Curaleaf Holdings is taking steps to head off speculation on social media that the marijuana multistate operator will be subject to U.S. economic sanctions because of its ties to Russia.
“Rumors and misinformation spread during turbulent times,” the Massachusetts-based company said in a statement posted on its website, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The speculation on social media that the Company and its major shareholders and executives will somehow be subject to any U.S. government economic sanctions now or in the future is incorrect.”
Curaleaf noted that Boris Jordan, its executive chair and largest shareholder, “is an American citizen, born and raised on Long Island, New York. He is not, and has never been, a citizen of any other country.”
The company also acknowledged Jordan’s links to Russia, saying he “spent several years working in Europe and Russia and currently has several businesses in the U.S. (Curaleaf among them), Europe and Russia.”
MarketWatch reported that Jordan owns 22% of Curaleaf’s stock.
Jordan has in the past praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a 2007 op-ed in The Washington Post, Jordan sought to explain Putin’s “sweeping parliamentary victory” at the time:
“Quite simply, Russians support their president because he did something rare for a politician: He delivered.
“Russia today is a resurgent economic power, with the tenth-largest economy in the world. Eighty percent of the economy is privatized, according to the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. And the country is flush with oil revenue, having overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading producer of oil.”
In its statement, Curleaf described its second-largest shareholder, Andrei Blokh, as “a successful retired” consumer packaged goods “entrepreneur who is not active in the Company. Mr. Blokh is a U.S. citizen, who also holds a Russian passport.”
According to Forbes, Blokh was president of Sibneft, a Russian oil company, in 1998.
Forbes also said Blokh consolidated “Russia’s dairy industry under the Unimilk banner” and in 2010 sold it to the French food business Danone.
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“U.S. citizens, whether they hold other passports or not, are not subject to and cannot be subject to, U.S. economic sanctions,” Curaleaf’s statement reads.