Posted by: Jerry Garrett | February 21, 2018

Russian Racing Patron Rotenberg Headed for EU Sanctions & Blacklist?

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A European Union review of more than 100 blacklisted Russian oligarchs, due in March, will reportedly take a second look at SMP Racing principal Boris Rotenberg, who has so far escaped the list – even though his brother and business partner Arkady is on it.

The blacklist, compiled in 2014 as a means of punishing wealthy Russians for their country’s intervention in the Ukraine, and annexation of Crimea, prevents those on it from doing business or owning property in the 27-nation block, or even traveling through it.

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Boris Rotenberg (Forbes)

A joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and the French Le Monde published today reveals the extent to which Boris Rotenberg — reputedly Vladimir Putin’s childhood pal — continues to live the high life on the French Riviera, to run SMP Bank and the SGM Group construction business, and to mingle with the fast crowd at race tracks around the world.

This, even as his blacklisted younger brother Arkady has had to forfeit vast, lucrative properties and investments throughout Italy

You may have seen SMP Racing as a backer of drivers such as Sergey Sirotkin in Formula 1 and Mikhail Aleshin in IndyCar Racing, and a sponsor of the Renault Sport F1 team and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Indy series, as well as sports car, spec and formula series throughout the world.

The explanation has been that Boris, a co-founder with Arkady of SMP Bank and other Russian businesses, escaped the sanctions merely because he claimed Finnish citizenship – on the basis of a former marriage to a woman from Finland. However, Finnish government officials suggest Boris’ claim of citizenship could be reviewed, especially in view of the fact he is clearly Russian, a member of Putin’s inner circle of friends, and an owner and operator of Russian businesses.

And now there’s this: New disclosures about his heretofore undisclosed holdings in France and Monaco.

The OCCRP investigation found Rotenberg owns or holds an interest in multimillion dollar properties in Eze, France – in the hills above Monaco, in nearby Nice, and near Grasse. By registering some of his interests in tax-free Monaco, the probe also raised the question whether Boris could be using that status to avoid French and other EU taxes.

Should EU officials determine that Boris Rotenberg, 61, is just as deserving as his partner and brother Arkady of being on that blacklist, it could have an impact on the fortunes of more than 40 top-echelon racers and racing teams – although it’s open to speculation just how much.

You can read the full OCCRP investigation report here.

Jerry Garrett

February 21, 2018

 

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