Oleg Tinkov, the billionaire banking oligarch and former owner of the Tinkoff cycling team, has renounced his Russian citizenship over the Ukraine war.
In a statement posted on Instagram, Tinkov said the decision comes after “Russia invaded Ukraine and started killing innocents there. I can’t be associated with Putin’s fascist regime.”
Tinkov previously criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine in April, the 54-year-old saying then that the Putin administration had threatened to nationalise his Tinkoff bank unless he sold his 35% share, which he did before going into hiding.
On October 31, Tinkov announced the end of his Russian citizenship by sharing a photo of the certificate confirming the termination, saying: “I hate Putin’s Russia, but love all Russians, who are clearly against this crazy war!” The post has since disappeared, replaced by another of a dog with an updated caption written by Tinkov claiming “looks like Putin’s trolls somehow got to [my] Insta.”
Tinkov went on to say in the re-post that he is engaging lawyers to remove the Tinkoff brand from the name of the bank, a condition he says was promised to him as part of the terms of the sale. The share price of the bank has been crumbling ever since international sanctions pummelled Ruble since the outbreak of war in March. Tinkov’s net worth is now estimated to be around £800m, when previously he was worth multiple billions.
It’s been an interesting few years for the businessman, who survived myeloid leukemia and also plead guilty to vast tax fraud, paying more than US$500 million to the United States in fines. His opposition to the war didn’t see him escape being sanctioned by the UK government alongside hundreds of other high net-worth Russians.
Another sanctioned cycling Russian, Igor Makarov, was also named on sanctions lists in Canada and Australia, yet remains on the UCI management committee and continues to receive the backing of cycling’s governing body.