The online newspaper Moscow Post has published the story about a possible sale of an equity stake in En+ Group by Polina Yumasheva, ex-spouse of Oleg Deripaska, to none other than Vladimir Potanin who is an old opponent of Deripaska.
Oleg Deripaska's ex-wife might sell her stake in En+ Group to his old opponent Vladimir Potanin. Are things going very badly for En+?
The Moscow Post reported that Polina Yumasheva, the former wife of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and her father Valentin Yumashev (former chief of staff of President Yeltsin) are negotiating the sale of their stake in En+ Group. In total, they own about 6.7% of shares. The remaining 3.4% belong to Oleg and Polina’s children.
En+, an aluminum and electricity producer with assets in power engineering and nonferrous metallurgy is among the core businesses of scandalous oligarch Deripaska. His ex-wife's desire to get rid of her share means that the company has not been faring well.
Does Polina Yumasheva know something about the future of En+ that nobody else knows? In any case, Deripaska is in a very difficult position now. The U.S. imposed sanctions on his company. The oligarch managed to slip this punch by reducing his share significantly, however, he lost the controlling stake.
On top of that, Moscow Post sources said that Yumasheva might sell these 6.7% to another billionaire, Vladimir Potanin. In this case, his Interros will get an important advantage over Oleg Deripaska's Rusal in the fight for Norilsk Nickel.
Did Deripaska hurt his ex so bad that she is openly siding with his opponents?
Worn to The Bone and Left Alone
However, he could have made problems for others, too. Despite the fact that En+ is no longer under sanctions, it hardly helped the oligarch. His financial and industrial empire is bulging at the seams and thousands of his employees can lose their jobs.
It is difficult to find authentic financial statements on company assets, but the holding’s management structure is clearly experiencing hard times.
Rumor has it that the Russian leadership, too, is dissatisfied with Deripaska who is involved in a number of Russian and international scandals.
One of them broke out just a few weeks ago. It turned out that Deripaska started to sponsor the rugby team RC Kuban from Krasnodar, but his project did not last long.
In the first six months, the oligarch made a real contribution as he hired an Irish coach and New Zealand players for the club. Then he apparently changed his mind leaving the club without money and dashing the hopes of its coaches and players to participate in the Russian championship.
The sponsor refused to provide a stadium and gyms to the team and kept changing his plans and agreements. As a result, all the coaches and six New Zelanders left. Instead of going to Siberia for Russian championship matches, they went home, as the Argumenty Nedeli reported.
Of course, foreign players and coaches were outraged by the Russian sponsor’s behavior and went public about it. As a result of Deripaska's “scam”, the club failed to fulfill the terms of the contracts with skilled international athletes whom they had enticed for a long time.
Much to their displeasure, Oleg Deripaska let the notorious former Timiryazev agricultural academy rector Galina Zolina be in charge of his rugby track. It is rumored that Deripaska and Galina are old friends.
In September 2018, she resigned her post at the Timiryazev Academy. They say she was kicked out in disgrace after she failed her doctoral thesis. At that time, the media wrote that academy students and professors sighed with relief: at long last, Zolina would be replaced with an expert with a research background. Such is Deripaska’s human resources policy.
Also, Deripaska’s attacks on the Central Bank of the Russian Federation might imply negative prospects for his En+. He recently stated at the Eastern Economic Forum that Russia's justice system and a lack of independent banking system slowed down the country’s economic growth.
According to the businessman, the transformation of the Central Bank into a "mega-regulator" has not worked out well, and the professionalism of Russian judges is of concern to him. His remarks, carried by the Kommersant daily, were actually a blatant attack on the Russian authorities.
Experts believe that Deripaska is worried not about the Russian economic situation or justice system, but problems with the Soyuz bank whose controlling stake previously belonged to his companies.
Due to the bank’s poor financial performance and non-compliance with regulations, the Central Bank ordered the reorganization of Soyuz. Finansresurs, which was a part of Basel and owned 99% of the bank's shares, was forced to sell 75% of its shares to Gazprom for a giveaway price.
The company InVestPolis, affiliated with Deripaska’s Basel, did not even receive the blocking shares after the bank’s reorganization, and was left with a 24% percent stake. Later on, Gazprom withdrew from the bank and passed the assets to the Deposit Insurance Agency.
Following the reorganization and change of hands, Deripaska's structures were again among the major shareholders of Soyuz, in particular the Ingosstrakh insurance company but this time, it had no controlling stake... Not surprisingly, the oligarch had a grudge against the Central Bank.
The oligarch started complaining about Central Bank’s turning into a “mega-regulator” and killing competition. Let Deripaska’s failure to take care of Soyuz's fiscal health and depositors' money beforehand remain on his conscience.
Oligarch Not Thinking about Retirement?
Oleg Deripaska is quite "famous" for taking care of Russians’ pension savings. In a recent juicy scandal, the Investigative Committee launched an investigation into attempted fraud after the Pension Fund had transferred people’s savings to non-governmental organizations without notification.
These included the Sotsium National Pension Fund, previously owned by Deripaska. Up to 500,000 people might have been affected with damages reaching billions of rubles.
The oligarch seems to have distanced himself from Sotsium and related scandals. By a surprising coincidence, Ekaterina Shishkina, a member of the Board of Directors and Director General of Ingosstrakh Pensia, co-owned by Deripaska, has been Sotsium NPF Director General since August 2014.
Does it mean that the oligarch still runs Sotsium which is bringing in thousands of pension savings in possibly fraudulent schemes?
Pensioners must think well before trusting their money to Sotsium given its bad record. The biggest scandal with Sotsium broke out in 2011 when depositors accused Sotsium managers of squandering money.
The Fund had somehow lost 451 million rubles which belonged to pensioners of GAZ, Irkutskenergo and other companies. Vklad-Sibir LLC brought a case against Sotsium.
The company demanded the Fund pay it 39 million rubles worth of agent’s commission for attracting depositors. Sotsium refused to pay, saying it had no money, although earlier it reportedly had 451 million rubles on its accounts.
The situation was emotionally discussed by other pension funds’ officials. Vladimir Kontorovich, Chairman of the Coordination Council of the Norilsk Nickel Pension Fund Group said in an interview with the Federal Press that “We are aware of what is going on there. Oleg Deripaska receives support from the government in the amount of $4.5 billion while making pensioners cover his losses.”
At that time, his actions were called outrageous and defacing the country’s pension system. Perhaps this was exactly why Deripaska had officially quit Sotsium, but retained the leverage. After all, there are so many pensioners in Russia. Deripaska might need their money soon keeping in mind Polina Yumasheva's intentions to sell her stake in En+...