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Gunvor dismisses reports of US money-laundering investigation

November 06, 2014, 13:11 UTC+3
Gunvor has not been informed of an investigation against the company, this is an ungrounded rumor, spokesman Seth Pietras said
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Savostianov

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Oil-trading company Gunvor Group, co-founded by Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, dismissed Thursday media reports of a US money-laundering investigation against it as rumors.

“Gunvor has not been informed of an investigation against the company. The company was hit in a political skirmish. We cannot comment on investigation against Mr. Timchenko,” official spokesman Seth Pietras told TASS.

“In regard to Gunvor, all this is ungrounded rumor, and in the best case, rumor through second or third hands,” the spokesman added.

Gunvor Group has not been buying oil from Russia's Rosneft for more than two years, official spokesman said on Thursday. “Gunvor has not been buying oil from Rosneft for more than two years. As for Gennady Timchenko’s participation in the company, he was only a shareholder and has never been a member of the board of directors,” spokesman Seth Pietras told TASS.

The spokesman also said Timchenko’s family members and representatives are not members of the board. “As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has never owned shares of the company. He is not Gunvor’s beneficiary, directly or indirectly,” he said.

Investigation into Gunvor activities

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that US prosecutors have launched a money-laundering investigation against a Cyprus-registered Gunvor Group, the world’s fourth largest crude oil trader.

US prosecutors are investigating whether Timchenko “transferred funds linked to allegedly corrupt deals” through the US financial system, the report said citing sources familiar with the efforts.

In particular, the probe has been launched into transactions in which Gunvor Group purchased oil from Russia’s Rosneft company and later sold it to third parties, the sources said.

Businessman Timchenko sold his 44% stake in the company to his Swedish partner Torbjorn Tornqvist in March 2014, just a day before he was placed on the US sanctions list.

Timchenko was among the first Russian businessmen targeted by the US sanctions, in particular asset freezes and visa bans, as part of Washington’s efforts to punish Russia for its stance in the Ukrainian conflict.

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