Biography Philanthropists

Gennady Timchenko

Gennady Timchenko
Gennady Timchenko, 2018.jpg
Born Gennady Nikolayevich Timchenko
9 November 1952 (age 65)
LeninakanArmenian SSRSoviet Union
Citizenship RussiaFinlandArmenia
Net worth US$17.3 billion (August 2018)[1]

Gennady Nikolayevich Timchenko (also spelled Guennadi Timtchenko) (born 1952) is a Russian businessman and billionaire.[2] He founded and owns the private investment group, Volga Group, which specializes in investments in energy, transport and infrastructure assets. Previously he was a co-owner of Gunvor Group. In 2014, Timchenko was ranked 62nd on the Forbes magazine billionaires list, with an estimated fortune of $15.3 billion USD.[3] He is known for being the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kontinental Hockey League,[4] and President of the SKA (St. Petersburg) ice hockey club.[5] He is a citizen of Russia,[3] Finland and Armenia.[6][7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Gennady Timchenko was born in Leninakan (now Gyumri), Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Union) in 1952. His father was in the Soviet military. He spent 6 years of his childhood (from 1959-1965) in the German Democratic Republic and learnt German.[9] and in the Ukrainian SSR.[10] In 1976 he graduated from the Mechanical Institute of St. Petersburg, then named Leningrad, as an electrical engineer, according to a 2008 interview with the Wall Street Journal.[10]


In 1977, Timchenko started to work as an engineer for the Izhorsky plant near St. Petersburg, which specialized in building power generators.[11] Since he spoke German, he was then moved to the trade department of this state-owned company.

From 1982 to 1988 he worked as a senior engineer of the Ministry of Foreign Trade.[12]

In 1988, when Russia started to liberalize its economy, he was promoted to Deputy Director of state-owned oil company Kirishineftekhimexport, which had been created in 1987 based on the Kirishi refinery, one of the three largest refineries in the RSFSR.[13] Timchenko’s teams set up some first export routes of oil products from the USSR to Western countries and Timchenko became one of the leading figures of the Russian oil trading industry.

In 1991, Timchenko decided to leave Russia and was hired by a Finland-based company, Urals Finland Oy, specializing in importing Russian oil to Europe. He settled in Finland and became a Finnish citizen.[citation needed]

In 1995, Urals Finland Oy was renamed International Petroleum Products Oy (IPP), and Timchenko became first deputy and then CEO of IPP OY.[13]

In 1997, he co-founded the global commodity trading company Gunvor with Swedish businessman Torbjörn Törnqvist.[12] He sold Törnqvist his stake in March 2014 a day before the US sanctions.[14]

In 2007, Timchenko founded the Volga Group (Volga Resources Group) private investment fund.[15] Volga group holds his Russian and international assets in the energy, transport, infrastructure, financial services and consumer sectors.

In July 2013, he was appointed as a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur for creating a permanent exhibition of Russian art in the Louvre, support for the Russian Museum in St Petersburg, and help in organizing the Alekhine Memorial chess tournament.[16]

In March 2014, following the Crimean status referendum, the U.S. Treasury put Timchenko on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN), a list of individuals sanctioned as “members of the Russian leadership’s inner circle.”[17][18][19][20][21] The sanctions freeze any assets he holds in the US[7] and ban him from entering the United States.[22]

Personal life and citizenship[edit]

He is married to Elena. They have three children. As of March 2014 Timchenko lives in Moscow, Russia, while his family resides in Switzerland.[23]:1 Gennady’s daughter Ksenia is married to Gleb Frank, son of Putin’s former transport minister Sergei Frank. They married in 2010. [24]

In a The Wall Street Journal interview, Timchenko said that in 1999 he gave up Russian citizenship and became a Finnish citizen.[25]

In 2004, the Helsingin Sanomat wrote that he acquired Finnish citizenship, and that he lived in Geneva at that time.[6] In an October 2012 interview with the Russian edition of Forbes Timchenko said that he had both Russian and Finnish citizenships.[citation needed] In August 2014, Timchenko said in an interview with ITAR-TASS that he needed Finnish citizenship to travel in the 1990s, when it was harder to travel on a Russian passport, and that he never concealed having two passports. He said that, over the past fourteen years, he had been paying taxes in Switzerland and prior to it, in Finland. “I scrupulously transfer to Russia the monies I owe to the Russian budget. In theory, I could have cut down the transfers citing the rule on inadmissibility of dual taxation but I never did this – I realized the proceeds that my monies were going off in wages to Russian doctors, teachers, and the military while I was not going to go bankrupt under any circumstances. I wouldn’t get poor if I shared the budget with others.”[8] The US Department of Treasury announcement of individuals under sanctions due to the 2014 Crimean crisis lists him as the citizen of Russia, Finland, and Armenia.[7]


According to Forbes magazine, Timchenko is one of the wealthiest people in Russia and the world:

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2016
Wealth ($bn) 2.5 0.4 1.9 5.5 9.1 14.1 15.3 11.7
World Ranking 462[26] 536[27] 185[28] 99[29] 62[29] 61[29] 118[29]
Russian ranking 43[30] 98[31] 36[32] 26[33] 12[34] 9[35] 6[36]

According to the Russian publication, RBC, in 2012 Timchenko’s worth was estimated at $24.61bn.[37]

In addition to business assets, Gennady Timchenko, according to media reports, also owns a property in Geneva, Switzerland, which consists of just over 1 ha of land, an internal area of 341m². According to the Land Registry Office of Geneva the purchase price of the property was SFR 8.4m (at the time of purchase in 2001 – about US$11m).[38][39]

His income, according to the Finnish tax authorities, increased tenfold from 1999 to 2001. In 2001 he declared an income of EUR 4.9m. Because of his high taxes, Gennady Timchenko moved to Switzerland in 2002.[40]


Gennady Timchenko was the co-founder (together with Torbjörn Törnqvist) of Gunvor Group, a corporation registered in Cyprus, and operating in trading and logistics related to the international energy market. On 19 March 2014 Gennady Timchenko sold his stake in Gunvor to the other co-founder, Torbjörn Törnqvist.[41][42] The sale was made the day before Timchenko was included on the United States sanctions list in the wake of the annexing of Crimea by Russia. Timchenko said he had sold his stake in anticipation of “potential economic sanctions” and to “ensure with certainty the continued and uninterrupted operations of Gunvor Group”.[42] The value of the transaction was not disclosed.[41]


In November 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is examining allegations about transactions in which Gunvor Group bought oil from Russia’s OAO Rosneft and sold it to third parties through the US financial system, which could have been illegal. Gunvor released a statement on 6 November denying any crime.[43]

Volga Group[edit]

In 2007 Gennady Timchenko founded the Luxembourg-based fund Volga Resources. The fund, which consolidates Timchenko’s assets, was renamed in June 2013 as Volga Group and introduced at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.[44] He noted that, for the next few years, his group will focus on the development of infrastructure projects in Russia.[45]

The purpose of this fund is “based on direct and indirect investments in value-driven assets in Russia and internationally that produce consistent, long-term returns”.[46] The group owns assets in the energy, transportation and infrastructure development, as well as financial services, consumer goods and real estate. Its most notable investments are in gas company Novatek and petrochemical company Sibur.

Airfix Aviation[edit]

In April 2014, Gennady Timchenko sold a 49% stake in the Finnish company IPP Oy, which owned 99% of the Finnish aviation company Airfix Aviation. It was small part of the Volga Group portfolio. Gennady Timchenko was subject to international sanctions after 2014 Crimean crisis in April 2014.[47]

Volga Group has been listed by the US Dept of Treasury (OFAC – Office of Foreign Assets Control) as a SDN (specially Designated Nationals) in the Ukraine-related sanction lists of 2014.[48]

Sport business[edit]

In July 2013, together with the brothers Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg, Gennady Timchenko established Arena Events Oy, which bought 100% of Helsinki’s Hartwall Areena.[49] They also bought a stake in Jokerit, the six-time national champion of the Finnish top-level ice hockey league Liiga. Consequently, Jokerit transferred to the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2014-15 season and they play in the Western Conference in Bobrov division.[50] They also own the large sport hall Hartwall Areena in Helsinki.[47] This is connected to a multi-storey car park, with capacity of 1,421 private vehicles.[citation needed]

Public activities and philanthropy[edit]

Timchenko is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society[51]

In 1998 Timchenko co-founded the Yawara-Neva Judo Club.[52][53]

In 2007, Timchenko and the company Surgutex founded the Kluch charitable foundation, which develops professional foster homes in Leningrad, Tambov and Ryazan regions.[54][55]

In 2008, Gennady and Elena Timchenko founded the Neva Foundation in Geneva,[56] in order to promote and finance cultural projects in Switzerland and Russia.[57] The foundation has focused on lyrical art and a partnership with the Geneva Opera House. Renowned St Petersburg Philharmonic conductor Yuri Temirkanov has been a trustee.[58]

In 2010, Gennady and Elena Timchenko created the Ladoga Foundation.[2][59][60] The main activity of the fund has been s providing help for the elderly, as well as the restoration of spiritual and cultural heritage monuments, support for cultural projects and project support in the field of modern medical technology. In September 2013 the Ladoga Foundation was renamed to the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation (or just Timchenko Foundation for short).[61] consolidating all their charitable activities and supporting elderly people, sports, culture and foster families.

In 2011, Timchenko was elected Chairman of the Economic Council of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce (CCIFR).[62][63]

In 2011, Timchenko, was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of SKA (St. Petersburg), the leading ice hockey team.[5]

In 2012 he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Continental Hockey League (KHL).[4]

He serves on the board of trustees of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.[64]

Sports and hobbies[edit]

Timchenko likes to play and watch tennis. Through his formerly-owned Finnish company, IPP, he has sponsored an outdoor tennis tournament in Finland since 2000, the IPP Open. According to unconfirmed reports[clarification needed] he funded the Finnish national team in the Davis Cup [65] and has sponsored a number of Russian tennis players.[66]

The media has mentioned him sponsoring a sailing team which participates in the international RC44 yachting competition.[65]

In April 2011, Timchenko replaced Alexander Medvedev as Chairman of the Board of Directors of SKA (Saint Petersburg), the St Petersburg-based ice hockey club. In May of the same year, under the new management structure of the club, he was appointed as Club President.[5]

In July 2012, he replaced Vyacheslav Fetisov as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Continental Hockey League KHL.[4]

In 2013, he became one of the sponsors and organisers of one of the most important international chess tournaments in the ELO rating – the Alekhine Memorial.[67]

The Timchenko Foundation promotes the development of the ice hockey and chess among young people.[68]


On 12 October 2013 Timchenko received French title of the Cavalier of Legion of Honour.[69][70] This award prompted Russian political writer Andrey Piontkovsky to write that “awarding a criminal with nickname Gangrene the highest distinction brings shame to the French state” [71]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ “Gennady Timchenko”Forbes.
  2. Jump up to:a b Геннадий Тимченко показал лицо филантропа[Gennady Timchenko shows his philanthropic side] (in Russian). 6 April 2012. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Forbes Timchenko Profile”Forbes.
  4. Jump up to:a b c “Timchenko became a chairman of the board of directors of the KHL”. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012.
  5. Jump up to:a b c “Appointed Chairman of the Board of SKA Gennady Timchenko”. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013.
  6. Jump up to:a b Pekka Hakala (17 February 2004). “Kremlin favourite is Finnish citizen”Helsingin Sanomat. Helsinki Times Oy. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  7. Jump up to:a b c “Ukraine-related Designations”. US Department of Treasury. 20 March 2014.
  8. Jump up to:a b “Timchenko: Everything has to be paid for, and acquaintance with top officials as well”. TASS. 4 August 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  9. Jump up^ Путь Тимченко: от мастера цеха до миллиардера[Timchenko’s path from shop foreman to billionaire] (in Russian). 26 October 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  10. Jump up to:a b “Excerpts: Gunvor’s Timchenko On His History, Putin and Gunvor”The Wall Street Journal. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  11. Jump up^ “Timchenko, Gennady” (in Russian). Лента.Ру. 28 December 2014. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  12. Jump up to:a b “Main Investor” (in Russian). 22 December 2009. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  13. Jump up to:a b “At home among strangers”. Russian focus. 1 March 2004.
  14. Jump up^ “Russian billionaire Timchenko sells his Gunvor stake to Tornqvist”. 21 March 2014. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013.
  15. Jump up^ Тимченко участвует в конкурсе на строительство магистрали в Петербурге на 130 млрд руб [Timchenko participates in bid to fund a major highway in St Petersburg for RUB 130 billion]. (in Russian). 14 October 2013. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  16. Jump up^ Тимченко стал кавалером ордена Почетного легиона[Timchenko has become a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur] (in Russian). 4 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  17. Jump up^ Sanctions List Search result for TIMCHENKO, Gennady Nikolayevich
  18. Jump up^ “Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of The Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine”.
  19. Jump up^ Elizabeth Piper (28 December 2014). “Crunch time: As sanctions bite, Putin ally gets into apples”Reuters. Thompson Reuters. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  20. Jump up^ “Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)”.
  21. Jump up^ Shuklin, Peter (21 March 2014). “Putin’s inner circle: who got in a new list of US sanctions”. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  22. Jump up^ President of The United States (19 March 2016). “Ukraine EO13661” (PDF). Federal Register. Retrieved 20 February2016.
  23. Jump up^ “Timchenko: Everything has to be paid for, and acquaintance with top officials as well”. ITAR-TASS. 4 August 2014. Archived from the original on 21 November 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Reuters (10 November 2015). “Rising stars among children of Russia’s elite | Daily Mail Online”. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  25. Jump up^ “Gennady Timchenko: Co-owner of Gunvor Group companies and venture capital company Volga Resources” (in Russian). n.d. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  26. Jump up^ “The World’s Billionaires –”.
  27. Jump up^ “The World’s Billionaires”.
  28. Jump up^ “The World’s Billionaires 2011”Forbes.
  29. Jump up to:a b c d “The World’s Billionaires”Forbes.
  30. Jump up^ “100 Richest Businessmen in Russia — 2008”.
  31. Jump up^ “100 Richest Businessmen in Russia — 2009”.
  32. Jump up^ “100 Richest Businessmen in Russia— 2010”.
  33. Jump up^ “200 Richest Businessmen in Russia — 2011”.
  34. Jump up^ “200 Richest Businessmen in Russia — 2012”.
  35. Jump up^ Forbes: Forbes 2013 leaders in billionaire ranking
  36. Jump up^ “200 богатейших бизнесменов России — 2014”.
  37. Jump up^ Г.Тимченко дослужился до первого места в рейтинге богатейших миллиардеров [G. Timchenko rose to first place in the richest billionaire ranking] (in Russian). 21 March 2012.
  38. Jump up^ Нефтетрейдер “прозрачной воды” [Oil trader “Clear water”] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  39. Jump up^ Дома и отели супругов Тимченко [Timchenko’s homes and hotels]. Vedomosti (in Russian). 21 November 2013. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013.
  40. Jump up^ “Gennady Timchenko Biography” (in Russian). Archivedfrom the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 21 November2013.
  41. Jump up to:a b Zhdannikov, Dmitry; Mackey, Peg; Bousso, Ron (21 March 2014). “Oil firms, U.S. banks trade with Gunvor after co-founder sanctioned”ReutersArchived from the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  42. Jump up to:a b Johnson, Luke (21 March 2014). “Timchenko sells stake in Gunvor”Upstream OnlineNHST Media GroupArchivedfrom the original on 22 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  43. Jump up^ Luke Harding, “US ‘launches money-laundering investigation’ into Putin associate”The Guardian. 6 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  44. Jump up^ Тимченко упаковал все активы в Volga Group[Timchenko bundles all assets in Volga Group]. Vedomosti (in Russian). 21 June 2013.
  45. Jump up^ Геннадий Тимченко: «Мы понимаем, что репутация бизнесмена — самое главное» [Gennady Timchenko “We understand that the most important thing is a businessman’s reputation”] (in Russian). 20 June 2013.
  46. Jump up^ “Частная инвестиционная компания Volga Group – инвестиционные возможности и устойчивое развитие”.
  47. Jump up to:a b KL: Timtšenko myi lentoyhtiönsä 8 April 2014 yle
  48. Jump up^ “Ukraine-related Designations”.
  49. Jump up^ В хоккейной колоде завелись “Джокеры” [CHL to join Finnish Jokerits]. Kommersant (in Russian).
  50. Jump up^ Wyshynski, Greg (30 October 2013). “Jokerit to KHL in 2014-15 is huge step for Russian league”Yahoo! SportsYahoo! NewsArchived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  51. Jump up^ Собянин отреставрировал для Русского географического общества купеческий доходный дом[Sobyanin restored to Russian Geographical Society merchant apartment house]. 16 January 2013.
  52. Jump up^ «Если бы меня не пиарили как друга Путина, бизнес был бы похуже» [If people wouldn’t have PRed me as Putin’s friend, the business would have been worse]. Forbes (in Russian). 27 July 2012. Archived from the original on 8 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  53. Jump up^ “Никто не может сказать, что я кого-то унизил, у кого-то что-то отнял [No one can tell me that I undermined anyone or took anything away from anyone]. Kommersant (in Russian). 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  54. Jump up^ Нарышкин открыл детский центр в городке, построенном фондом Тимченко (Ленинградская область)(in Russian). Regnum. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  55. Jump up^ В Гатчинском районе сданы новые коттеджи для приемных семей [New cottages for foster families] (in Russian). 10 October 2010. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  56. Jump up^ “Soljenitsyne, le courage d’écrire”.
  57. Jump up^ “LES FEMMES RUSSES AIMENT LES FONDATIONS”[Russian women like the foundations]. Bilan (in French). 12 May 2008. Archived from the original on 14 December 2010.
  58. Jump up^ Atelier Clauson – Sébastien Bertrand, Genève. “FONDATION NEVA – accueil”.
  59. Jump up^ Вадим САМОРОДОВ: Фонд «Ладога» помогает пожилым ивановцам //«Ивановская газета», № 69 от 17 April 2012
  60. Jump up^ Сообщество — старшему поколению газета «Рабочий край», № 185 от 7 October 2011
  61. Jump up^ “Charitable Foundation “Ladoga” renamed the Helena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation”Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  62. Jump up^ Нефтетрейдер Тимченко пошел в имиджмейкеры [Oil trader Timchenko went to the image-makers] (in Russian). 1 February 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  63. Jump up^ Совладелец НОВАТЭКа Тимченко возглавил экономический совет Франко-российской ТПП [Co-owner of Novatek Timchenko heads Economic Council as Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce] (in Russian). 14 December 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  64. Jump up^ Еврейский музей и центр толерантности объявил о создании эндаумент-фонда Музея
  65. Jump up to:a b Кузнец своего «Газпрома» // «Огонёк» № 12 от 29 March 2010 (статья доступна в базе
  66. Jump up^ “Sergei Butov”Sport Express (in Russian). 1 September 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  67. Jump up^ “Think before doing”Vedomosti. 21 April 2013. Archivedfrom the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 27 November2013.
  68. Jump up^ “Timchenko Foundation”.
  69. Jump up^ “”Другу Путина” Тимченко вручили орден Почетного легиона”NEWSru. 12 October 2013. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013.
  70. Jump up^ “Друг Путина” Тимченко получил высшую награду Франции, учрежденную Наполеоном [“Putin’s friend” Timchenko has received the highest award of France, established by Napoleon]. NEWSru. 4 July 2013. Archivedfrom the original on 6 July 2013.
  71. Jump up^ Piontkovsky, Andrey. “ПАДЕНИЕ ПАРИЖА”Echo of MoscowArchived from the original on 6 November 2014.