The SPAC had formerly been partially sponsored by VTB Bank, one of several Russian banks sanctioned by the US and others. VTB subsidiary Nevsky Properties, the 25% shareholder of the the SPAC’s sponsor, has relinquished its position and will transfer it to CEO Riccardo Orcel, who himself had to distance himself from the bank.
Orcel had served as non-executive vice chairman of VTB Capital for more than 10 years, but resigned this week. He has not broken ties with Russian industry altogether, however, as he also this week signed onto serve as chairman of Russian gold miner Polymetal (LON:POLY), which has not yet fallen under sanctions.
Emerging Markets Horizon CFO Bernard Abdelmalak, who also served in a role at VTB has opted to resign from the SPAC and is to be replaced by Jonathan Neill, Chairman and CIO of FPP Asset Management. Moving forward, the SPAC has pledged to not employ any managers or directors with direct ties to VTB or its affiliates in Russia and Belarus.
The SPAC is also changing its focus from consumer companies in Russia and Eastern Europe to “high growth technology and consumer-exposed businesses with an enterprise value of at least $700 million” in Europe (excluding Russia and Belarus) and Latin America.
Even with this reshuffling and rejigged search, it still has plenty of time to complete a combination with its deadline set for March 13, 2023.