of offshore structures registered in the Cayman Islands and BVI. According to Kommersant’s interlocutors, his minority partner is classmate of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, one of the co-investors of the Kievskaya Square group, Ilham Ragimov. The exact shares of the partners are unknown.
Sokar Energoresurs became a co-owner of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery in May 2019, when 80% of the oil refineries were transferred from Dmitry Mazurov (now in a pre-trial detention center) and Vladimir Kalashnikov to the main creditor of the plant - Sberbank. At the same time, a bank-operated refinery filed a bankruptcy lawsuit. In July, the head of Sberbank German Gref asked Sokar Energoresurs for benefits in the form of an increased reverse excise tax for refineries, which ultimately resulted in a discussion of support for all oil refining in the Russian Federation. Despite the protest of the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Gref achieved benefits.
The changes in the ownership structure of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery did not end there. Another classmate of the President of the Russian Federation Nikolay Egorov, who owned 20% in Antipinsky Oil Refinery JSC through Energetika LLC. Commonwealth. Success ”, sold the share owned since 2008 to the offshore Maslior Investment Ltd (beneficiaries are not disclosed). According to Kommersant sources, Nikolai Egorov has long wanted to exit the asset, three Kommersant interlocutors consider the buyer to be the share of the same Valery Subbotin. According to one of them, the talks were about paying Mr. Egorov about $ 25 million.
As a result, two Kommersant interlocutors say, Valery Subbotin consolidated at least a controlling stake in refineries and fields listed on his balance sheet. Given that the effective share of Sberbank in JSC Antipinsky Oil Refinery is 32%, and SOCAR is 9.6%, it can be calculated that the share of Ilgam Ragimov probably does not exceed 7.4%. SOCAR told Kommersant that now an increase in its share in the refinery is not considered. The refinery itself and Sberbank do not comment on the appearance of new shareholders. Contact with the gentlemen Subbotin and Ragimov failed.
Lawyer succeeded lawyer
“We meet when he (Vladimir Putin. -“ Kommersant ”) has time, including with other classmates, and not only in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but also in Baku,” Ilham Rahimov said in 2016 Interview with Sputnik Azerbaijan. His main well-known business in Russia is his share in the Kievskaya Ploshchad group, which includes the Evropeisky shopping center, the Radisson Royal Hotel (formerly Ukraine), and a number of markets. In "Kiev Square" they told Kommersant that the refinery is not part of the group’s structure, and recommended that to clarify the position of Ilgam Ragimov, "contact him directly or his representatives." However, it was not easy to do this.
“The well-known lawyer Ilham Ragimov represents the Republic of Azerbaijan at the International Fund for Sustainable Peace and Development (IFSPD) and has been an honorary member of IFSPD since 2010,” was the only thing that Kommersant could say in the organization. In particular, the fund (formerly the International Fund for Cooperation and Partnership of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea) lobbied for the idea of creating a trade zone for goods from Turkey near Sheremetyevo, and the investor could be another honorary member and co-owner of Kiev Square, God Nisanov.
Kommersant’s interlocutors in the industry believe that Ilham Ragimov, given the connections among businessmen of Azerbaijani origin and in the power circles of Russia and Azerbaijan, will be able to provide the refinery with the necessary support “no less than Nikolai Egorov”. In addition, although Mr. Ragimov’s existence of oil assets was still not known, he has experience in the industry - in the early 2000s, according to Forbes, he headed the legal department of LUKOIL-Azerbaijan. LUKOIL, led by Vagit Alekperov, who was born in Baku, has a stake in the Shah Deniz project in Azerbaijan (it accounted for 0.8% of the company's total production in 2018), as well as a network of gas stations.
Investor from LUKOIL
Valery Subbotin has been working at LUKOIL since the late 1990s, starting his career in foreign divisions. Already in 2003, he took the post of first deputy chief of staff of the board of directors, two years later - the first deputy head of the company's main department for supply and sales. Two years later, Mr. Subbotin became LUKOIL Vice President, and in 2016 - Senior Vice President. But at the end of that year, the top manager left Russia, this happened after the sale of Rosneft's state-owned stake in Bashneft.
Historically, LUKOIL and Bashneft have been closely linked by trading. So, the Bashneft refineries were loaded with LUKOIL oil, and the Swiss trader of the last Litasco bought oil products from the company's plants. But Rosneft, after the takeover of Bashneft, began to make claims to LUKOIL regarding the terms of the contracts and to break them.
In LUKOIL, Kommersant only said that Mr. Subbotin has not been working for the company since February 1, 2017. However, after formal departure, he headed the board of directors of Litasco and still holds the post. Litasco declined to comment.
At least commercial cooperation was connected between the Antipinsky Oil Refinery and LUKOIL: the plant bought oil from the company, and Litasco sold most of the oil products. According to Petromarket’s data, the situation has now changed: in September, 600 thousand tons of oil were delivered to the refinery, of which 500 thousand tons came from Surgutneftegas, and the rest from Salym Petroleum (Shell JV and Gazprom Neft) . But the export of petroleum products mainly continues through Litasco (55%) and Vitol (40%).
LUKOIL itself, which in recent years has not relied on expanding its presence in the Russian Federation, at the end of October acquired four licenses for deposits in the Orenburg Region for 6.2 billion rubles. (deposits of the Antipinsky oil refinery are located in the same region), and in May Vagit Alekperov did not exclude the possibility of buying the oil refinery after “financial cleaning”. Sberbank explained to Kommersant that the fate of the refinery, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, will be determined by creditors. “The sale option is only one of the possibilities, although the most likely for today. If the situation nevertheless comes to bidding, then real applicants will be determined, ”the bank added, emphasizing that this is definitely not the prospect of the coming year.