( ) – Jets used for corporate travelby Russian state-owned oil major Rosneft flew atleast13timesto Mallorca,Ibiza,Sardinia and the Maldives when CEO Igor Sechin or people from his social circle were in the same vacation spots.
Using publicly available data, tracked290Rosneft flights betweenJanuary,2015 andMay,2019. Of those round trips,96took place during Russian public holidays or between Friday lunchtime in Moscow and Monday morning.
Since the start of 2015, Rosneft corporate jets traveled eight times to Sardinia’s Olbiaairport,15times to the Maldives and seven times to Spain’s Palma de Mallorca, according to the flight tracking data from planefinder.net, flightaware.com, opensky.network.org and flight-data.adsbexchange.com.
found no public information released by Rosneft or the Russian authorities about official events at those destinations, although the company does not always disclose information about its meetings.
For some of the flights to vacation spots, Sechin’s associates, including his wife before their divorceand mutualfriends, posted photos onsocial media placing them at the same location as the Rosneft aircraft at the same time.
Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and head of the world’s largest listed oil company by production, has not appeared in social media posts from the holiday resorts.
But did photograph a man closely matching his description boarding a Rosneft plane at Palma da Mallorca airporton Aug. 6 last year.
Overall, found public information from Rosneft or the Russian authorities about official events corresponding to 42of the 290 flights.
In a statement issued on Tuesday in response to questions, Rosneft said that as a globalcompany it works in all parts of the world, and that expenditures on corporate aircraft are “carried out in accordance with the approved corporate standards.” It did not give details.
Rosneft declined to answer detailed questions from , saying thenewsagency wasconducting “information sabotage in the serviceofthe intelligence services of interested states.”
Among the questions the company declined to address were whether Sechin’s employment contract entitled him to use corporate jets for personal purposes orwhether Sechin reimbursed the company for private flights.
In a replysent in Apriltoprevious questionsabout the use of corporate aircraft bythe friends or family members of Rosneft employees, the company said:”No private transport of family members was carried out at the expense of the company.”
A source close to the Rosneft board of directors said no clausein Sechin’s contractallowing private flightshad been put before the board for approval.
Sechin’s use of corporate aircraft for travel to holiday destinations – regardless of whether his contract permits it or not- is part of a pattern of wasteful spending by Rosneft,said Vladimir Milov, Russian deputy energy minister until 2002.
Milovisnow a critic of the Kremlin,arguing that Putin’s circle is using Russia’s natural resources wealth for their own benefit.
He also citeda2017orderplaced by acompany subsidiary to buy tableware includingcaviar dishesandsilver spoonswith a total value of$83,000.
After Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny disclosed the order on YouTube on May 22, 2017, it was canceled the next day, according to Rosneft’s website.
The office of Kremlin spokesman DmitryPeskovdeclined to comment on the Rosneft flights, saying it was an internal, corporate matter. The Russian government’sspokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
SIX FLIGHTS TO MALLORCAIN A YEAR
Between January 2015 and May 2019 Rosneft used a fleet of six businessjetsregistered in Austria and the Isle of Man. They were owned by Rosneft subsidiaries, chartered by Rosneft, used for official Rosneft corporate trips, or in most cases all three.
The photograph believes is of Sechin shows him boarding aRosneft-operated Bombardier 6000aircraft at Palma de Mallorca airporton Aug. 6, 2018.The photograph was taken from a public thoroughfare.
The same jet – with tail numberM-YOIL- flew into Palma de Mallorcasix timesbetween mid-July andlate-August,2018, according to flight tracking data and photographs taken by at the airport.
Over that period, the aircraft was on Mallorca or nearbyfor 27 days, not including the day of arrival or departure.
OnJuly 15, the day a Rosneft flight landed in Palma de Mallorca, theRussianpop singer and Sechin family friend AnitaTsoy posted on Instagram that her family’s long-awaited vacation had begun.
On July 19, she posted a photograph on Instagram, tagged as having been taken on Mallorca, of her,her 26-year-old sonand her husband, SergeiTsoy, a senior Rosneftexecutive.
On Aug. 1,the day after the Rosneft jet landed back in Moscow, she posted a photo tagged Moscow.”The holiday has come to an end,” she wrote.
NeitherAnitaTsoynor SergeiTsoyresponded to requests for comment. Rosneft did not respondto questions about the flights to Palma.
CODE OF CONDUCT
Rosneft’s corporatecode of conduct, a public document, states that “we do not use the company’s property and assets not for the purposes intended, or to personal ends or with the aim of extracting personal benefit.”
The full cost of the flights is not available, but found documents showing the costs of running one of the private jets in 2016.
The jet with tail number M-YOILis operatedby a Singapore-registered company calledAV Asia Developments Pte Ltd, according to Eurocontrol, an inter-governmental aviation body.
A 2016 financial report for AV Asia Developments,100 percent controlled by Rosneft, stated the company received $1.86 million for the charter ofthe sole jetitoperated at the time, and morethan $2 millionfor services related to the same plane.
AV Asia Developmentsdid not respond to a request for comment.
Flight tracking data showed that during 2016, the plane carried out12flights totaling around 96 hours in the air.
When set against the figures in the AV Asia Developments report, that worksout at an hourly cost– a standard industry measure of the cost of private jet services-ofabout$40,000, or about$19,000excluding services costs.
A return business class flight from Moscow to the Maldives with Russian carrier Aeroflot,departingJune28 and returning July4,costs$3,770according to the Aeroflot booking website.
“EMERALD COAST”, MALDIVES FLIGHTS
Sechin’s then-wifeOlgaSechinaspent part of thesummer of 2015at CostaSmeraldain Sardinia, according to her posts on social mediatagged with the location, and posts of her friend Olga Tonkikh.
Sechina’sfirst post from therewas on June 30, and the last social media record of the vacation was anAug. 21 poston one ofTonkikh’ssocial media accounts, featuringSechina.
Aroundthat period, a Rosneft Bombardier Global 6000 jetwith the tail numberOE-IRSwas recorded three times at Sardinia’s Olbia airport:on July 26, Aug. 16 and Sept. 9, according to flight tracking data.
On Aug. 14, the Cala Di Volpe hotel at the Costa Smeralda resort hosted a private concert by British pop singer Robbie Williams, according to the hotel’s Facebook posts.
The same day, Olga Tonkikh posted a photograph on Instagram showing both women with hashtags including #robiwilliams.
NeitherTonkikh norOlgaSechina responded to requests for comment. Rosneft did not reply to questions aboutflights to Sardinia.
On the night ofDec. 24, 2016,a Rosneft Boeing businessjet with tail number OE-IRFtook off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport in the direction of the Indian Ocean, flight tracking data showed.Two days afterthe flight departed,Tsoy, the pop star, posted a picture of herself on Instagram from inside an aircraft that matches the interior of a Boeing business jet.
”And here the long-awaited moment has arrived: VACATION,” she wrote next to the photo.
On Jan. 3, 2017she posted a picture of herself on a golf course thatmatched publicityphotos for Velaa Private Island, an exclusive Maldives resort.
OnDec. 28, 2016 and Jan. 4,Sechin’s then-wife Olga posted photographs on Instagram of herself in a room that matches publicity material of Velaa Private Residence posted on the resort’s website.
Sechin and his wife divorced inJune 2017,according to court documents seen by .
There have been Rosneft flights to the Maldives since then.
Flight tracking data showed two Rosneft private jets flying into the international airport in the Maldiveson Dec. 28 and out again hours later. The same two planes flew back to the Maldiveson Jan 9.and returned to Moscow onJan. 12.
saw photographs ofthe aircrafttakenwhile they were atVelanaInternational Airportin Januarybeforethey took off for Moscow.
There isno public recordof Rosneft executives having any business meetings in the Maldives in the last three years.
Sechin’s ex-wife and AnitaTsoydid not respond to questions about their trips to the Maldives.