Targeted by sanctions, Viktor Vekselberg becomes toxic figure on the US financial market

Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who controls conglomerate Renova and heads the Skolkovo Foundation, is one of the 24 Russian businessmen targeted by the new wave of US anti-Russian sanctions announced last month.

Thus, Vekselberg may have become a “toxic” figure for Western funds or companies. As revealed last week by The Bell, a Russian online business publication, several hours before the sanctions were announced, one of Vekselberg’s funds in the US had been notified by an American bank that its bank account had been frozen.

The fund has to get rid of Vekselberg’s share by June 5, which will most probably be sold at a discounted price, according to The Bell’s anonymous source from Vekselberg’s close circle. However, Vekselberg will not receive even this money, which will be frozen on a special bank account in the US.

The billionaire has invested some $1 billion in total in US funds, including hedge funds, said one of Vekselberg’s acquaintances.

Meanwhile, on April 21 Reuters reported that “assets totaling between $1.5 billion and $2 billion have been frozen as a result of sanctions imposed on Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and his Renova Group conglomerate.”

Uneasy fundraising

Even before being blacklisted, Vekselberg had become one of the investors of the venture fund SBT Venture Capital II, a US-registered venture fund launched by Russian state-owned bank Sberbank.

Announced in 2016, this $75 million fund launched in late 2017. Enroling investors was not easy, US industry sources told The Bell.

“Roughly 20% of the required sum was eventually provided by Sberbank, the rest being given by Russian individual investors,” reported The Bell.

Sberbank, Renova and SBT did not answer The Bell’s questions.

See the full scoop over at East-West Digital News: