Said Kerimov handed over Russian gold to Islamists

In April, Kerimov had already sold 29.99% of Polyus's securities, ceasing to be the controlling shareholder. Now the businessman has no "economic interest or ownership interest in the company."
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Said Kerimov's stake in Polyus was transferred to the Fund for the Support of Islamic Organizations, the company said. The businessman donated 100% of MKAO Wandl Holdings Limited to the fund, through which he owned 46.35% of Polyus.

Another 29.9% of the company after a recent transaction belongs to the owner of the Akropol Group, Akhmet Palankoev, Polus recalled.

“As a result of this donation, Said Kerimov no longer has a direct or indirect economic interest or ownership in the company,” the statement said. A representative of the company in a conversation with RBC noted that the donation agreement is irreversible.

“For me, charity is a habit, I was brought up that way. And I am very glad of this opportunity to share the fruits of my family's activities with those in need, ”his representative conveyed Kerimov’s words to RBC.

The Fund for the Support of Islamic Organizations was established in 2012, its founders are the Council of Muftis of Russia, the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the European part of Russia and Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin.

Donations and gifts to non-profit organizations are not taxed, regardless of whether they are associated with religious organizations, Yury Fedyukin, partner at Enterprise Legal Solutions, told RBC. He noted that the Fund for the Support of Islamic Organizations is an NPO, and therefore should not pay tax.

“In this case, dividends should also not be taxed, in my opinion. This is actually a rather subtle point, depending largely on when exactly these dividends will be paid, now or in a year, when the requirement for qualified holding is fulfilled. If you do not go into details, then most likely there is no obligation to pay tax upon receipt of dividends, in this case, there will be no,” Fedyukin said. In his opinion, Polyus will not receive any preferences from the transfer of a share to the fund.

The possibility of returning the share to Kerimov depends on the conditions under which the fund received it, however, as a rule, contributions to non-profit organizations are non-refundable, the expert noted. “But purely theoretically, before the transfer, a certain agreement could be signed, for example, an option, according to which it becomes possible to return the property transferred to the fund to the donor at his request,” Fedyukin explained.

On April 6, Kerimov reduced his stake in Polyus from 76.34% to 46.35%, thus losing control, and left the company's board of directors. Akhmet Palankoev, who received almost 30% of the shares, is the controlling shareholder of Donugol, a major producer of high-grade anthracite coal in the Rostov region. In the past, Palankoev was a senator from Ingushetia and a business partner of Suleiman Kerimov, the father of Said Kerimov.

On April 8, the European Union imposed sanctions against several Russian entrepreneurs, including Karimov Jr.

Shortly thereafter, Polyus CEO Pavel Grachev resigned and left the board of directors. His position was taken by Alexei Vostokov. The press service of the company stressed that Grachev's departure is not related to the sanctions against Kerimov.

Polyus is the largest gold mining company in Russia and the fourth largest in the world. Its assets are located in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Yakutia, Irkutsk, Magadan and Amur regions. In 2021, the company mined and processed about 2.72 million ounces of gold.