Abu Dhabi Lures Russian Steel Tycoon’s Holdings Away From Cyprus

Abu Dhabi Lures Russian Steel Tycoon’s Holdings Away From Cyprus
  • Vladimir Lisin joins tycoons shifting wealth to the emirate
  • Businessman worth $23 billion: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Vladimir Lisin has transferred his stakes in Russia’s biggest steelmaker and a rail freight operator to companies registered in Abu Dhabi, the latest example of a billionaire shifting assets to the oil-rich emirate.

The businessman, who’s worth about $23 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, moved his stakes in Novolipetsk Steel PJSC and Freight One JSC from Cyprus to Abu Dhabi special purpose vehicles Serenity II Holdings and Nebula II Holdings, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified to discuss private information. A spokesperson for the steelmaker confirmed the information.  

Much of Lisin’s fortune is derived from his 79.3% stake in Novolipetsk Steel, a publicly traded producer of the metal. He owned the shares through Fletcher Group Holdings, a Cyprus-based holding company, as of December 2022, according to the company’s website.

Russian tycoons have flocked to the United Arab Emirates following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, drawn by low taxes, international connectivity, and a relative openness to their wealth that stands in contrast to much of the rest of the world. Moscow-based coal producer SUEK and Zug, Switzerland-based fertilizer firm EuroChem, both founded by billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, opened local trading units in the Gulf oil exporter. 

Elsewhere, Russia’s government has been encouraging the rich to bring their money home, through offering low-tax domestic “offshore” zones and raising the cost of keeping assets in traditional havens like Cyprus or Malta. While at first few chose this option, it’s now also gaining popularity as the avalanche of sanctions has left wealthy Russians with a dwindling set of options to manage their wealth as the US and its allies targets them.

The family holding of Said Kerimov, the son of sanctioned Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, and Andrey Guryev, the UK-sanctioned founder of PhosAgro PJSC, both re-domiciled firms to Russian low-tax zones in 2022. Steel tycoon Victor Rashnikov moved his stake in one of the country’s biggest steelmakers from a company in Cyprus to Russia.

Lisin isn’t sanctioned by the US, UK or the European Union. 

Read more at : www.bloomberg.com;

Photo : www.bloomberg.com,Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

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