Gazli Gas Storage issued a statement in response to “unfounded and defamatory media speculation alleging hidden interests within the company.”

Earlier, reported that Russia’s Forus transferred to Hong Kong-based Daxon Holdings a majority stake (60%) in Gazli Gas Storage joint venture, overseeing Uzbekistan’s largest gas storage facility Gazli. The editorial board noted the scarcity of information about Daxon Holdings available on the Internet.

In August 2023, Dosier Center reported that one of the co-owners of Forus could be Ivan Egorov, a business partner of businessperson Gennady Timchenko (in March 2022, he was placed under EU sanctions, and the media (including Forbes) called him “a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin”). Journalists suggested that the gas field development project could have been financed the following way: Gazli Gas Storage receives funds from Forus, Forus receives funds from Egorov, and Egorov receives funds from Vesta, an entity financed by agencies closely associated with Timchenko.

Radio Ozodlik recently reported, citing corporate documents, that Daxon Holdings is owned by three companies: Kenfame Limited (with Ivan Egorov being listed as a founder, who allegedly transferred his share to Uzbek entrepreneur Bakhtiyor Fazylov), Denmount Limited (Bakhtiyor Fazilov is reported as a founder) and Sunworth Limited (founded by Sanjar Samiev, who worked at Bakhtiyor Fazilov’s Eriell company).

In response, Gazli Gas Storage stated that corporate restructuring was completed in October 2023. During this process, the stake previously held by Forum was transferred to Daxon Holdings Limited, a company registered in Hong Kong.

“Bakhtiyor Fazilov was and remains the main beneficiary of Gazli Gas Storage and no sanctioned individual has ever held a shareholding in the company,” the statement read.

The decision on relocation to Hong Kong was made “due to the significant volume of business with Chinese companies,” the company shared.

“Relocation to Hong Kong will facilitate payments, attract additional financing, and facilitate procurement of equipment for further business development. Additionally, the restructuring simplifies the shareholding structure, increasing transparency for international investors and counterparts,” the statement commented.

Gazli Gas Storage, operating the Gazli storage facility, is currently in the process of tripling the gas storage volume, increasing from 3 billion to 10 billion cubic meters, the company noted.

“Our investment of $310 million has yielded a significant result, boosting its capacity by 50% to 4.5 billion cubic metres. Additionally, oil production has surpassed the baseline plan by 25−30% in the initial three years, delivering 47,000 tons of oil, while gas production has reached 550 million cubic meters, contributing directly to Uzbekistan’s domestic market. The project has also created employment opportunities, with over 200 new jobs already established and plans to create an additional 100 positions,” the statement read.

The main objective of Gazli Gas Storage, the statement stated, is to “increase the volume of gas storage in the underground gas storage facility of the Gazli field in combination with additional exploration and development of gas horizons and oil rims of the field in Bukhara region.”

The company also provided a list of its executives: General Director — Otabek Dzhabriev, First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer — Makhamatkhodzha Saidazimov and Deputy General Director for Financial Affairs — Irina Bratukhina.