Oleg Tinkov, founder of investment bank Tinkoff and former WorldTour team boss, was convicted of United States tax fraud on Friday. The oligarch was awarded a one-year suspended prison sentence – or “supervised release” – and fined US$508.936 million, more than double what he sought to escape paying.
The verdict brings an end to a drawn-out saga that gathered momentum in September 2019 when the billionaire – valued at an estimated US$2.5 billion in 2020 – was indicted for concealing more than US$1 billion in assets during the process of renouncing his US citizenship in 2013.
Tinkov had been an American citizen since the mid-90s, but he began the process of renouncing his US status after his bank, Tinkoff Credit Systems, went public on the London Stock Exchange. Part of the expatriation process required him to list his net worth, and Tinkov put down just US$300,000 despite his wealth having increased to US$1.1 billion after selling his shares.
The crux of the case came the following year when the former Tinkoff cycling team boss submitted a false tax return for 2013, through which the US Department of Justice noted a tax loss of almost US$250 million. After years of legal battling from his home in London, Tinkov pled guilty to the charge of US tax fraud last month.
The plea agreement that was settled in court on Friday October 29 includes the missing 2013 taxes, interest on the tax, a civil fraud penalty, and other tax that Tinkov has admitted he owes.