Russian tycoon Oleg Tinkov renounces citizenship over Ukraine war

Billionaire banker says he will not be associated ‘with a fascist country’ that is ‘killing innocent people daily’.

Oleg Tinkov
Tinkov is the founder of the online Tinkoff Bank [File: William Webster/Reuters]

Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov says he has decided to give up his citizenship because of the war in Ukraine, which he had previously criticised as “crazy”.

“I have taken the decision to exit my Russian citizenship. I can’t and won’t be associated with a fascist country, that started a war with their peaceful neighbour and killing innocent people daily,” Tinkov wrote on Instagram on Monday.

“I hope more prominent Russian businessmen will follow me, so it weakens [President Vladimir] Putin’s regime and his economy, and put him eventually to defeat,” added the 54-year-old, who has been based outside Russia in recent years.

The banking tycoon shared a picture of a certificate confirming the “ending” of his Russian citizenship.

“I hate Putin’s Russia, but love all Russians who are clearly against this crazy war!” Tinkov said, according to AFP news agency.

Tinkov is the founder of the online Tinkoff Bank, one of Russia’s largest lenders counting some 20 million customers. His upstart digital credit card company, TCS Group Holding, grew to become one of Russia’s largest financial institutions. He was forced to sell his 35 percent stake in TCS, Tinkoff Bank’s parent, to Russian metals magnate Vladimir Potanin in April, following a string of anti-war comments.

In April, Tinkov had claimed that 90 percent of his countrymen were against Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in late February and called on Western leaders to help end the “massacre”.

Tinkov has been targeted by British sanctions imposed soon after the conflict began.

He was previously arrested in London in 2020 on charges of tax evasion in the United States. He was later released on bail and treated for leukaemia in London.

He quit his role as Tinkoff CEO in 2020 and the bank has distanced itself from his strong criticism of the war.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies