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Oleg Tinkov convicted of tax fraud and handed $500 million fine

OIeg Tinkov
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Oleg Tinkov, the former owner of a cycling WordTour squad and the founder of the Tinkoff bank has been convicted of fraud in the US. The Russian has been handed a huge fine of $500 million fine, and a suspended one-year jail sentence. The huge fine was double the amount Tinkov had hoped to pay.

Last year the former owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team, which included Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador, paid bail of £20 million to avoid going to jail on remand after a provisional arrest warrant was issued by American prosecutors.

Tinkov is reported to be worth £2.2 billion after creating and then selling a series of business, in the electronics, pasta, beer and most recently banking sectors. The online Tinkoff Bank currently has around eight million customers in Russia and Tinkov floated the bank on the UK stock market.

In 2019 he was indicted for concealing large stock market gains. US citizens are required to declare income and then pay taxes, even if they live and work outside the United States. Tinkov has been an American citizen since the 1990s. He was arrested in 2020 and the US tried to extradite him but he contested on medical grounds and paid bail.

According to documents released on Friday, Tinkov was, "sentenced today for his felony conviction for filing a false tax return."

"As required under his plea agreement, prior to sentencing, Oleg Tinkov, aka Oleg Tinkoff, paid $508,936,184, more than double what he had sought to escape paying to the U.S. Treasury through a scheme to renounce his U.S. citizenship and conceal from the IRS large stock gains that he knew were reportable. This includes $248,525,339 in taxes, statutory interest on that tax and a nearly $100 million fraud penalty. Tinkov was additionally fined $250,000, which is the maximum allowed by statute, and sentenced to time served and one year of supervised release."

"Tinkov was told of his filing and tax obligations by both the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and his U.S.-based accountant. When asked by his accountant if his net worth was more than $2 million for purposes of filling out the expatriation form, Tinkov lied and told him he did not have assets above $2 million. When his accountant later inquired whether his net worth was under $2 million, rather than answer the question, Tinkov filled out the expatriation form himself falsely reporting that his net worth was only $300,000. On Feb. 26, 2014, Tinkov filed a 2013 individual tax return that falsely reported his income as only $205,317. In addition, Tinkov did not report any of the gain from the constructive sale of his property worth more than $1.1 billion, nor did he pay the applicable taxes as required by law. In total, Tinkov caused a tax loss of $248,525,339, which he has paid in full with substantial penalties and interest as part of his plea, together with tax liabilities for other years."

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