Mikhail Watford's sudden suicide in London may be related to the distribution of Ukrnafta’s assets, which was supposed to be completed by the end of 2021 but apparently, is postponed again.
The distribution of Ukrnafta's assets was planned to be completed by the end of 2021, but it did not happen. At present, it is completely unclear what and when will have to be divided.
Igor Kolomoysky controls Ukrnafta despite the fact that 50%+1 share belongs to the Naftogaz state company. Businesses of the “great Ukrainian oligarch-combinator” established control over Naftogaz back in 2003, and since then they have been holding it using various legal tricks. Eventually, Ukraine's state authorities stopped trying to take control of the enterprise and agreed to share its assets with Igor Kolomoysky in 2018.
“By New Year's Eve we should have already split up,” Igor Kolomoisky said.
However, no concrete decisions were made at the meeting of shareholders which took place on February 17, 2022.
The thing is as good as done
11 days later, on February 28, 2022, police found the body of Mikhail Watford whose neighbors simply called him Misha in the garage of Wentworth Estate near London.
It is no coincidence that the British businessman Mikhail Watford was formerly a Soviet citizen, Mikhail Tolstosheya, a former employee of the Soyuzgosskirk. To be on the safe side, he became a British citizen and changed his last name but, apparently, this did not help him at all. The circumstances of Tolstosheya-Watford's death are surprisingly similar to what happened to another “British citizen” Boris Berezovsky. As Watford's neighbor told the British tabloid Sun, the deceased considered himself a buddy of Boris Berezovsky, who had been expressing concern for his life for the past two years before hung himself in 2013.
The expert community is well aware of how a hanging can be staged without a hitch. There have been several such suspicious incidents in Britain, the first being that of “God's banker” Robert Calvi who headed Italy's largest private bank, Banco Ambrosiano, where the Vatican held its accounts. This did not save the credit institution from bankruptcy and the banker himself from death. On June 18, 1982, his body was discovered under Blackfriars Bridge in London, where the banker had fled from imminent death in Italy. Experts were not able to provide evidence of a violent death until many years later, in 2007. However, in reality, no one was held responsible for this murder.
This time, the police also showed no interest in the circumstances of Misha's death. On the same day, according to the documents, he resigned as CEO of Dormy house flat c limited, which, judging by the name, owned the apartment.
The house itself, in which Tolstosheya's body was apparently found, is currently for sale. How can the mysterious circumstances of Mikhail Tolstosheya's death be related to the distribution of Ukrnafta's assets?
Igor Kolomoysky explains the failure to split Ukrnafta's assets by the fact that “journalists stirred the pot, saying that Kolomoysky, as usual, took all the best, leaving the state some dirt.”
The list of “some dirty things” that went to the state after the distribution of assets contained the oil and gas administrations in western Ukraine that had become part of Ukrnafta thanks to the activities of... Mikhail Watford.
Back in September 1996, he registered in London the company he named Watford Petroleum Limited. In the founding documents of this company, Watford called himself a Russian (not Ukrainian) by nationality and specified Great Britain as the country of residence. In the same document, Watford's occupation was indicated as oil trader.
The next year, Watford got in the midst of a wave of deals involving the privatization of oil assets in western Ukraine. As a result of his vigorous activity, the former circus administrator Misha found himself at the turn of the century as one of the key operators in supplying and refining oil to Ukrainian refineries.
This rapid ascent in Ukraine was attributed to Tolstosheya's ties with Igor Palitsa, a future protégé of Igor Kolomoisky.
Misha tried to play his own role in this story. Having bought on occasion 12% of shares of Naftokhimik Prykarpattya (the corporate avatar of the Nadvirna Oil Refinery), he was given control of the state-owned stake in the company and managed it until the Privat group of companies showed up as shareholders. Trying to protect his interests Mikhail Watford accused Privatbank of money laundering, but very soon he lost his deal. The shares of Watford Petroleum Ukraine were written off from oil companies' accounts in the presence of its owner right at the notary in Dnepropetrovsk.
It remains unclear who else was next to the owner of the shares at that moment, providing consent for such write-off.
Nevertheless, comparisons of Privatbank with a “laundry” were voiced more and more often and were even used to prevent Privat Group from participating in the auction for the sale of 50% + 1 share in Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant. Victor Pinchuk, whose companies paid $76.9 mln for 50% + 1 share in Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant, used the charges then, while Privatbank offered $110 mln for the same share.
Igor Kolomoisky had a long fight with Victor Pinchuk in London, so Mikhail Watford had every reason to worry about his life simply because the past could catch up with him at any moment. Which, apparently, it did.