OCCRP on 16th July carried an article claiming that a Russian billionaire living in Greece has given hundreds of thousands of euros to Macedonian opponents of the country’s proposed name change.  The recipients include football hooligans who have rioted in the capital.  Evidence appears to show that at least €300,000 was given to opponents of the renaming by Ivan Savvidi, a Russian billionaire living in Greece who was formerly a member of the Russian parliament.  Georgian-born Savvidi, also known as Savvidis, made his fortune in the privatisation of what would become Russia’s largest tobacco company and is one of Russia’s wealthiest businessman, with an estimated wealth of $2 billion.  After moving to Greece in the mid-2000s, he purchased the PAOK football club and various media outlets, and his business empire now dominates the country’s second city of Thessaloniki.  Russia has also been implicated in protests in Greece over Macedonia’s name change, and Greece has expelled 2 Russian diplomats for paying opponents of the name deal and encouraging rallies against it.  It also banned 2 other Russian diplomats from entering the country.  Moscow has denied the claims.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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