Chelsea FC manager says acquisition of Abramovich-linked investment vehicle ‘cancelled’

Roman Abramovich’s family was not the beneficial owner of Ervington Investments at the time of the transaction, according to Eugene Tenenbaum

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A Toronto accountant with long-standing ties to Roman Abramovich, one of the wealthy Russian businessmen sanctioned by Western nations following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, told the Financial Post this week that a deal to buy an Abramovich-related investment vehicle had never been reached “due to the current situation.

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Eugene Tenenbaum, who grew up in Toronto and met Abramovich after moving to Moscow in the early 1990s as country manager of KPMG Peat Marwick Russia, had recently agreed to buy a company called Ervington Investments Ltd. to a trust called Norma Investments.

The transaction was first reported by Reuters and was referenced in documents filed with the London Stock Exchange, which said the transfer of control took place on February 24, the same day Russia invaded Ukraine. .

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that control of Norma Investments had passed to another Abramovich associate named David Davidovich at the time of the invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich’s family was previously the beneficial owner of Norma, Tenenbaum told the Financial Post, but at the time he sought to buy Ervington from Norma, he was controlled by Davidovich.

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However, Tenenbaum says his trade was canceled.

“With respect to Ervington, my company is no longer the shareholder as the transaction was never fully completed and canceled due to the current situation,” Tenenbaum said via email, adding that the transaction “has canceled by mutual agreement between the buyer and the seller”.

When asked if he was talking about the situation surrounding Abramovich and the sanctions imposed by the European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom, which led him to put his football club Chelsea FC based in London on the block, Tenenbaum replied: “Correct”.

Tenenbaum said the seller he was referring to in his canceled transaction was Davidovich, not Abramovich’s family.

My transaction was with Norma. Not the family

Eugene Tenenbaum

“My transaction was with Norma. Not the family. When I started the transaction, Davidovich already owned Norma through his company,” Tenenbaum said.

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He referred to Abramovich by the initials RA and said, “RA or RA’s family are not involved in this transaction and are not the beneficial owner of Ervington.”

According to Reuters, which first reported Ervington’s sale last month, the company had been used as an investment vehicle for Abramovich for at least eight years. Among his investments was a ride-sharing app called Via.

Tenenbaum told Reuters he wanted to buy Ervington because it’s a company he’s worked with for many years and he wants to continue doing so.

Asked what had changed since last month, he told the Financial Post: “I think my statement ‘due to the current situation’ sums it all up.”

Tenenbaum added that neither he nor Davidovich is subject to any sanctions.

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  1. Chelsea Football Club manager Eugene Tenenbaum, left, stands with owner Roman Abramovich.

    How a Toronto accountant became one of oligarch Roman Abramovich’s closest associates

  2. Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich sits in a VIP lounge before a plane linked to him took off this week for Istanbul from Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel.

    Roman Abramovich gave Chelsea manager control of investment company on day of Ukraine invasion, documents reveal

  3. Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich in London.

    Canada imposes sanctions on Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich

Both have long been associated with Abramovich. Tenenbaum is a board member of Chelsea FC, a British Premier League football club, which is owned by Abramovich. The team is now stranded following British sanctions imposed on Abramovich in March following the Russian invasion. Abramovich has also been sanctioned by Canada and the European Union.

He did not face sanctions in the United States and it was widely reported that he was taking part in negotiations between Russia and Ukraine aimed at resolving the armed conflict. Western sanctions targeting those with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin or his regime have sparked widespread interest in the assets held by those targeted.

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Abramovich reportedly made much of his fortune selling his energy company Sibneft to Russian energy giant Gazprom in 2006 for $13.1 billion.

He is also the largest shareholder in the London-listed steel company Evraz PLC, with a 28.64% stake. Directors of Evraz, including Tenenbaum, resigned in March following UK sanctions, and shares in the company – which has operations in Russia and North America, including Alberta and Saskatchewan – have been suspended .

Tenenbaum, whose family immigrated to Canada in the 1970s from Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, worked for Sibneft as head of corporate finance beginning in 1998.

The Chelsea FC website describes him as one of Abramovich’s “closest associates”.

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