Billionaire Timchenko Sponsors Chess

Ilyumzhinov, Gennady Timchenko, Andrei Filatov

Billionaire Timchenko Doubles Donations As Wealth Drops
AUGUST 14, 2015

Billionaire Gennady Timchenko almost doubled his charitable donations last year even as the value of his holdings tumbled with the selloff in oil that eroded wealth across Russia.

Timchenko’s donations rose 84 percent from 2013 to $39 million, his office said in response to a request from Bloomberg for information about the philanthropy of Russia’s 20 richest people. The total contributions of the nine billionaires that provided information declined by 4 percent.

“The Timchenko fund expanded its geographic reach, not only within Russia but abroad,” Timchenko’s Moscow office said in an e-mailed statement. “Our foreign projects have always been focused on forging international cultural and sporting exchanges.”

Russia’s economy is contracting for the first time in six years after the price of oil, the country’s biggest export, fell by more than half from last year’s peak in June, and the West imposed sanctions over the Ukraine conflict. Timchenko, 62, was among those sanctioned by the Obama administration over ties to President Vladimir Putin.

Timchenko, an electrical engineer who became an oil trader and longtime Putin confidant, was subject to a U.S. visa ban and asset freeze after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March 2014. He said he was “suffering” for the president and his policies, even if he supported them, as fear of arrest kept him from visiting his family at their Switzerland home.

Chess, Hockey

Several of the businessman’s charitable efforts involved international children’s events. Timchenko’s fund staged a chess tournament in Beijing between Chinese and Russian schoolchildren and chess masters, and sponsored the Moscow Sledge Hockey Federation.

Timchenko, the sole shareholder of Luxembourg-based Volga Group, is worth $5.9 billion after his wealth fell by almost half from its late 2013 peak, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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