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Helsinki Arena owners slapped with US sanctions over Ukraine

A new list of Russians subject to US sanctions includes three businessmen with major investments in Finland. Two, Gennady Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg, hold Finnish citizenship. The other third is Boris's brother Arkady.

Venäläis-suomalainen liikemies Gennadi Timtshenko (vas.), Jokereiden hallituksen puheenjohtaja Hjallis Harkimo ja liikemies Roman Rotenberg tiedotustilaisuudessa Hartwall Areenalla Helsingissä perjantaina 28. kesäkuuta.
Gennady Timchenko (left), Jokerit board chairman Hjallis Harkimo and Boris Rotenberg's son Roman at a press conference at Helsinki Arena last June. Image: Aleksi Tuomola / Lehtikuva

Last year they bought the Helsinki Arena and a major stake in the Jokerit ice hockey team, which to join the Russian-based KHL next year.

On Thursday evening Finnish time, President Barack Obama announced the release of a list of 16 Russian government officials and four members of the Russian leadership’s inner circle.

The latter – including Timchenko and the Rotenbergs – are accused of “acting for or on behalf of or materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of” senior government officials.

Putin's judo coach

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control lists Timchenko as a 61-year-old Armenian-born Finn with “alternate” Russian and Armenian nationality, who lives in Switzerland. Less information is provided about the Rotenbergs, who are Russian citizens of around the same age. Boris Rotenberg also holds Finnish citizenship.

The moguls own 49 percent of Jokerit, which was one of Finland’s most successful and popular teams.

Timchenko owns International Petroleum Products (IPP), which exports oil from Russia via Finland. Forbes Magazine estimates his wealth at more than 10 billion and ranks him 61st among the world’s richest people.

All three are considered to be members of Putin’s inner circle, with Boris Rotenberg once serving as his judo coach.

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