Yle’s investigation reveals the connections of the Finnish hockey team to Putin’s close circle

Yle's investigation reveals the connections of the Finnish hockey team to Putin's close circle

Helsinki-based hockey team Jokerit announced on Friday that it would leave the Continental Hockey League (KHL) early this season following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. However, the Jokers refused to comment on their decision to Yle Sport and did not say whether they plan to join KHL next season.

The league was originally formed from the Russian Super League, and 19 of the 24 teams in the series are in Russia.

Several Western countries, including Finland, have condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and the sports community has also responded to the attack in part by refusing to participate in sports competitions in Russia.

The pressure on Jokers has increased over the past 24 hours, when the team has lost its partnership with the personnel services company Barona, the real estate company RE / MAX Finland and Taxi Helsinki. Hartwall also announced on Thursday to commercial broadcaster MTV that it was considering terminating its partnership with the hockey team.

The Jokers and its home arena are both linked to Russian businessmen in Putin’s neighborhood. Yle’s MOT delivery has previously clarified their relationship with the Russian leadership and business in tax havens.

The Hartwall Arena, where the Jokers play home games, is owned Helsinki Hallwhose main shareholder is Arena events. The chairman of the boards of both companies is a Russian businessman Roman Rotenbergand Rotenberg and Gennady Tymoshenko are the main owners of the arena.

Roman Rotenberg’s father is Boris Rotenberg and his uncle is Arkadi Rotenberg. Tymoshenko and the Rotenberg are known for their close relationship with Putin. The United States and Britain have both added businessmen to anti-Russian sanctions lists.

Tymoshenko and the Rotenberg are also former financiers of the Jokers. The current owner of the hockey team is Jari Kurri through his company Jack Promotions. Mining company Norilsk nickel owns a significant stake in its company and thus in the Jokers. The company is part of a group whose main owner is the Russian oligarch Vladimir Potaninone of the richest people in Russia.

The jokers have accumulated losses of more than EUR 10 million annually, which have been compensated by the owners with capital loans.

The Russian KHL League is the country’s main hockey league, where the Jokerit has played since 2014. Roman Rotenberg is also the head coach of the KHL club in St. Petersburg SKA. Rotenberg’s father, Boris Rotenberg, gave an interview to Sport Expressen in January and said his son had appointed himself head coach.

Source: The Nordic Page

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