UK Telecoms company has links to Russian oligarchs and sanctioned deals

UK Telecoms company has links to Russian oligarchs and sanctioned deals


UK Telecoms company has links to Russian oligarchs and sanctioned deals

Follow on
Follow us on Google News

(Web Desk) - A UK Telecoms provider has been awarded Russian state contracts from agencies controlled by sanctioned individuals, including an ally of Vladimir Putin, while its Tory-donor backer posts anti-Ukrainian propaganda on social media.

RETN Capital, which provides services across Europe, claims to have limited its exposure to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine and complied with sanctions, but instead its revenue from the country has rocketed since the war began, partly driven by contracts from sanctioned state entities, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

An investigation by the newspaper also found that the co-owner of RETN’s primary institutional investor, Njord Partners, was posting content on X (formerly Twitter) attacking Ukraine and President Zelensky.

One repost stated: “Ukraine has always been a very dodgy place, run by friends of the globalists like Hunter Bider where incredibly shifty s*** goes on”.

Trolle also reposted: “Why is no one stating the obvious? Zelensky has regime-ending dirt on Biden and other Western leaders who have used Ukraine as their corruption playground for decades.”

Trolle, a former Oaktree Capital executive who donated £20,000 to Conservative MP Priti Patel when she was UK Home Secretary, also posted conspiracy theories on his X account, the Telegraph reported.

Trolle’s partner at Njord Partners, Jakob Kjellberg, is currently the Chairman of RETN.

A repost of anti-Ukrainian propaganda (left,centre) by Arvid Trolle (far right) on X in November 2022

RETN’s wholly owned Russian subsidiary received contracts from state entities which have been sanctioned since the war in Ukraine, according to Interfax-Spark, a database of official contracts.

In December 2022, RETN’s Russian arm won a contract with the Kurchatov Institute, a Russian state-controlled aviation research agency which is sanctioned by the UK and US. Its general director Mikhail Kovalchuk and his brother Yury, a close ally of President Putin, are subject to sanctions by the UK, Canada and Ukraine.

Two months later RETN was awarded a contract with the Russian State Enterprise Fuel and Energy Complex of St Petersburg – known as GUP TEK. Both GUP TEK and its general director, Ivan Boltenkov, are sanctioned by Ukraine.

RETN’s ties with the Russian state and sanctioned agencies are also apparent in the company’s 2022 financial statements, the newspaper reported. One of the main customers of RETN’s Russian subsidiary is PJSC Rostelecom, which is partially state-owned.

The Russian subsidiary is also a client of the Russian bank Rosbank. Both Rosbank and Rostelecom are sanctioned by the West and Ukraine.

There are also questions over the current ownership of RETN Partners, after its major shareholdings were moved around following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Until January 2021, the largest individual beneficial shareholder of RETN Capital was Polina Maltseva, the daughter of Anatoly Danilitsky, a former Russian diplomat and executive director of the Russian National Reserve Corporation. Danilitsky was also previously the chairman of RETN’s Russian subsidiary.

The UK High Court once declared Maltseva to be a proxy for her father’s financial interests. She acquired her stake in RETN in 2016, shortly after her father resigned as chairman of its subsidiary. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Maltseva’s stake in RETN was transferred to Anna Tindl, a German lawyer based in Vienna, Austria.

Tindl is also now a director of RETN, but unlike Kjellberg she does not appear on its website.

The slick public face of RETN (left) and the Russian oligarch whose daughter acted as a proxy (right)


Tindl has had partnerships with numerous entities connected with the Russian and Kremlin interests. This includes the Viennese radio station, Radio Ru, which changed it names to Alpha Radio in 2023. The station was founded by Yuri Aleksandrovich Zaitsev, another former Russian diplomat, whom the FBI suspected of espionage and operating as a Kremlin recruiter, while serving in Washington in 2013.

After the invasion of Ukraine, Zaitsev transferred his stake in Radio Ru to a German company, Iallo Gmbh, whose director is Tindl.

Tindl has also been a shareholder of Radio Ru since about the time Zaitsev founded it in 2019.

Other former shareholders of Radio Ru included, Andrei Zolotov, head of the Vienna bureau of the Putin aligned RIA Novosti.
A spokesman for RETN said: “RETN Capital Ltd is fully in compliance with all relevant international sanctions.

“Our group policies require all the independent local operating subsidiaries to do likewise and the training and software tools to identify any potential sanctioned transactions are provided to them.

“RETN has consistently strived to construct a reliable international network platform that fosters global interconnectivity and supports the development of the global internet. As such, the company’s products revolve around internet access and other communication services which are generally exempted from international sanctions as most Western governments see them as having fundamental importance for democracy, progress and freedom of expression.

“We will raise the alleged transactions which you have brought to our attention, with the management of RETNNet, our Russian subsidiary, and ask them to reconfirm full compliance with our group sanctions policies.”

Njord Partners were asked to comment but did not respond.