Despite both the White House and Rybolovlev issuing statements saying that they have never met, the speculation persisted.
The rumors were finally quashed, however, as Rybolovlev’s spokesman Brian Cattell confirmed to McClatchy that the businessman’s family trust has invested in a billion-dollar company with offices in Concord, North Carolina, called Alevo. It has also been confirmed that he was meeting with officials from the company during the November visit.
Alevo, a Switzerland-based corporation, is planning to build 40-foot battery modules which will store excess electricity from power plants. Fortune’s Russian publication has reported that Rybolovlev has invested $35.2 million in the company.
When asked why the oligarch did not squash the rumors right away, his spokesman told McClatchy that Rybolovlev “will not, provide a running, public commentary on private meetings.”
“The Rybolovlev family trust has a number of diverse business interests, of which its holding in Alevo is but one. It does not publicize its private business activities, and in most cases it would in fact be inappropriate for it to do so,” Cattell said.
“As an investor in a private company, neither the trust nor the company has any obligation to disclose this holding. At the same time, however, the trust has never sought to keep it secret.”
Alevo has already created more than 200 jobs in North Carolina and is looking to continue hiring for positions in manufacturing, maintenance, engineering and other fields, McClatchy reported.