What is known about the sponsor of the "Russian spy" Butina

The mysterious "sponsor" Maria Butina, which the US authorities are accused of illegally lobbying Russian interests, was Konstantin Nikolayev. This is an ex-partner of Arkady Rothenberg, Alexei Mordashov and Gennady Timchenko. He, together with the ex-head of the presidential administration of Russia, Alexander Voloshin, owns the energy company American Ethane.
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Last Saturday, the Washington Post published the name of a Russian, whom American security services associate with Maria Butina. In a 17-page memorandum on the pre-trial arrest of a Russian woman, a reference is made to the electronic correspondence of the girl, where a certain "sponsor" is mentioned. His name was not disclosed, but he was described as a "participant in the Forbes list" with a fortune of $ 1.2 billion.

According to the Washington Post, we are talking about businessman Konstantin Nikolayev. His condition this year, Forbes estimated at $ 1.1 billion. The US authorities have made a typo in the memorandum on the arrest of Butina? Perhaps not. The fact is that in addition to the final estimates of the state of billionaires once a year, the American edition of Forbes calculates their changes in real time. Apparently, last week, when Butin was detained, Nikolaev's condition due to the growth of shares of his companies amounted to $ 1.2 billion.

What is the sponsor of the "Russian spy" known for?
The name of Konstantin Nikolayev, who is considered one of the most non-public billionaires, began to be widely discussed in the press two weeks ago. Then he drew the attention of the journalists of The Guardian, who conducted an investigation together with the Dossier Center, aiming to find out who owns the little-known company American Ethane, which is developing an ethane deposit on the Gulf of Mexico coast. In November last year, in the presence of American leader Donald Trump and Chinese Xi Jinping, the company signed an agreement to supply ethane to China at a cost of $ 26 billion.

During the investigation it was found out that one of the co-investors of the company is Alexander Voloshin, the ex-head of the presidential administration of Russia. It was Konstantin Nikolaev, according to the publication, in 2014 lent Voloshin $ 1.25 million, which he bought 2.5% American Ethane. Nikolaev himself is on the board of directors of American Ethane. However, the basis of his condition is the group "N-Trans" and one of the largest railway transport operators Globaltrans, which he owns together with Nikita Mishin and Andrei Filatov. The partners own 34.5% of Globaltrans - 11.5% each. In March of this year, RBC wrote that Roman Trotsenko is negotiating the repurchase of the share of entrepreneurs in Globaltrans, which at that time was estimated at $ 770 million.

"N-Trans" was created in 1996 - then it was called "Severstalstrans" and was part of the structure of "Severstal". For a long time, Nikolaev, Mishin and Filatov (they were top managers of the company) owned 50%, the rest was owned by Alexei Mordashov F2. In April 2007, the partners bought out Mordashov's stake and renamed Severstalstrans to N-Trans. At that time, it united more than 20 companies operating in various sectors of transport business in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries. Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of President Vladimir Putin, was a partner of businessmen in the market of rail transportation of oil and oil products. Together with Timchenko, the shareholders of N-Transa were owned by Transoil and Balttransservice. However, in November 2011, the partnership ended: Timchenko withdrew from the capital of Baltransservis, simultaneously bringing his stake in Transoil to 93%, buying shares from Nikolaev and Mishin. Filatov remained a minority of Transoil.

Another partner of Vladimir Putin's Arkady Rothenberg was also a partner of the shareholders of N-Trance. Nikolayev and his partners were co-owners (all 31.55% of the former top managers of Mordashov owned) Marc O'Polo Investments, which was a shareholder of Mostotrest, one of the largest builders of Russia's road infrastructure. Until October 2014, another 68.45% stake in Marc O'Polo Investments was owned by Arkady Rothenberg. However, after the businessman was included in the US sanctions list, his son Igor became the owner of this share. In April 2015, Marc O'Polo Investment withdrew from the capital of Mostotrest, selling 38.63% of the contractor's shares to the NPF Blagosostoyanie.

In addition to American Ethane, Konstantin Nikolayev has other projects in the US. Together with Alexei Repik, Chairman of the Board of Directors of R-Pharm, Nikolaev invested in the Grabr start-up, which allows buying goods in exotic countries through travelers. Both entrepreneurs attended the inauguration of Donald Trump in January 2017, writes the Washington Post. However, the representative of Nikolaev in his comments for the publication said that he never met with Trump, refusing to answer other questions.