Lottery chairman once worked for Kremlin’s top investment bank

Man presiding over award of licence to run lottery to Czech billionaire has extensive links to Russia

The man presiding over the award of a licence to run the lottery to a Czech billionaire has extensive links to Russia, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. 

Veteran money manager Stephen Cohen chairs the National Lottery Competition Committee which last month handed the licence to Allwyn Entertainment, founded by Czech oil and gas tycoon Karel Komarek. An investigation by the MoS found that Cohen spent years helping channel foreign investment into Russia and even worked for one of Putin’s former ministers. 

From 2005 to 2008, Cohen ran the hedge fund arm of Troika Dialog, once described as the ‘Kremlin’s preferred investment bank’. It was a period when its investments included Russian state energy giant Gazprom, which has also done business with Allwyn. 

Links: Veteran money manager Stephen Cohen chairs the National Lottery Competition Committee which last month handed the licence to Allwyn Entertainment

Cohen worked under Andrey Sharonov, Putin’s former deputy economic minister. Troika moved the management of the Cayman Islands-registered fund from London to Moscow after he left. 

Komarek has condemned Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but questions over his business ties to Russia have been asked in Parliament. His company MND in 2016 built a gas storage facility in the Czech Republic with Gazprom. Komarek’s group also owns a stake in a gas terminal in Russia. 

Cohen, who sits on the Gambling Commission regulatory body, was also a director of financial intermediary EG Capital Advisors for four years until 2021. EG is controlled by Igor and Alexander Mints, the children of exiled Russian billionaire Boris Mints. 

Cohen’s official Gambling Commission…

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