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US charges Russian billionaire Tinkov with tax fraud

Oleg Tinkov (Tinkoff Bank/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov has been formally charged with tax fraud for allegedly filing false tax returns, the U.S. Justice Department says.

An indictment issued on September 26, 2019, by a federal grand jury was unsealed on March 5 following Tinkov’s arrest in London.

Tinkov is the founder of TCS Group Holdings, a digital financial-services company operating in Russia.

According to The Sunday Express newspaper in Britain, Tinkov had posted bail of 20 million pounds ($25.6 million) to remain free in London as he fights the U.S. tax authorities.

According to the indictment, Tinkov’s charges relate to an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange of TCS shares.

Three days after the IPO, Tinkoff, a Russian national, gave up his U.S. citizenship, the indictment said.

U.S. passport holders must pay an “exit tax” to the IRS when they give up their American citizenship. The tax is based on the profit Tinkov would have made if he sold all of his assets at the time he relinquished his citizenship.

The indictment says the Russian “allegedly concealed $1 billion in assets and income when renouncing U.S. citizenship.”