Oleg Tinkov pleads guilty to massive tax fraud
Russian bank billionaire Oleg Tinkov – the sponsor and owner of the Tinkoff cycling team from 2013 to 2016 – pleaded guilty today to U.S. tax evasion.
The charges relate to Tinkov’s transactions in 2013. According to the Justice Department, Tinkov – who had been a US citizen since the mid-1990s – abruptly renounced his US citizenship shortly after the branchless Russian bank he had. founded, Tinkoff Credit Systems, went public on the London Stock Exchange.
Days after the bank’s IPO – which saw Tinkov’s fortune skyrocket to $ 1.1 billion after selling $ 192 million of shares – he surrendered to the US Embassy in Moscow to renounce his citizenship.
There, as part of the expatriation process, he reported that his net worth was only US $ 300,000. The following year, he submitted a false 2013 tax return stating that his income was only US $ 205,317. The US Department of Justice notes that this caused a tax loss of $ 248,525,339.
US prosecutors have been pursuing him since February 2020, filing an arrest warrant six years to the day after filing his false income tax return. Over the next 18 months, Tinkov was fighting extradition to the United States from his home in London. He has, he said, been unable to travel for medical reasons, due to immunocompromised treatment for leukemia and graft-versus-host disease.
Under a plea deal, Tinkov agreed to pay more than half a billion dollars – the missing taxes from 2013, a fine for civil fraud, tax interest and other taxes that Tinkov has. recognized duty. “Under the terms of the plea agreement, the parties agreed to recommend a custodial sentence, followed by one year of supervised release and an additional fine of $ 250,000,” writes the Justice Department.
Tinkov faces conviction before US District Judge Jon S. Tigar on October 29.
“Oleg Tinkov brazenly violated US tax law. No one who enjoys the immense benefits of US citizenship, as Tinkov did, can shirk the corresponding obligation to support the country he has chosen, ”said Acting US Prosecutor Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. “Tax evaders should take note of the long reach of US law enforcement.”
Tinkov is one of the most colorful figures to have graced cycling in recent years. He got involved in cycling from 2012 in partnership with Bjarne Riis; he bought the team he sponsored in 2013, running it until the end of the 2016 season under the names Saxo Bank-Tinkoff, Tinkoff-Saxo and finally, Tinkoff. The team’s iconic riders at this time included Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan.
In 2016, as he retired from the sport, he vowed to make a comeback once the Chris Froome era was over. “I am waiting for the end of the Froome era to return to the peloton. But one thing is certain: I will come back to win the Tour, ”he told Sporza.