Russian billionaires see their wealth plummet as tensions escalate | Business and Economics News


As the conflict in Ukraine escalates, the fortunes of Russia’s super-rich have shrunk amid sanctions and falling stock markets.

By Bloomberg

The fortunes of Russia’s super-rich have plummeted by $32 billion this year, with the escalating conflict in Ukraine poised to deepen this wealth destruction.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday triggered sanctions targeting the sale of Russia’s sovereign debt abroad and the country’s elites, and said he was sending an undetermined number of additional US troops to the Baltics in a defensive movement to defend NATO countries.

Gennady Timchenko tops the list of Russian billionaires who have seen their fortunes plummet, with almost a third of his wealth disappearing this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a list of the world’s 500 richest people.

Timchenko, 69, the son of a Soviet military officer who met and befriended Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin in the early 1990s, now has a fortune of around $16 billion , with most of his wealth coming from a stake in Russian gas producer Novatek, according to Bloomberg’s Wealth Index.

The fortune of Novatek shareholder Leonid Mikhelson has fallen by $6.2 billion this year, while the net worth of Lukoil chairman Vagit Alekperov has shrunk by around $3.5 billion over the past year. same period, as shares of the energy company fell nearly 17%.

Leonid Mikhelson, billionaire and CEO of Novatek PJSC, speaks to attendees at a conference inBillionaire Leonid Mikhelson (pictured) has seen his fortune plummet by $6.2 billion this year [File: Bloomberg]

The country’s 23 billionaires currently have a net worth of $343 billion, according to the wealth list, up from $375 billion at the end of the year.

Markets slumped further this week after Putin recognized two breakaway republics in Ukraine, leading Germany to suspend an energy project with Russia and the UK imposing sanctions on five of the country’s banks and three of its wealthy individuals, including Timchenko.

Boris Rotenberg, 65, and his nephew, Igor, 48, whose families made their fortunes from gas pipeline construction company Stroygazmontazh, are also on the UK sanctions list.

Igor’s father, Arkady, one of Putin’s former judo partners, sold the pipeline company in 2019 for around $1.3 billion. He bought a minority stake from his younger brother Boris five years earlier when the two siblings and Timchenko were hit with US sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Additionally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday he would not meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week because it “doesn’t make sense” given Russia’s actions in Ukraine. .

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