Exclusive: Former Yukos CEO Buys 12.5% Stake in Leverate

Forex Magnates discovered that the high-ranking Russian-American oil man has been appointed as a director, amid a share reshuffle in

Online brokerage technology provider Leverate has recruited a very surprising new member to its board of directors and list of share owners. Simon Kukes, a high ranking Russian-American executive, is now on the firm’s board of directors holding 12.5% of its stocks.

This last December, the founders of Leverate signed a deal for an undisclosed sum with Saxo Bank to buy back the company’s shares, held by the Danish multi-asset broker since July 2011.

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The bank reported goodwill impairment losses on the investment of around $7.5 million during 2013 and 2014. Based on an estimation that the initial deal was priced at $12.5 million, these figures suggest a buyback of $5 million.

However, Leverate did not have to wait even three months to get new investors.

Mr. Doron Cohen, Chairman of the Board at Leverate, said to Forex Magnates that Mr. Kukes’ personal investment was the result of the firm’s active search for a suitable partner during the process of buying back the shares from Saxo Bank. “Mr. Kukes brings vast experience and successful track record, and we are delighted to have him,” he added.

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Who Is Leverate’s New Director?

Dr. Simon Kukes is a top Russian-born American oil man with an impressive career and is one of the most well-known figures in the Russian petroleum industry. Kukes served as Chief Executive of Yukos from 2003 to June 2004.

He became the CEO of the now defunct Russian energy giant after his predecessor and Putin critic, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sent to jail and was forced to step down himself after the Russian government accused the firm of massive tax avoidance. He first worked at Yukos as Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning, Marketing and Trading from 1996 to 1998.

Kukes graduated from Moscow’s Chemical Technology Institute in 1969 with high distinction and from the USSR Academy of Science in 1973 with a PhD. He was a Postdoctoral fellow at Rice University, Houston, Texas in 1977 and has been a U.S. citizen since 1982. He is the holder of more than a hundred patents and has published more than sixty scientific papers.

Before returning to Yukos as CEO, Kukes served as President and CEO of Tyumen Oil Company (TNK-BP) from 1998 to 2003. TNK is itself owned by Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest privately owned financial investment conglomerates. Interestingly, Leverate’s recently appointed sales manager assigned to the Russian market, Evgeny Chernin, was in charge of a deal between his previous firm and the group’s Alfa Capital back in February 2013 as Regional Sales Manager at SuperDerivatives.

Another interesting new owner of Leverate stocks is Israeli investment house Tamir Fishman. The powerhouse financial group now holds a small stake of 2.75% in the technology developer. There is no apparent link between the new investors in the firm and the recent reshuffle among its top management.

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