AC34 Challenger of Record Artemis Racing has had a rough year of it; first losing Bart Simpson, then blowing some $100M of team owner Torborn Tornquist’s cash in what turned out to be the a completely uncompetitive bid for the America’s Cup and the weakest in the fleet.
Artemis boss Iain Percy has been busy building Tornquist’s team for AC35, with helmsman Nathan Outteridge signing up again and a design team rapidly coming together, but Russia’s military action in Ukraine may throw a wrench in Tornquist’s money machine if a Reuters report yesterday is a sign of things to come.
Reuters (via BusinessInsider) says that the US Government’s latest round of economic and travel sanctions names Gennady Timchenko (on the right in the image above), Tornquist’s partner and the co-founder of oil and gas business giant Gunvor, writing that “Timchenko’s activities in the energy sector have been directly linked to Putin” and that the Russian President “has investments in Gunvor and may have access to Gunvor funds.” Timchenko’s US holdings are immediately subject to an asset freeze and the oligarch can no longer travel to the US or its territories, and he ‘sold’ his 44% stake in Gunvor yesterday to Tornquist to prevent the turmoil from effecting the monster company he built.
With Europe in strong solidarity with the US and Russia showing no signs of backing down from its occupation and annexation of Crimea (and making strong moves now in Latin America), could Tornquist be next, potentially losing the ability to sponsor his Cup team or even attend any US-based events? Almost as importantly, the Russian annexation and its consequences certainly crush any hopes that Russian gas giant Gazprom had for getting their own Cup team off the ground this year. That could kill two well-funded AC teams off before the Protocol for AC35 even hits the mailbox, and the rumored Russian ACWS venue negotiations are not going to go well.
Nice work, Vlad!