April 19, 2023

More War, More Debts, More Money


More War, More Debts, More Money
Vladimir Putin, his wife Lyudmila, and Jacques Chirac at the military parade celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of victory in World War II. ITAR-TASS, Wikimedia Commons

According to Telegram channel Mozhem Obyasnit, the microfinance company CarMoney, which has ties with Putin’s ex-wife Lyudmila Ochertnaya, increased its profits by 66% in 2022 and earned R391.3 million ($4.7 million). Ochertnaya herself received R58 million (about $700,000) from CarMoney.

CarMoney is a microfinance company that issues loans secured by cars. The company appeared in 2010 but did not really grow until Ocheretnaya entered the game. Since 2017, CarMoney has been taken over by the Cyprus-based offshore company Carmoney CY LTD, which, according to Mozhem Obyasnit, is controlled by Meridian. This company in turn is owned by the ex-wife of the Russian president. 

However, at the end of 2022, the Cyprus-based offshore formally ceased to be the owner of the microfinance organization, switching instead to "Smarttechgrup." As such, CarMoney was able to avoid Western sanctions.

However, Ochertnaya still retains control over the company. Mozhem Obyasnit reported that Anton Zinoviev, CEO of the new owner of CarMoney, is Ocheretnaya’s partner in the smartphone rental business Zaprosto. And the company’s office is located in a building owned by Ocheretnaya and her new husband, Arthur Ocheretny.

CarMoney has increased its profits amid a boom in microloans. By the end of 2022, microfinance companies in Russia increased grew their customer base by 3.1 million. In general, as of the beginning of 2023, the number of Russians with microcredits reached a record 17.1 million. After the start of the mobilization in Russia, microfinance organizations began to issue loans for the purchase of bulletproof vests and other war equipment.

At the same time, the overall economic situation in the country has deteriorated significantly over the year of the war. The expected deficit of the Russian budget will reach 3 percent this year, the Russian middle class (about 30 percent of the population) saw their real income drop by 5 percent, and, for the Russian population as a whole, the drop in income has been 2.2 percent.

 

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