How Roman Abramovich used shell companies and Wall Street connections to invest in the United States

ByRichard C. Sloan

Mar 24, 2022

Over the years, Concord has arranged more than 100 investments in different hedge funds and private equity firms, mostly for Mr. Abramovich, according to an internal document prepared by a Wall Street firm. They included funds managed by Millennium Management, BlackRock, Sarissa Capital Management, Carlyle Group, DE Shaw and Bear Stearns, according to people familiar with the matter and the document.

Concord kept a low profile. He didn’t have a website. It is not registered with US regulators. One of the few times it surfaced in public was in 2020, when Concord applied for and received a $265,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan during the pandemic. (Concord repaid the loan, a spokesperson said.)

Concord’s secrecy has made some on Wall Street suspicious.

In 2015 and 2016, investigators from State Street, a financial services firm, filed “suspicious activity reports” alerting the US government to deals Concord had arranged involving some of Mr. Abramovich’s Caribbean shell companies, said reported BuzzFeed News. State Street declined to comment.

U.S. financial institutions are required to file such reports to help the U.S. government combat money laundering and other financial crimes, although the reports themselves are not evidence of wrongdoing.

But for the most part, American financiers had no idea – or interest in finding out – the source of the money that Concord was directing. As long as the routine background checks showed no red flags, everything was fine.

Paulson & Company, the hedge fund run by John Paulson, received investments from a company represented by Concord, according to a person with knowledge of the investment. Mr Paulson said in an email that he had “no knowledge” of Concord’s investors.

Concord also funneled tens of millions of dollars from two shell companies to Highland Capital, a Texas-based hedge fund. Highland hired a unit from JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, to ensure companies were legitimate and investments complied with anti-money laundering rules, Federal Court filings show in a case unrelated bankruptcy.