Yesterday, the domestic billionaire Roman Abramovich was a real symbol of London City, a community of rich Russians living in the British capital. He invested a lot of effort and money to turn the “new Russians” into “global Russians”. But in the end, the gold chains collapsed, and in their place appeared football clubs, art galleries and cool parties. Life was in full swing, and nobody spared money for it.
Traces of the former luxury of Roman Abramovich can still be found. So, the weekly English newspaper Jewish Chronicle in a recent article described in detail about the next of his royal gifts. A citizen of London is donating £ 30.5 million to the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London (Imperial War Museum (IWM). The purpose of the donation is to bring awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust to a new level.
The creators of the gallery promise to open it in 2021. But there is reason to believe that the rich patron of the festival will not be allowed: since spring 2018, Roman Arkadyevich has avoided appearing in London, since the “Londoner”, whose fortune is estimated at almost $ 15 billion, does not give a British visa.
Because of this, according to the media, Roman Abramovich even had to urgently apply for Israeli citizenship, which allows him to enter Britain for up to six months without a visa.
According to the news agency Bloomberg, the problem of Roman Abramovich is explained by the presence of dangerous connections. “I have friends in the Kremlin, or they were there,” he confessed in an interview given to the agency in 2003. Now this recognition makes Roman Abramovich toxic. But it's not just about politics. As it turned out, even before the history of the British visa, Abramovich was denied a residence permit in Switzerland. This country has its own accounts with a Russian oligarch.
The connections mentioned by Roman Abramovich in an interview with Bloomberg come from the distant 1990s, during the times of another government and a completely different president. But they are directly related to Switzerland. In December 1994, the oil trading company Runicom was registered in Geneva, whose Moscow office was headed by a young and unknown Roman Abramovich. The origin of Runicom is shrouded in mist (in 1997, the company even moved its headquarters from Geneva to Friborg - a town located in the west of the country, not prone to presenting information about the founders of firms).
In Western studies, Runicom is usually associated with the name of Bruce Rapport and the Valmet group of companies. This name and the name are now very few people known (Rapport died in 2010), but at one time they “rattled” in the pages of the Russian press in connection with the events of 1998.
For the Western world, Bruce Rapport is better known for his involvement in the “dark” deals of the second half of the 20th century. Along with him, the names of the heads of special services and the heads of drug cartels usually surfaced. All of them were systemic elements of the Russian market model based on commodity monopolies formed in the early 1990s, with an unknown number of real owners subordinate to essentially offshore trading companies and built into the system of political power. Bruce Rapport himself appeared in the Soviet Union back in 1991 with the proposal to create a monopoly and give him the export of Soviet vessels. After that, all Soviet merchant ships dissolved in offshore jurisdictions.
The names of the beneficiaries of Runicom remained obscure, but the company became the main trader of Sibneft, which was created on the basis of assets, the names of which few people talked about. But then thirty-year-old Roman Abramovich moved from the chair of the head of the Moscow office of Runikom to the office of Sibneft. And then, after the grand scandal with the accounts of the family of Boris Yeltsin and the ties of the same family with the privatization of Sibneft, Roman Abramovich went under the protection of the State Duma, after which he went away from the capital's bustle - to Chukotka as governor. Abramovich returned to London only in 2003, after the liquidation of the very Runicom in Switzerland, and the sale of Sibneft began. At first, an attempt was made to sell it to Yukos in order to create a huge private monopoly, but Sibneft went to Gazprom for an unprecedented 14.1 billion dollars for that time. All these operations were carried out in the British legal field with the full support of local regulators, and despite the fact that the British had comprehensive information about the origin of Sibneft.
According to the British special services, which Novaya Gazeta referred to in 2001, “as a result of Abramovich’s fraudulent actions during the privatization of the federal property of Sibneft OJSC in 1995-1997, the Russian state received less than $ 2.7 billion.”
And in 2011, the fact that the auction for the privatization of Sibneft was a fiction was recognized in a British court by Roman Abramovich himself, who named the people who organized the entire operation - Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili.
By this time, Bruce Rappoport was already dead, and after a while Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili left for another world. In the history, it would seem, put an end.
But the point was only a comma. The fact is that the story of Roman Abramovich with visas and residence permits unfolded against the background of a lawsuit. In May 2018, news appeared on the news that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) filed a lawsuit in the Swiss city of Friborg regarding the debt of the company Runicom. Recall that Runicom has not existed for fifteen years. Accordingly, the defendants in the lawsuit are Roman Abramovich (the then head of the company's Moscow office), Evgeny Shvidler (who headed the office in New York at that time) and Gazpromneft (as the successor of Sibneft).
The amount of the claim was initially $ 17 million, but then rose to $ 46 million. It is unlikely that it could ruin two billionaires and the largest oil concern. But something suggests that the lawsuit was filed not only for financial purposes. And, maybe, at all not in financial. The political nature of the conflict is beyond doubt - this means that all skeletons will be taken from the cabinets, all documents will be lifted from the archives, and no one will be reckoned with costs. Given how complex and controversial the history of the emergence of Russian capitalism turned out to be, this puts all the so-called “global Russians” at risk. The choice of which is limited, in fact, in two places - conditional Chukotka and completely real Israel.