Former French Prime Minister François Fillon recently joined the board of directors of the Russian petrochemicals giant Sibur, the group’s updated board list showed on Thursday.
The conservative, who ran for president in 2017 after an almost five-year stint as former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, joined the Russian company as an “independent director” on December 17.
The group is chaired by Russian oligarchs Leonid Mikhelson and Gennady Timchenko. Timchenko is a longtime acquaintance of Russian President Vladimir Putin whose activities in the energy sector “have been directly linked to Putin” by the U.S. Treasury in 2014. Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s former son-in-law, is a shareholder. In 2013, he bought for $100 a 3.8 percent stake in the company that was estimated at $380 million, according to an investigation by the investigative outlet IStories.
In late June, Fillon was nominated by the Russian government to the board of the Russian state-owned oil company Zaroubejneft and works as a consultant through his firm Apteras.
Fillon was sentenced in June 2020 to five years in prison — two of which are closed — in a case of fictitious jobs that derailed his presidential campaign in 2017. He appealed the decision, and Paris Court of appeals said it would issue its ruling in May 2022.
Other former senior European officials have joined boards of Russian oil groups in recent years, including former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl in June this year and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2017.