Gunvor says Timchenko sold company shares before sanctions

Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko attends the men's qualification ice hockey game between Russia and Norway at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, sanctioned by U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday, sold his stake in oil trading firm Gunvor to its chief executive Torbjorn Tornqvist earlier this week as part of what Gunvor called a contingency plan.

Gunvor said in a statement Tornqvist now owned 87 percent in the company with the rest being held by employees.

Earlier on Thursday the United States slapped sanctions on some of the closest allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and some Russian businessmen in reaction to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

Reporting By Edward McAllister