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London's High Court ordered the former trader of Shell Evgeny Tikhonov to return $ 2.5 million to the company , as well as give more than two-thirds of the Riga apartment, purchased on corporate funds. In 2006-2007. Shell transferred money to Tikhonov to bribe the owners of the company «Sovfracht» (one of the largest freight-forwarding companies in Russia). With the help of bribes the oil company hoped to reduce the cost of Russian oil transporting by rail. The court decided that Tikhonov made «highly dishonest acts" and used the funds allocated to him for personal gain.
Being a citizen of Lithuania Evgeny Tikhonov lives in Riga now. Prior to joining Shell in October 2004, he worked as a trader in Albion Oil companies and Starsupply Tullett Energy. In Shell Tikhonov oversaw the supply of fuel from the former Soviet Union, alternately working in London, then in the Moscow office of the company.
In August-December 2006, while in Moscow, Tikhonov received about $ 800 thousand for official purposes. Then Shell traced the path of the money and found out that the trader had used them to buy an apartment in Riga. This fact prompted the company to go to court. To protect himself, the trader tried to prove that he had made an expensive purchase on the proceeds of investments in Russian real estate, as well as on the funds of his relatives. In the autumn of 2008, Shell seized the apartment, but Tikhonov managed to get rid of it by giving it to offset the debt on personal loans. That fact completely undermined the credibility of Judge Jack to the trader. "Tikhonov turned out to act dishonestly, and therefore his testimony could be completely false", as it was written in the High Court's decision.
After Tikhonov returned to London in 2007, Shell transferred 2,5 million to the accounts of offshore T Capital Ltd $. The oil company argued that Tikhonov was the beneficiary of this company. The trader said that that offshore had been created in favor of the shareholder of “Sovfrakht" Alexander Ivanov. And the money was a bribe, for which Ivanov agreed to reduce the cost of transportation for Shell Oil.
In addition, Tikhonov claimed in his testimony that the first letter T in the name of offshoring is not for him in any way. The trader hinted that initials of Tchigirinski family laid behind it (in English the name starts with letter T). The appearance of the name of the notorious Russian businessman Shalva Tchigirinski was due to the fact that his son Vadim did business with one of the senior staff in Sovfrakht. Shalva Tchigirinski has long been a co-owner of oil company Sibir Energy (a year ago, the company came under the control of Gazprom Neft). Working in the Shell, Tikhonov kept several contracts with Sibir Energy and Sovfrakht.
The Court was impressed with the apartment scam and found testimony by Tikhonov unconvincing and ruled in favor of Shell. Initially, the company demanded from the trader a compensation for harm, but then decided to have the amount of lawsuit with a small percentage returned. In this case, the court found that management of Tikhonov was aware of the true purpose of $ 2.5 million, even though the corporate code of Shell says that «direct or indirect offer, payment, claim or receiving a bribe in any form" are unacceptable.
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