Billionaire Russian banker renounces citizenship over Ukraine war

Oleg Tinkov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tinkoff Bank, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 7, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Oleg Tinkov, 54, called Vladimir Putin a fascist as he renounced his Russian citizenship. (Reuters)

A billionaire banker has renounced his Russian citizenship, saying he does not want to collaborate with "killers" amid the Ukraine war.

Oleg Tinkov, 54, founder of Tinkoff Bank, criticised Russia over its invasion of its neighbour, adding he didn't want to be associated with "fascism".

Tinkov, whose digital credit card company, TCS Group Holding, grew to become one of Russia's largest financial institutions, has been an outspoken critic of the war and president Vladimir Putin.

Before he sold his stake, Britain imposed sanctions on Tinkov, saying he was "receiving benefits from the Russian government" through his stake in a systemically important company.

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People walk past the logo of the Tinkoff Bank headquarters in Moscow on March 6, 2020. - The shares of the Russian private Tinkoff Bank, a pioneer of online banking technology, collapsed on the stock market on March 6, 2020, after Oleg Tinkov the president and founder of the TCS Group, the parent company of Tinkoff Bank, was charged with filing false tax returns, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
The Tinkoff Bank headquarters in Moscow. (Getty)

In an Instagram post published on Tuesday, he wrote: “I have decided to throw out Russian citizenship after Russia invades Ukraine, and start killing innocents there.

“I can’t be associated with Putin’s fascism regime."

He also said he was suing to force the bank to stop using his name, adding "My name should not be associated with fascism.

"I hate when my brand/name is associated with the bank that collaborates with killers and blood."

The bank said it had full legal rights to the use of the Tinkoff brand, the TASS news agency reported.

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The tycoon was worth almost $10 billion (£8.7b) at his peak, and launched electronics, frozen food and beer brands before setting up Tinkoff Bank in the mid-2000s.

Tinkov, who previously renounced his US citizenship, says he now has no business interests in Russia.

He is believed to be living in London where he underwent years of treatment for leukaemia.

He said an original Instagram post published on Monday, with a picture of a certificate renouncing his citizenship as of 26 October, had "mysteriously disappeared".

Tinkov was forced to sell his 35% stake in TCS, Tinkoff Bank's parent, to Russian metals magnate Vladimir Potanin in April, following a string of anti-war comments.

Read more: Russia ‘sending new reservists to Ukraine without any weapons’

TOPSHOT - This photograph taken on November 1, 2022, shows a destroyed tank near the recently recaptured Ukrainian village of Yampil, eastern Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP) (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A destroyed tank near the recently recaptured Ukrainian village of Yampil, eastern Ukraine. (Getty)

What is the latest in the Ukraine war?

Meanwhile, Russia has ordered civilians to leave a large area of Ukraine along the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

This is a major extension of an evacuation order that Ukraine said amounts to the forced depopulation of occupied territory.

It comes after explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in a fresh wave of attacks that prime minister Shmyhal said targeted 10 Ukrainian regions and damaged 18 mostly energy-related facilities.

In the wake of the attacks on infrastructure, the European Union (EU) is exploring ways to increase help for Ukraine's energy sector.

Putin has also denied Russia is ending its participation in a UN-brokered deal to export Ukrainian grain through Black Sea ports but rather is suspending it.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed this and said his country would continue exporting grain.

A record volume of 354,500 tonnes of agricultural products left Ukrainian ports on Monday as part of the Black Sea grain deal, Odesa's military administration said, despite Russia's decision.

Three more ships left on Tuesday.