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Russian billionaire fears US provocation

August 01, 2014, 14:53 UTC+3 1 1/8
Despite having Finnish citizenship since the 1990s, he had made no trips from Russia to Europe in recent times, he says
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© ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Metzel

MOSCOW, August 1./ITAR-TASS/. Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, named in the US sanctions blacklist after Crimea was joined to Russia, said US secret services were masterminding a provocation against him.

"Alas, there are grounds to seriously fear a provocation from US special services. Believe me, it is not a supposition, but quite concrete information," Timchenko said in an interview with ITAR-TASS, giving no details.

"I cannot inform you about details for obvious reasons. But we are dealing with the matter," said the businessman, principal shareholder in one of Russian's leading private investment conglomerates.

Despite having Finnish citizenship since the 1990s, he had made no trips from Russia to Europe in recent times, he said. No formal obstacles existed preventing travel to Europe. But US influence on the European Union had made him give up travelling.

"Even today, I can take a flight to Paris, Geneva or London. I have many friends and partners abroad. They are not expected to allow any harm to come to me if something happens," said the businessman.

The United States imposed sanctions against Timchenko on April 28, barring him from entering the USand freezing American assets. Companies controlled by the businessman are also blacklisted.

Timchenko is main shareholder of Volga Group, one of Russia's major private investment houses. It owns stakes in 18 companies operating on Russian and international markets with strategic activities focussed on energy, transport and infrastructure projects principally in the Novatek, Sibur and Transoil companies and the STG group.

He sold his main assets 44% in Gunvor oil trader to partner Torbjorn Tornqvist a day before the sanctions were imposed.

"Even major private European banks are hostages of the world financial system, which is controlled by the United States," the entrepreneur said. "It can do what it wants and to whom it wants.

"The French are being actively persuaded to give up the contract to deliver Mistral ships to Russia, promising in exchange to lower the sum of fines on BNP Paribas for work with Iran, Sudan and Cuba.

"If to call things their names, it is outright blackmail," Timchenko said. "Without the slightest hesitation, they call directly from the (US) Department of State to top managers of European banks and dictate whom of Russians should have their accounts blocked. Many prefer not to risk, and follow the overseas partners' advice".

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