Oligarch Victor Vekselberg’s holding company Renova Group was raided by Russian law enforcement investigators on Monday and two senior executives at the group were detained.
Russian Investigative Committee authorities opened a criminal case against former and acting managers of Kompleksnye Energeticheskiye Sistemy (KES) company, of which T Plus is the legal successor, media reports said. T Plus, a power company which controls about 7 per cent of Russia’s electricity capacity is owned by Vekselberg. The company was probing allegations that he and other current and former T Plus executives had paid bribes to state officials.
Vladimir Markin, the spokesman of the Investigative Committee, said the company directors payed bribes worth more than RUB 800 million ($1, 232, 000) in cash and shares to officials between 2007 and 2014 “in exchange for creating the most favourable tariffs for heating and electricity.”
Financial Times reports that the investigation comes amid a reshuffle of the Russian elite in recent months. President Vladimir Putin, the newspaper say, has dismissed a number of top officials and executives, while others have found themselves at the centre of corruption inquiries.
Intelli News claim Vekselberg is “one of a shrinking group of tycoons who amassed their fortunes independently of the Kremlin and saw their influence diminish as President Vladimir Putin consolidates the inner circle of businessmen around him.”
Vekselberg, 59, is Russia’s seventh-richest man, with a net worth $11.3 billionn, according to Forbes. He made his fortune in aluminium and oil. Vekselberg won favour with the Kremlin in 2004 by purchasing nine Fabergé eggs made for the former Russian royal family and returning them to Russia.