international magazine
17-04-2011 14:29


Nikolay Lisin, Ukrainian MP, co-owner of well-established Ukrainian oil trader Infox, also known as generous arts and sports patron, died in a car crash at 2am 17 April on a highway in Kyiv.

Racing in his Lamborghini Gallardo, he lost control and after almost 210m brake-way crashed a price board at Formula retail outlet, operated by Vikoil, another well-established Ukrainian operator, owned by Nikolay Gavrylenko.

An insufficient damage to the price board, indicated that the car was damaged enough to kill the driver prior to hitting the petrol station board. The outlet was closed after the accident.

Lisin’s bodyguard followed him in a separate car, arrived to the finish line just seconds after the accident in order just to see Lisin instantly dead.

Engaged in oil trading, a business mostly considered life-threatening in post-Soviet Ukraine, Nikolay Lisin was always flanked by squads of highly professional bodyguards. That was common in the late 90’s when Russia’s crude supplies to Ukraine’s refineries brought considerable profits. The same was in 2003 when he and his partners launched in operation new oil products loading terminal in Illichivsk (Odessa region). Entering oil loadings at Kherson loading terminal (Dnipro river Black Sea mouth) made Infox business one of the most attractive in the region, especially after 140,000 b/d Kherson refinery died abandoned by Russian and Kazakh crude suppliers in August 2005.

Nikolay Lisin and his partner, subsoil minister Nikolay Zlochevsky proved to be particularly cautious also when having sold shallow-water Illichivsk terminal to Privat group owned by Igor Kolomoysky and later entered a number of upstream projects.

What made Nikolay Lisin taking such a reckless risk on his way home will probably remained unanswered question for good.

Both entrepreneurs kept low profile both in business and private life, even though spent a lot for charity projects. Nikolay Lisin sponsored Ukrainian music festival Tavriyski igry (Tavrida games, Kakhovka, Kherson region), financially supported Ukrainian professional boxing federation, and several leading boxers, including European light-heavy champ Yury Barashyan.

World absolute heavyweight champion Briton Lennox Lewis’ coming to Kyiv in October 2005 was probably the most remarkable “humanitarian” project of Lisin and his partner. The rumor-mill close to Lisin entourage indicated that the boxing super-star 3 days visit to Kyiv cost the two partners no less than $300,000-350,000. In addition, Lewis’ lawyers specified sufficient penalties in case of delay with his departure. It’s not hard to imagine Lisin’s shock, when for some unimaginable reasons British Airways flight Berlin-Kyiv indefinitely postponed its arrival to Ukraine’s capital on the day of Briton’s departure.

Following Lennox’ departure the next day, Lisin held a wild gig at a floating restaurant Poseidon in Kyiv. That badly angered Zlochevsky, who was not at all enthusiastic about his partner’s boxing endeavors. Amazingly enough, Poseidon was completely destroyed by wild fire several days later.

Recently, Infox’s business in Ukraine’s Kherson region was closely related to Continuum group, later Continent and several other companies associated with Ukrainian tycoon and oligarch Igor Yeremeev. Nikolay Lisin passed away in a time, when Ukraine’s motor fuels market goes through unprecedentedly stormy waters.

Nikolay Lisin’s finish line

We in OILMARKET magazine lost a good friend! We pray for the bereaved family and friends of the deceased and send our condolences to all who used to know and love this decent and extraordinary man at home and abroad.

Photo: Nikolay Lisin mastered the Russian victory strategy of defeating stronger opponents far back at Kyiv’s air defense military academy: “Win in your backyard on your own rules!” On the photo Lennox Lewis does push-ups, having lost to Nikolay Lisin a Russian billiards game.