HS2 contractor cuts ties with stakeholding Russian oligarch
HS2 London tunnels contractor Strabag has moved to distance itself from its stakeholding owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska
The Austrian tunnelling specialist is 28% owned by Rasperia Trading, which itself is controlled by the Russian oligarch.
Deripaska’s connection to Strabag has raised questions about the contractor’s three-way joint venture with Costain and Skanska, presently carrying out nearly £2bn of work on the HS2 project.
Sarah Green, MP for Chesham and Amersham, this week called on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to cut HS2’s ties with the firm.
She also wrote to HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston urging that it suspend works undertaken by Strabag and terminated all contracts with the firm.
HS2 refused to comment on the connection after the UK Government last week announced it was freezing assets of seven Russian oligarchs seen as being pro-Kremlin including Deripaska.
Today Strabag Group’s main board revealed its main family shareholder was cutting ties with the Rasperia trading company owned by Deripaska.
Strabag said in a statement that its main shareholder, the Haselsteiner Family Private Foundation, had ended a syndicate agreement with Rasperia, UNIQA and Raiffeisen after efforts to acquire the stake that the Russian company holds in Strabag failed.
The four groups shared ownership of Strabag through the agreement set up in 2007.
“We are prepared to take all legally possible measures to avert any harm to the company. In view of the sanctions currently imposed by the UK and Canada, this refers in particular to the payment of dividends,” said Thomas Birtel, CEO of Strabag.
“As far as Strabag’s Russian business is concerned – currently of subordinate importance with 0.3 % of the group’s output volume – the management board has decided to wind up the activities in that country.”