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ANNA Money founders break ties with sanctioned Russian billionaires

Boris Diakonov and Eduard Panteleev have retaken majority control in the business.

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Eduard Panteleev/ANNA.

London-based business current account ANNA Money has severed its ties with Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, two Russian billionaires who had indirectly become major shareholders in the fintech.

Fridman is reportedly the seventh-richest Russian having co-founded the country’s largest private bank, Alfa-Bank, a bank where Aven served as president until 2022.

Both men are reportedly close to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and have been named among the Russian oligarchs covered by US and EU sanctions.

Friedman and Aven held a stake in ABH Holdings, which itself invested £17.5m to become a majority shareholder in ANNA via its FIBR Financial Technologies investment arm.

Two of ANNA’s founders, Boris Diakonov and Eduard Panteleev, today fully acquired FIBR’s stake in the business, cutting any link with Friedman and Aven.

“We are very grateful to our investors, who supported ANNA over the years and have enabled its growth since our launch in 2018,” said Panteleev.

“We are thrilled to now be completely independent and founder-owned, and we look forward to a new chapter in this exciting journey.”

Immediately after the invasion of Ukraine ANNA’s founders had already amended their shareholding agreement to restrict FIBR’s ability to nominate directors and preventing the investor from receiving any financial benefit from the fintech.

Today ANNA has only three directors, Diakonov and Panteleev along with Andrew Doman, an independent director appointed in April via an executive search consultancy and with no links to FIBR.

Panteleev said ANNA is already hard at work on new features, including fully-automated tax products embedded within its business accounts that the fintech aims to launch in Q1 2023.

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