By Will Looch
Roman Abramovich’s UK business empire extends beyond Chelsea Football Club. Among those who helped build it was an upstart firm with a prominent name.
MC Pete & Co. Over the past decade, Abramovich has played the role of matchmaker in a number of deals that have linked Abramovich’s money to smaller UK companies and acted as a broker for at least three of the companies supporting Russian billionaires.
The firm was founded in 2011, just as Michael Pitt relinquished his role as personal secretary to Prince Charles and began a new chapter after a career with the royal family that won him knighthood.
Michael Pitt joined the board of Abramovich’s steel giant Ivraj plc in 2011, when his 30-year-old son Charlie ran a new advisory firm.
Peat & Co. An Oxford Clean Energy startup went to arrange investments from Abramovich’s vehicle, a herbicide-free herbicide manufacturer and a company that aims to run diesel trucks on natural gas.
The Pitts, descendants of one of the founding partners of accounting giant KPMG, are part of a lucrative cottage industry of well-connected British who offered help as the UK opened its doors to Russian wealth. But “lord on board” has long been a common tactic among newcomers seeking status in the city of London.
Michael Pitt, 72, resigned along with most of the firm’s managers after being hit by a ban in March, earning more than $ 2 million for his 11-year career.
Although Pitt & Co.’s website previously said he helped find the firm and was a consultant, Charlie Pitt said it wasn’t accurate. Charlie told Bloomberg News that his father “had no interest, involvement or role in the company.”
From day one, Peat & Co. Forms some influential alliances. Eugene Schweidler was described by the UK government as Abramovich’s “longtime business partner” when it approved the merchant in March, and Andrei Shevchenko, a footballer, became director of Pete & Co., signed by Chelsea after Abramovich bought the club.
Schweidler held the position for about a year, while Shevchenko held the position according to company filings. Valerie Weif, then chief executive of Highland Gold Mining Ltd., provided a loan to help start-up Pete & Co., a Russian mining company formerly backed by Abramovich, a spokesman told Bloomberg News. In October 2012, Pete & Co. was hired by Highland Gold as a broker.
The same year, AFC Energy, the developer of alkaline fuel cells listed on the UK AIM stock market for small companies, Peat & Co. Who hires as a broker. According to a spokesman for the AFC and regulatory filing, the firm helped raise about £ 10 million ($ 13 million) from an investment vehicle owned by Abramovich.
Follow other successful roles. Pete & Co. helped brokers invest in Clean Air Power Ltd., a UK-based technology developer, to reduce carbon emissions from truck engines from Abramovich and Schweidler’s wife. It also introduces Green Weed Killer Weddingtech, a pit & company owned by the same investment firm Abramovich. Spokesman said.
After studying at Eaton and Oxford, Michael began a career in Pitt City, becoming a partner of KPMG pioneer Pete Marwick Mitchell in 1985. His name resonated there because his great grandfather was a founding partner. P means peat.
Pitt was initially asked to join to help finance the royal family, holding various positions, including guardian of the Privy Purse and treasurer of the Queen, and eventually chief personal secretary to the Prince of Wales. These responsibilities won him the Knighthood, making him Sir Michael Pitt.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Charlie moved to the city, where he worked for the Anglo-South African firm Investtech, then Collins Stewart, a stockbroker who moved to Dubai to build a relationship with the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Father and son
Michael Pitt, then 61, resigned as a courtier in 2011. Among the handful of private sector jobs he took up was Ivraj’s senior independent director, where Abramovich was a significant shareholder as it prepared to float on the London Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, Charlie Pete formed a relationship with Abramovich’s circle, including Oyf, a spokesman for Pete & Company said. The connection came through Oyf’s company, Highland Gold, which was started by the Pete Fleming Family and Partners, a family office run by relatives of Ian Fleming, the founder of James Bond.
A spokesman for Pitt & Co. said Pete also played golf with Shevchenko and teamed up with American businessman Michael Matlin, who helped Abramovich invest in hedge funds.
Peat & Co. It was established with the aim of introducing investors to small, fast-growing companies In addition to its work for wealthy Russians, it has advised other businesses, including an Indian infrastructure fund and green technology company Ahua Clean Energy, according to regulatory filings.
The organization has been successful. Almost every year since its inception, Peat & Co. He has raised millions of pounds from his advisory work, which appears to have gone mainly to Charlie Pitt, who according to his filing has significant control over business ownership.
Four years after the founding of Pete & Co., the father and son explored new opportunities and formed a property investment firm called The Regeneration Group. Michael Pitt was chairman of the venture and Charlie was head of the capital market.
Abramovich connections were revived. Shevchenko became a shareholder. Matlin, who manages investment consultancy Concord Management LLC, joined as a non-executive director. Another executive who worked in Abramovich’s family office also worked as a consultant for the firm.
The group was seeking a major acquisition, including the purchase of Hyde Park Barracks, with people familiar with the matter saying they did not want to identify the plans as they were private. But it has struggled to raise funding for the coveted large-scale project, people say. Regeneration Group still has a website, but the firm’s recent filings show a net worth of £ 1.
In 2018, a UK crackdown on wealthy Russians acquiring citizenship meant Abramovich faced delays in renewing his British visa. He received Israeli citizenship and began releasing his partnership in UK investments in 2020, including AFC Energy and Highland Gold. Pete & Co.’s Russian business has cooled and the company is focusing more on UK investors.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March triggered a crackdown on Abramovich in the United Kingdom and the sale of Chelsea. Michael Pitt and other non-executive directors have resigned from the Ivraj board. Abramovich has transferred ownership of some of his remaining UK assets to people close to him. At least one business that was suggested by Pete & Co. Having recently consulted with lawyers to understand the impact of having an authorized shareholder, a person familiar with the matter said he refused to identify the situation as personal.
Charlie continues to run Pete & Co. from an office address a short walk from Buckingham Palace.
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