January 26, 2022

Former French Prime Minister François Fillon joins Russian petrochemical giant

Former French Prime Minister François Fillon has joined the board of directors of Russian petrochemical giant Sibur, the group announced Thursday (December 23). Sibur has published an updated list of its board of directors, indicating that Mr. Fillon has been appointed to the board as an independent director. The group is notably controlled by Leonid Mikhelson, one of the richest men in Russia, and Gennadi Timchenko, a close friend of President Vladimir Putin.

The proximity of the company to Russian power was illustrated on another occasion: in 2020, press inquiries revealed that after his marriage in 2013 to one of the daughters of Vladimir Putin, the businessman Kirill Shamalov, the son of a friend of the president, had received shares in the company at a discount. Mr. Chamalov had, in fact, acquired 3.8% of the shares of the group, via offshore transactions carried out a few months after the marriage, for the sum of 100 dollars. Their value was, at the time, 380 million dollars.

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Five years in prison, two of which are closed

At the end of June, Mr. Fillon joined the board of directors of another Russian company, Zaroubejneft, specializing in the development and exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits, particularly abroad, owned by the State. Mr. Fillon, who led the French government under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy between 2007 and 2012, is the head of Apteras, a consulting firm he created in 2017.

Read also François Fillon joins the board of directors of an oil group owned by the Russian state

The former politician was sentenced in June 2020 to five years in prison, two of which were closed in a resounding case of fictitious jobs which had derailed his presidential campaign in 2017. Other former senior foreign officials are already on the council of administration of Russian oil groups.

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Former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who waltzed with Vladimir Putin at his wedding in 2018, was appointed to Russian oil giant Rosneft in June. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, a longtime friend of Vladimir Putin, is chairman of the board of Rosneft.

The World with AFP