The Troika Laundromat channeled billions of dollars out of Russia. It was partly a money laundering system, but it also helped well-connected Russian politicians and business people avoid taxes and conduct transactions outside the public and regulatory realm. The scheme was detailed in a large set of leaked banking transactions and other documents obtained by OCCRP and the Lithuanian news site 15min.lt.
More than 2,000 people and companies received and sent money through the Troika Laundromat from 2006 through early 2013. The following profiles detail a few of the most noteworthy names found within the Laundromat’s complex financial web. The transactions aren’t necessarily illegal, but their lack of transparency makes that difficult to determine.
Alexander Chistyakov is the executive chairman of RusPetro, an oil and gas producer operating in Siberia. In the 1990s, he worked as the deputy director of investment management at Menatep Bank, which was involved in Russia’s notorious loans-for-shares program during the post-Soviet mass privatization of state-owned assets.
Bombardier is a market-leading manufacturer of private jets with over 4,700 aircraft in operation across 115 countries. It is based in Montreal.
The elite British private school Charterhouse, founded in 1611, bills itself as “one of the great historic public schools of England.” (In the United Kingdom, the term “public schools” refers to private establishments.) Laundromat.
Mishcon de Reya, a U.K. corporate law firm, received direct payments from Quantus Division Ltd., a British Virgin Islands (BVI) company at the core of the Troika Laundromat.
Russian economist and banker Pavel Teplukhin worked with Ruben Vardanyan in the early 1990s as their private investment bank, Troika Dialog, grew. He was a co-founder and partner of the bank and worked there for 19 years, eventually becoming managing director and chairman of the board.
Ravenscourt Holdings Ltd. was a Cyprus shell company within the Troika Dialog group and later Sberbank, after it acquired Troika. Leaked data from Lithuania’s Ukio Bankas reveals that Ravenscourt also was part of a financial pipeline that funneled more than US$50 million into the Troika Laundromat.
Ruben Vardanyan is a Russian investment banker, social entrepreneur, philanthropist and has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was also the president, chief executive officer, and principal partner of Troika Dialog, which grew to become Russia’s largest investment bank.
Sergei Roldugin is a Russian cellist and one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest friends. He was dubbed “the secret caretaker” of Putin’s wealth after the Panama Papers shed light on the musician’s offshore companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Tatev Revival Project is a US$50 million venture supported by Russian investment banker Ruben Vardanyan to reconstruct a 9th century monastery in Armenia, the country of his birth, and to develop the surrounding community.
The history of the Church of the Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Santa Caterina Martire) goes back to the late 19th century, when the idea of building a Russian Orthodox church in Rome was proposed. The plan was thwarted by the Russian Revolution in 1917, followed by 70 years of communism. It was revived in the 1990s, and the church was finally consecrated in 2009.
Tredwell Marketing Ltd. is an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands that was allegedly used in the tax fraud scheme uncovered by Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison in 2009.
This Cyprus law firm offers what it calls a “holistic range” of audit, tax, accounting, legal, consulting, and financial advisory services to international companies.
Former Russian Senator Valentin Zavadnikov’s twin interests — sailing and business — both intersected with the Troika Laundromat.
The Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) calls itself the “International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation” and says it strives to uphold “the highest standards of governance.” Every year in Davos, Switzerland, the WEF hosts a heavily publicized meeting of global political and business leaders.
The Troika Laundromat supported an Armenian lifestyle magazine started by Gor Nakhapetyan, founding partner of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo and a former managing director and vice president at Sberbank CIB, a subsidiary of Sberbank.