The sale of Roman Abramovich’s UK telecommunications company is the subject of a protracted national security investigation after it was taken over by a German entrepreneur for £1.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, ordered officials to conduct a detailed review of Hakan Koç’s takeover of the company, Truphone.
The Business Department’s Investment Security Unit froze the deal in July so that a 30-day initial investigation could be conducted under the National Security and Investment Act.
Authorities have since decided that a more detailed examination is needed, which could take another 45 days.
The Telegraph understands that government officials are looking into claims that Mr Koç’s candidacy may also have links to Russia.
Mr Koç, who founded German online car dealership Auto1, publicly protested the investigation, saying he had been left in the dark by the government. He posted LinkedIn and Twitter messages to Mr Kwarteng asking for a meeting on blocking the sale.
Sources close to the deal have previously expressed frustration that the investigation has effectively kept Truphone in the hands of Mr Abramovich, who faced UK sanctions following the UK’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia.
Sources have warned that further blocking of the deal could put hundreds of jobs at risk at Truphone, which is developing ‘eSim’ technology that allows smartphone users to swap mobile phone networks without changing their card Physical SIM. It also sells flexible international data plans for mobile phone users.
Mr Abramovich, who previously owned Chelsea FC, sold Truphone for £1 earlier this year to Mr Koç. At one point, the company was valued at half a billion dollars.
Mr. Koç’s former company, Auto1, received an investment from Target Global, a venture capital fund previously based in Moscow and led by Alexander Frolov.
Mr. Frolov is the son of Russian businessman Aleksandr Frolov, who is himself an investor in Truphone with Mr. Abramovich.
Mr. Frolov Snr, who until March was on the board of sanctioned Russian mining group Evraz alongside Mr. Abramovich, previously invested in Target Global. Mr. Frolov Snr is not subject to sanctions.
A spokesperson for Mr. Koç declined to comment.
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