Forbes List Shows Putin Alliesĺ Fortunes Soaring
Published: March 6, 2013 (Issue # 1749)
Yevgeny Stetsko / Vedomosti
MOSCOW ŚáTheápersonal fortunes ofábusinessmen rumored toáenjoy close relationships with President Vladimir Putin jumped sharply ináa new Forbes ranking Monday as Facebook investor Alisher Usmanov retained theátitle ofáRussiaĺs richest man.
Theáwealth ofáGennady Timchenko, owner ofáoil trader Gunvor andáa large stakeholder inágas producer Novatek, showed aárise ofá$5 billion fromálast year, according toáthe latest Forbes list ofáglobal billionaires.
Now worth $14.1 billion, just four years ago Timchenko had aámere $400 million. He is theámost prominent figure among aágroup thought toáhave profited byátheir association with Putin andáwho represent aáônew waveö ofábillionaires displacing old-style oligarchs.
Forbesĺ estimation ofáTimchenkoĺs wealth was close toáthe real figure, said Anton Kurevin, aáspokesman foráthe billionaire.
Timchenko admits he has known Putin forámany years, but he has repeatedly denied theáfriendship has helped his meteoric rise.
ôGennady Timchenkoĺs success inábusiness is ináno way linked toáPresident Putin,ö Kurevin said.
Timchenko, Russiaĺsá12th richest man iná2012, is now theá9th richest.
Leonid Mikhelson, aábusiness partner ofáTimchenko andáco-owner ofáNovatek, is also steadily climbing theáranks ofáRussiaĺs wealthiest people.
Mikhelson improved onáhis 10th place position last year toábecome theá3rd richest Russian with aáfortune ofá$15.4 billion. Iná2012 Forbes estimated his wealth atá$11.9 billion, andáin 2010 said he was worth $4.4 billion.
Although there are new names amongst theáten richest Russians iná2013, theácoveted top spot is still filled byáUsmanov, with aánet worth ofá$17.6 billion. TheáUzbek-born tycoon, who owns stakes ináFacebook, Zynga andáArsenal Football Club alongside his metals conglomerate Metalloinvest, is currently theá34th richest person ináthe world.
Others have not been so lucky andásome ofáthe stars ofáthe billionaires who have traditionally dominated Russiaĺs business world appear toábe fading.
Vladimir Lisin, whose principal asset is Novolipetsk Steel, fell fromábeing theásecond-wealthiest Russian intoá8th place. Another steel producer, Alexei Mordashov, dropped fromá3rd toá11th.
Mikhail Prokhorov, who controls aálarge stake ináaluminum giant RusAl andáowns theáNew Jersey Nets as well as real estate, insurance andábanking holdings, also fell ináthe rankings fromá7th place toá10th place. Prokhorov ran unsuccessfully forápresident against Putin iná2012.
Another familiar figure ináthe upper echelons ofáRussiaĺs billionaires, Roman Abramovich, has also suffered during theálast year as $1.9 billion was shaved off his fortune, pushing him outside theátop ten foráthe first time andámarking aásteady decline fromáthe number one spot he occupied iná2007.
Timchenko andáMikhelson are not theáonly new figures toábe emerging ináthe Russian billionaire scene.
Another alleged acquaintance ofáPutin, Arkady Rotenberg, has also been multiplying his fortune atáprodigious speed.
Rotenberg, anáold judo sparring partner ofáPutinĺs who has stakes ináconstruction, pipe-building andáfinancial companies, has more than tripled his personal wealth ináthe last year, shooting up 61 places ináthe latest list toábe placed as Russiaĺs 31st richest man with $3.3 billion.