On 12 October 2013 Timchenko received French title of the Cavalier of Legion of Honour. This award prompted Russian political writer Andrey Piontkovsky to write that "awarding a criminal with nickname Gangrene the highest distinction brings shame to the French state"
Gennady Timchenko was born in Leninakan (now Gyumri), Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Union) in 1952. His Father was in the Soviet military. He spent 6 years of his childhood (from 1959-1965) in the German Democratic Republic and learnt German. and in the Ukrainian SSR. In 1976 he graduated from the Mechanical Institute of St. Petersburg, then named Leningrad, as an electrical Engineer, according to a 2008 interview with the Wall Street Journal.
From 1982 to 1988 he worked as a senior Engineer of the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
In 1988, when Russia started to liberalize its economy, he was promoted to Deputy Director of state-owned oil company Kirishineftekhimexport, which had been created in 1987 based on the Kirishi refinery, one of the three largest refineries in the RSFSR. Timchenko’s teams set up some first export routes of oil products from the USSR to Western countries and Timchenko became one of the leading figures of the Russian oil trading industry.
In 1995, Urals Finland Oy was renamed International Petroleum Products Oy (IPP), and Timchenko became first deputy and then CEO of IPP OY.
In 1997, he co-founded the global commodity trading company Gunvor with Swedish businessman Torbjörn Törnqvist. He sold Törnqvist his stake in March 2014 a day before the US sanctions.
In 1998 Timchenko co-founded the Yawara-Neva Judo Club.
Timchenko likes to play and watch tennis. Through his formerly-owned Finnish company, IPP, he has sponsored an outdoor tennis tournament in Finland since 2000, the IPP Open. According to unconfirmed reports he funded the Finnish national team in the Davis Cup and has sponsored a number of Russian tennis players.
In addition to Business assets, Gennady Timchenko, according to media reports, also owns a property in Geneva, Switzerland, which consists of just over 1 ha of land, an internal area of 341m². According to the Land Registry Office of Geneva the purchase price of the property was SFR 8.4m (at the time of purchase in 2001 - about US$11m).
In 2004, the Helsingin Sanomat wrote that he acquired Finnish citizenship, and that he lived in Geneva at that time. In an October 2012 interview with the Russian edition of Forbes Timchenko said that he had both Russian and Finnish citizenships. In August 2014, Timchenko said in an interview with ITAR-TASS that he needed Finnish citizenship to travel in the 1990s, when it was harder to travel on a Russian passport, and that he never concealed having two passports. He said that, over the past fourteen years, he had been paying taxes in Switzerland and prior to it, in Finland. "I scrupulously transfer to Russia the monies I owe to the Russian budget. In theory, I could have cut down the transfers citing the rule on inadmissibility of dual taxation but I never did this – I realized the proceeds that my monies were going off in wages to Russian doctors, teachers, and the military while I was not going to go bankrupt under any circumstances. I wouldn’t get poor if I shared the budget with others." The US Department of Treasury announcement of individuals under sanctions due to the 2014 Crimean crisis lists him as the citizen of Russia, Finland, and Armenia.
In 2007, Timchenko and the company Surgutex founded the Kluch charitable foundation, which develops professional foster homes in Leningrad, Tambov and Ryazan regions.
In 2008, Gennady and Elena Timchenko founded the Neva Foundation in Geneva, in order to promote and Finance cultural projects in Switzerland and Russia. The foundation has focused on lyrical art and a partnership with the Geneva Opera House. Renowned St Petersburg Philharmonic Conductor Yuri Temirkanov has been a trustee.
In 2010, Gennady and Elena Timchenko created the Ladoga Foundation. The main activity of the fund has been s providing help for the elderly, as well as the restoration of spiritual and cultural heritage monuments, support for cultural projects and project support in the field of modern medical Technology. In September 2013 the Ladoga Foundation was renamed to the Elena and Gennady Timchenko Foundation (or just Timchenko Foundation for short). consolidating all their charitable activities and supporting elderly people, Sports, culture and foster families.
In July 2012, he replaced Vyacheslav Fetisov as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Continental Hockey League KHL.
Volga Group has been listed by the US Dept of Treasury (OFAC - Office of Foreign Assets Control) as a SDN (specially Designated Nationals) in the Ukraine-related sanction lists of 2014.