Russian oligarch skirts sanctions, buys new jet via Kazakhstan

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Sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska purchased a business jet worth $36 million by evading sanctions through Kazakhstan, the independent Russian media outlet Verstka reported on Jan. 5.

Deripaska, billionaire and former president of the aluminum giant Rusal, was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 and by the U.K. in 2022, following Russia's full-scale invasion. Ukraine nationalized Deripaska's business assets in February 2023.

A company associated with Deripaska, the Moscow-based firm Arsenal, bought a Falcon 7X jet from the Kazakh carrier Irtysh-Air and imported it to Russia in February 2023. The plane seats 14 passengers and is valued at $35.8 million.

Arsenal is registered in the same Moscow business park as Rusal. The firm is headed by 74-year-old Natalia Kalgashkina, who also previously worked for Rusal and other aluminum trading companies in Russia.

The business jet's flight patterns track with some of Deripaska's recent movements. It landed in Vladivostok on Sept. 11, 2023 and left the following evening, coinciding with Deripaska's attendance at the Eastern Economic Forum.

The jet, bearing the flight number RA-09618, also flew to Beijing from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, the same days that the oligarch attended a meeting of the Russian-Chinese Friendship Committee.

Verstka previously reported that Russian oligarch Alexander Tkachov evaded sanctions to purchase a $60 million airplane through Kyrgyzstan. German media reported in summer 2022 that many sanctioned businessmen were able to disguise ownership of private jets through hidden offshore companies.

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