Gennady Timchenko

Gennady Timchenko is a Russian oligarch and billionaire businessman. After founding and co-owning the commodities trading company Gunvor Group, he went on to develop and own a private investment firm called Volga Group.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Timchenko have been close friends since the early 1990s, one of the reasons the latter has been able to build such a huge fortune. Putin authorised Timchenko to export oil way back in 1991, years before he became president. Later, Timchenko – no doubt with Putin’s implicit approval – established Gunvor, which went on to export Russian oil valued at billions of dollars.

Timchenko’s investment vehicle Volga Group is a major shareholder in the natural gas giant Novatek. According to the Pandora Papers, one of his companies – which was crucial to the Novatek investment – obtained substantial loans through fictitious offshore shell companies. The US imposed sanctions on Timchenko as a result of Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. He was subject to further sanctions by the UK and EU in February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine.


Timchenko began his professional career in the 1970s by working as an engineer for the Izhorsky factory, a power generator manufacturing facility close to Saint Petersburg. Then, it is claimed, he transferred to the company’s trading division. He made contact with important Russian government individuals during this time, and in the early 1980s he leveraged those connections to land a job at the Ministry of Foreign Trade.

At the end of the 1980s, as the Gorbachev administration began to open up the Russian economy, Timchenko put himself in a position to hit the big time, and he was elevated to deputy director of state-owned oil corporation Kirishineftekhimexport. This was developed in 1987 from the Kirishi refinery, one of Russia’s three biggest refineries.

Timchenko made the decision to leave Russia in 1991, and Urals Finland Oy, a firm established in Finland that specialised in bringing Russian oil to Europe, hired him. He resided in Finland and attained Finnish nationality. International Petroleum Products Oy (IPP) replaced Urals Finland Oy as the company’s name in 1995, and Timchenko was appointed as IPP OY’s first deputy and later CEO.

Together with Swedish businessman Torbjörn Törnqvist, he co-founded the international commodity trading firm Gunvor in 1997, turning what was already a sizable fortune into one that made him a multi-billionaire.

Timchenko established the private investment fund Volga Group (Volga Resources Group) in 2007. This owns his assets in the energy, transportation, infrastructure, financial services, and consumer sectors both domestically and abroad.

This fund’s objective is to “invest directly and indirectly in value-driven assets in Russia and abroad that generate reliable, long-term returns.” Financial services, consumer goods, real estate, and infrastructure development are among the industries in which the firm has investments. Its largest stakes are in the petrochemical business Sibur and the gas company Novatek.

Sanction status

Timchenko was sanctioned by the US in 2014 and by the EU and UK in 2022.

Gennady Timchenko was last modified: November 16th, 2022 by admin