Russia’s Potanin dodges politics and sanctions to flourish (Reuters – May 4, 2022)

May 4 (Reuters) – So far, at least, “Nickel King” Vladimir Potanin is Russia’s ultimate survivor. Unlike many of Russia’s notable oligarchs, he has not been sanctioned by the United States or the European Union for his closeness to President Vladimir Putin.

And as Western companies quit Russia because of those sanctions, imposed as retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, he has snapped up assets to expand his own banking business. On Monday, Potanin’s Interros holding company said it had bought United Card Services, the Russian unit of U.S.-listed Global Payments, for an undisclosed sum.

Last week, he bought 35% of TCS Group Holding, owner of Russia’s leading online bank, from its founder Oleg Tinkov, who had bitterly criticised the war after TCS’s share price plunged. Three weeks before that, the head of mining giant Nornickel (GMKN.MM) bought back Rosbank from Societe Generale, to whom he had sold it more than a decade earlier.

That deal could further Potanin’s fintech ambitions. Rosbank is the banking partner of Atomyze, a blockchain platform in which Interros and Nornickel’s Global Palladium Fund are investors.

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