Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element conglomerate now has a former spook as CEO

Meduza

The new general director of Oleg Deripaska’s industrial group “Basic Element” is reportedly Valery Pechenkin. Before coming to the company in the early 2000s, Pechenkin spent more than 30 years working in Russian intelligence, according to the magazine RBC. From 1997 to 2000, he even served as deputy director of the Federal Security Service and managed the agency’s counterintelligence department.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned a dozen companies associated with several prominent “Russian oligarchs.” “Deripaska has said that he does not separate himself from the Russian state. [...] Deripaska has been investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering. There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group,” the Treasury said in a press release on April 6. Following the imposition of U.S. sanctions, the value of shares in Rusal and En+ plummeted.

In May, after just three months on the job, Alexander Buriko stepped down as Rusal’s CEO. The company is also losing seven members of its executive board, effective on June 28. The board members will be migrating to seats on the board of directors at En+ Group (another company owned by Oleg Deripaska). The personnel shuffle is part of Rusal’s efforts to shake free from U.S. sanctions. In May, the U.S. Treasury said its beef is with Deripaska, and it is prepared to drop sanctions against Rusal, En+ Group, and GAZ Group, if Deripaska divests.