The Oligarch Who Hedges His Bets
RECENTLY Spanish police seized a £70m ‘superyacht’ belonging to one of Vladimir Putin’s closest oligarch cronies.
Tango is registered in the British Virgin Islands – one of the favourite havens for shady international tycoons – and belongs to Viktor Vekselberg, son of a Ukrainian Jew and a Russian. Since 1990 Vekselberg has been head of the Renova Group, a Russian conglomerate with interests in aluminium, oil, and other sectors. He has been subject to international sanctions due to his close Kremlin ties.
According to several investigators, Vekselberg’s most interesting international role has been as the man who does the dirty work for “Sir” Len Blavatnik, his business partner, co-founder of the Renova Group and closest friend since their schooldays.
While Vekselberg has been sanctioned, Blavatnik has earned a teflon reputation which might be connected to his remarkable talent for backing opposite political sides and remaining close to power.
Blavatnik has at various times backed pro- and anti-Netanyahu factions in Israel; Tony Blair in the UK; Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the USA. In 2015 a group of international scholars condemned Oxford University for accepting Blavatnik’s money to fund the ‘Blavatnik School of Government’.
Blavatnik however insists that he has distanced himself from Putin, and the likes of Tony Blair and his ‘charitable foundations’ have continued to work closely with the Blavatnik School of Government. Meanwhile Blavatnik has continued to be one of the world’s leading sponsors of ‘Holocaust’ education, including a recent international conference to celebrate “the nearly 1.5 million Jewish men and women who fought in World War II against Adolf Hitler and the Axis powers.” Heritage and Destiny will soon be analysing some of the interesting omissions from this ‘history’!
Perhaps the ambiguities of Blavatnik’s own position will never be fully resolved, but as the Kremlin’s invasion grinds on in Ukraine, the likes of Tony Blair are feeling increasingly nervous about their ties to Putin’s oligarchs.
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Source: Heritage and Destiny magazine