A sanctioned billionaire sold his family's stake in the digital bank he founded to Russia's richest person

A sanctioned billionaire sold his family's stake in the digital bank he founded to Russia's richest person
Oleg Tinkov sold his family's stake in Tinkoff to Vladimir Potanin.Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images, Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Tinkoff Bank founder Oleg Tinkov sold his family's 35% stake in the firm to Vladimir Potanin.
  • The bank has been distancing itself from Tinkov after he criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Oleg Tinkov, the sanctioned Russian businessman who openly criticized Moscow's decision to invade Ukraine, has sold his family's 35% stake in the digital bank he founded to Russia's richest person.

TCS Group Holding, the owner of Cyprus-registered Tinkoff Bank, announced on Thursday that "family trusts associated with its founder have, in a series of transactions, disposed of their entire interest in the Company."

Investment group Interros, which is owned by billionaire Vladimir Potanin, bought the stake and now owns 35.08% of the outstanding shares in TCS, the holding company said.

Details of the deal were not disclosed.

In a statement, Tinkov said it was "the perfect time for me to retire and devote more of my time to looking after my health and my beloved family." Tinkov has been undergoing treatment for leukemia for several years.


The announcement comes amid the bank's apparent efforts to distance itself from Tinkov, who founded the bank in 2006.

Tinkov, worth an estimated $3.5 billion according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, was sanctioned by the UK in March. Since then he's become one of the few wealthy Russian businessmen to publicly condemn President Vladimir Putin. In an April 19 Instagram post, he described the war in Ukraine as "crazy", and labeled anyone who supported it a "moron."

The bank played down its ties with Tinkov just hours later, announcing on Telegram that it wouldn't comment on his personal opinion but that he "has not been a decision-maker in the Tinkoff Group companies for many years." The bank's co-chief executive officers quit following Tinkov's comments, according to Bloomberg.

The bank is also changing its name in an apparent attempt to separate itself from Tinkov entirely, Insider previously reported. Tinkov stepped down as chair of Tinkoff's board in April 2020, per S&P Global.

Tinkov did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.


Tinkov is one of the only major Russian lenders to have avoided Western sanctions and has become the go-to bank for many Western tech companies seeking to pay their Russian workers.

Potanin founded Interros – a conglomerate with stakes in industries including mining, energy, and real estate – in 1990, and is the richest man in Russia, worth $30.8 billion, according to Bloomberg estimates. He's known to be close to Putin but hasn't been sanctioned by the US, UK, or EU. Canada sanctioned Potanin in early April.