By Jonny Long
Former Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov has paid £20 million to avoid jail as he fights extradition to the US.
The 52-year-old appeared in Westminster magistrates last week after a provisional warrant for his arrest was issued by American prosecutors. The Russian is accused of filing a false tax return on which he under-reported his income in 2013.
His bail terms include a strict curfew until his next court hearing, where he will be electronically monitored and have to remain in his £7 million Kensington flat from 7pm until 7am every night.
Tinkov is also currently banned from airports and has to stay within the M25, having surrendered his passports and being under instruction to report to police three times a week.
Tinkov's umbrella company, TCS Group Holding Plc, made a statement on the situation, saying he "is confident [the matter] will be resolved as swiftly as possible" before adding it "does not affect any of the operating companies within the Tinkoff Group".
The billionaire is reported to be worth £1.9 billion, having launched his online Tinkoff Bank in 2006, which now has around eight million customers in Russia.
Tinkov bought the Saxo Bank team from Bjarne Riis in December 2013, often creating headlines until he revealed he would be leaving cycling sponsorship in 2016 and the team was disbanded that November. During his tenure, Alberto Contador won both the Vuelta a España and Giro d'Italia with the team, while Peter Sagan took multiple green jerseys at the Tour de France.
He has vowed to return to cycling as soon as Froome retires, telling Sporza: "I’m waiting for the end of the Froome-age to get back in the peloton. But one thing is certain: I will come back to win the Tour."
In February 2019, Tinkov reportedly made a £17 million offer to Dave Brailsford to take over Team Sky as the British squad searched for new backing.
Tinkov first entered the sport in 2005 when he founded Pro Continental team Tinkoff Restaurants, which became WorldTour outfit Katusha-Alpecin. Tinkov ended the sponsorship in 2008 due to disagreements with coach Alexander Kuznetsov.
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