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Russian tycoon Timchenko confident of Gunvor’s legitimate activities — spokesman

November 06, 2014, 16:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Since March 2014, Gennady Timchenko has not had any relation to the Gunvor Group

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Gennady Timchenko

Gennady Timchenko

© ITAR-TASS/Vyacheslav Prokofyev

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Russian businessman and public figure Gennady Timchenko is convinced that the activity of oil-trading company Gunvor Group is fully legitimate, his official spokesman said on Thursday.

“Since March 2014, Gennady Timchenko has not had any relation to the Gunvor company. Until that moment, he was one of its shareholders, with no involvement to the trader’s operating activity and not being part of its management,” spokesman Anton Kurevin said.

The spokesman stressed that Timchenko “has always paid attention to the juridical perfection of Gunvor’s operations and is sure that the company’s activity is fully legitimate.”

The comment comes following a report by the Wall Street Journal that US prosecutors have launched a money-laundering investigation against Timchenko, the co-founder of the Cyprus-registered Gunvor Group, the world’s fourth largest crude oil trader.

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 report said citing sources familiar with the efforts.

“Gennady Timchenko is not familiar with the investigation conducted by the prosecutors or any other investigating authorities in the US against his activity. He has not received any official reports on this issue,” he said.

Timchenko’s business activity has been always in line with the legislation and since 1989 there has been no judicial decision in Russia or abroad which could question “high standards of this professional conduct,” the spokesman stressed.

Until March 2014, Gunvor had two main shareholders - Timchenko and his Swedish partner Torbjorn Tornqvist - each of whom owned a 44% stake. The remaining stake was shared between other executives.

The Wall Street Journal report does not provide any specific facts confirming the allegations, the spokesman said, adding: “That’s why in fact there are no grounds to controvert this material.”

“We can only call for the utmost caution in regard to the mentioned stance, taking into account the political environment concerning Russian business in US mass media,” Kurevin 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.

Earlier in the day, official spokesman for Gunvor Group, Seth Pietras, dismissed media reports of a US money-laundering investigation against the company as rumors.

Gunvor Group has not been buying oil from Russia's Rosneft for more than two years, the spokesman said.

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