Tui Group plays down Mordashov connection
Alexey Mordashov, the largest shareholder in Tui Group, has been sanctioned by the European Union.
By some estimates the second richest man in the country, he has been hit by restrictions along with dozens of other wealthy Russians.
Sanctions can include an asset freeze on funds and assets held in the European Union, as well as travel bans on individuals.
Mordashov made his fortune off a majority stake in Russian steel company, Severstal.
The European Union and United States have led sanctions against wealthy Russians and the Russian state as the country launches an invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
Fritz Joussen, chief executive of Tui Group, sought to play down the connection.
“Some of you have also asked me about our largest single shareholder Alexey Mordashov and our position with him.
“Mordashov has been a TUI shareholder for around 15 years and has held about a third of our company since he propped it up during the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.
“Two thirds of our shareholders are from Germany, the EU, the UK, the US or are funds.
“Mordashov is also one of 20 representatives on the supervisory board elected by shareholders at the annual general meeting.
“However, our company is run by the executive board, like any German public limited company, and not by the shareholders or the supervisory board.
“We therefore assume that any restrictions or sanctions against Mordashov will not have any lasting negative consequences for us as a company.”
Joussen added Tui itself was no longer represented with companies in Russia and Ukraine.
He continued: “As you know, we sold our shareholdings in the tour operators in Russia and Ukraine some time ago.
“However, in order to ensure the safety of our customers, we will make or have already made adjustments in some areas, such as flight routes and cruise destinations.
“We are in contact with the employees of service providers in Ukraine who work for us and are supporting them as best we can to keep themselves and their families safe.
“TUI Cruises is also intensively looking after crew members from Ukraine who are employed on board our fleet of ships.”
In a statement released through the Tass news agency in Russia, Mordashov said he was shocked by the decision.
“I have never been close to politics and have always focused on building economic value at the companies I have worked for both in Russia and abroad, creating jobs and supporting local communities.
“I have absolutely nothing to do with the emergence of the current geopolitical tension and I do not understand why the EU has imposed sanctions on me,” the businessman said.
“For a very long time, I have been engaged in the development of economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with many European countries and I fail to understand how these sanctions against me will contribute to the settlement of the dreadful conflict in Ukraine.”