Former team owner Oleg Tinkov renounces Russian citizenship

The banker, who previously owned WorldTour cycling team Tinkoff, has been vocal in his criticism of Vladimir Putin

Oleg TInkov at the 2014 Tour de France
Oleg Tinkov at the 2014 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty)

Former WorldTour team owner Oleg Tinkov has chosen to part with his Russian citizenship amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

“I have taken the decision to exit my Russian citizenship,” the billionaire banker wrote on Instagram on Monday. “I can’t and won’t be associated with a fascist country that started a war with their peaceful neighbour and killing innocent people daily.”

Accompanying the post was an image of Tinkov’s certificate showing his Russian citizenship had been terminated.  

“I hope more prominent Russian businessmen will follow me, so it weakens Putin’s regime and his economy, and put him eventually to defeat,” he continued.

Earlier today, Tinkov shared another instagram post saying his original message had “mysteriously disappeared”, before reiterating his criticism of president Vladimir Putin. 

In April, having been placed on the UK sanctions list, Tinkov denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an “insane war”, claiming that 90% of Russians were against the Kremlin’s military action. Shortly after his statements, the bank tycoon told the FT that he had sold his 35% stake in Tinkoff Bank, which he founded in 2006, and gone into hiding.  

In his second Instagram post, Tinkov outlined his intention to seek legal help to change the name of his bank. “I hate when my brand/name is associated with the bank that collaborates with killers and blood,” he wrote. 

Tinkov entered the world of cycling in 2005 when he created his Tinkoff Restaurants team, composed of members of the Russian track cycling squad. 

In 2013, he acquired Bjarne Riis’s Team Saxo-Bank, having co-sponsored the team since the previous summer. At the start of the new season, the team was renamed Tinkoff-Saxo, incorporating the name of Tinkov’s bank. 

The following year, Alberto Contador won the Vuelta a España in the team's colours, before going on to win the Giro d’Italia in 2015. That same year, Tinkov signed Peter Sagan on a three-year deal. 

In the two years Sagan spent riding for Tinkoff, he won the road race at the World Championships twice as well as two Tour de France green jerseys. In November 2016, after having been the team’s sole sponsor for a season, Tinkov disbanded the team, citing the financial burden of the project. 

Tinkov was born in Russia and has held United States citizenship since 1996. 

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