Putin Aide’s Wife Helped Buy Corus Stock Via Trust, Usmanov Says

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, an investor in Facebook Inc., said a trust for the wife of one of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s deputies helped him buy stock in Corus Group, a British steelmaker now part of Tata Steel.

The trust for Olga Shuvalova, wife of First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, was a partner while the billionaire invested in Corus from 2003 to 2005, Usmanov said. Shuvalov was an economic aide to then-President Putin at the time.

“I had three co-investors,” Usmanov said in a phone interview, commenting on a report by Barron’s published Dec. 3. “The trust, in which Igor Shuvalov’s wife was beneficial holder, was one of them.”

The billionaire’s Gallagher Holdings spent about $300 million buying 13.4 percent of Corus, according to a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2004.

Shuvalova’s trust invested $50 million in the deal, while Vasily Anisimov, a co-owner in Usmanov’s Metalloinvest iron-ore producer, provided about $100 million, the billionaire said. A Russian bank put up $50 million and Usmanov invested the remaining $119 million, he said.

“The deal was done in accordance with all laws,” Usmanov said.

Gallagher sold out of Corus in 2005. “I made about $1 billion of profit on the investments, including that made in Corus,” he said without elaborating. “Fifteen percent of the profit was shared with co-investors.”

All financial deals that Shuvalov and his family are involved with were declared officially, and the information is public and transparent, Shuvalov’s press service said.

Shuvalov earned 15 million rubles ($480,000) last year, according to his declaration, while his wife, Olga, disclosed 373 million rubles of income.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at yfedorinova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net