Financial Analyst Fired in Russia after Criticizing Gazprom

A financial analyst has been fired in Russia a day after publishing a report saying that Russian gas pipeline contracts are designed to benefit oligarchs allied with President Vladimir Putin, bne IntelliNews reported.

Sberbank CIB analysts Anna Kotelnikova and Alexander Fak’s report said that the decisions of state-run energy firm Gazprom become “very clear once we assume that the company is managed in the interests of its contractors, and not for extracting commercial profits.”

According to the report covering Russia’s oil and gas business, the state gas company’s projects to construct export-oriented pipelines like the Power of Siberia, Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream, mean the subcontractors enjoy the greatest benefit.

“Dear all — I was dismissed today for writing the recent report on Gazprom,” Fak wrote in an email cited by journalist Yelena Tofanyuk’s Telegram channel.

The head of Sberbank’s corporate investment department Igor Bulantsev told RBC that the company was “dealing with an unprofessional report.”

The spokespersons for billionaires Gennady Timchenko and Arkady Rotenberg, whose companies were named as the main beneficiaries of Gazprom’s gas pipeline contracts, denied requesting Fak’s dismissal.

“That would have reeked of something out of the Middle Ages,” RBC quoted Timchenko’s spokesperson as saying.

Prior to this, Fack became known in connection with critical assessments of the work of another state-owned company – oil giant Rosneft. In his report from October 2017, titled Rosneft: We Need To Talk About Igor (Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin), Fack and his co-authors Anna Kotelnikova and Valery Nesterov criticized the official and his handling of the company. According to them, after 2013 Rosneft, despite investors’ expectations, did not reduce its debt, but spent $22 billion “for acquisitions without clear focus.” Sberbank later withdrew the report.