In conversation with RBC, Putin’s alleged former son-in-law, billionaire Kirill Shamalov, commented on a recent journalistic investigation alleging that he acquired hundreds of millions of dollars in shares in Russia’s largest petrochemical company (Sibur) for just $100.
The conditions for my participation in the program [Sibur’s incentive program for top management] didn’t differ from the conditions for […] other top managers. This circumstance allows [me] to focus public attention on the fact that any claims about the uniqueness of my position in the stock options program don’t correspond to reality, are speculative in nature, and aimed at discrediting my business reputation.
Previously, the head of Sibur, Dmitry Konov, confirmed that Shamalov did in fact pay just $100 for a 3.8 percent stake in the company, but he also maintained that the deal came with several conditions. Shamalov, like other top managers who participated in the program, took on a proportional share debt belonging to the company Themis Holdings, which owned Sibur shares.
In its report, the investigative outlet IStories wrote that Shamalov acquired the 3.8 percent stake in Sibur back in 2013, just months after his wedding to Putin’s alleged daughter, Katerina Tikhonova. Shamalov himself estimated the market value of his stake in Sibur at $380 million.
Shamalov later purchased an additional 17 percent stake in Sibur from Putin’s longtime friend, billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko. However, amid his divorce from Tikhonova in 2017, Shamalov sold the shares in Sibur that he had purchased from Timchenko, which, according to Bloomberg, he initially received as a guarantee of Putin’s trust.
During his annual press conference on December 17, Putin commented on the IStories investigation into Shamalov’s business dealings during his marriage to Tikhonova. He said that Shamalov’s emails were handed over to journalists by the U.S. State Department and called the investigation itself a “pastiche.” Putin noted that he had not read the investigative report in full.