The Queen’s Bookkeeper and the Oligarchs: Examining Sir Michael Peat’s Involvement with Roman Abramovich and Eugene Shvidler

By Michael Weiss


Executive summary

  • The involvement of Russian billionaire oligarchs in the British financial and political establishments has prompted concerns from oppositionists and regulatory bodies about the sources of money coming into the UK.
  • Roman Abramovich and Eugene Shvidler, two prominent UK-based oligarchs, are long-time friends and business partners, with Shvidler commonly referred to as Abramovich’s “representative on earth.”
  • In 2006, Abramovich “gifted” to Shvidler Le Grand Bleu, a luxury yacht equipped with a helicopter, speedboat and indoor aquarium.
  • In the last year, Sir Michael Peat, the former treasurer to the Queen of England and an active financial advisor to the Prince of Wales, was appointed to the board and Audit Committee of Evraz, Abramovich and Shvidler’s publicly-traded steel and mining company. Sir Michael’s annual compensation for this role is £250,000.
  • On 3 January 2012, Shvidler was appointed to the board of MC Peat & Co LLP, an investment brokerage run by Charlie Peat, Sir Michael’s son.
  • One of MC Peat & Co LLP’s purposes, according to its website, is to “[establish] distribution contracts in Russia, the CIS and the Middle East.” It was recently named an “appointed representative” of Linear Investments Limited, a member of the London Stock Exchange.
  • On 5 January 2012, MC Peat and Co LLP took out a loan in the amount of £2.73 million from an Aruba-registered company called Horizon Investments AVV.
  • Horizon Investments AVV has the same three directors, and the same registered address, as another Aruba-registered company called Crocus Corporation AVV.
  • According to a 2008 British High Court judgment, Crocus Corporation AVV owns “Mr Abramovich’s two planes, with his personal livery.”
  • According to the Department of Civil Aviation in Aruba, Horizon Investments was the registered owner, between November 2002 and May 2004, of “P4-LGB,” an EC-135 model Eurocopter. That aircraft was re-registered as “P4-XTC” in May 2004, and the Department lists its base of operations as “United Kingdom – Embarked on the Motor Yacht ‘Le Grand Bleu.’”
  • Charlie Peat has denied that MC Peat & Co LLP has any relationship with Abramovich, but will not confirm or deny that the company took out the £2.73 million loan from Shvidler.
  • According to Evraz’s 2011 annual report, the company’s board considered “an arm’s length business arrangement between one of the non-independent directors and the son of Sir Michael Peat…and satisfied itself that this arrangement has no impact on Sir Michael Peat’s independence.”
  • Shouldn’t it raise concerns that the former accountant for the British monarch — and an active financial advisor to the heir to the throne — has worked for two Russian oligarchs closely connected to the Kremlin, and that he’s arranged for his son’s start-up to receive a major loan from one of those oligarchs?



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