Russia's 22 wealthiest billionaires lost combined $83 BILLION on paper

Russia’s 22 wealthiest billionaires lost a combined $83 BILLION on paper this year as Joe Biden announces ‘dedicated task force to go after Russian oligarchs’

  • Twenty two of the people on Bloomberg’s list of 500 wealthiest billionaires are Russian, and they have lost a combined $83 billion, Bloomberg reported
  • Russia’s wealthiest man, Vladimir Potanin, president of Norilsk Nickel, has lost $6 billion so far this year – taking his wealth down to $24 billion
  • The biggest loss was suffered by Vagit Alekperov, the 71-year-old president of Lukoil, who is now worth $7.19 billion – a 68 percent drop, year on year
  • Roman Abramovich, who on Saturday said he was putting Chelsea football club into stewardship, has lost $6 billion so far this year
  • The rouble weakened past 100 against the dollar in Moscow trade and hit a record low of 117 in other markets on Tuesday 
  • Moscow has moved to impose capital controls, with Vladimir Putin banning the export of cash in foreign currency exceeding $10,000 to try and stop the run

Russia’s wealthiest individuals have lost $83 billion since the beginning of this year, it was reported on Tuesday – with the majority of the losses since their country invaded Ukraine six days ago.

Joe Biden, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, warned the country’s businessmen that their financial situation would only worsen.

‘Tonight I say to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime: no more,’ Biden said. ‘I mean it.

‘The U.S. Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs.’

He said they would ‘find and seize their yachts, their apartments’.

Twenty two Russians currently feature on Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s list, which ranks the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

The heaviest losses have been taken by Vagit Alekperov, the 71-year-old president of Lukoil, the publicly traded producer of about 2 percent of the world’s oil production.

Vagit Alekperov, president of Lukoil, has lost 68 percent of his wealth, year on year, as Russia’s economy nosedives

Alekperov is seen with Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2016

Born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Alekperov followed his father into the oil industry and in 1990 became the youngest deputy energy minister in Soviet history.

Alekperov, who co-owns the Spartak Moscow soccer team, is now worth $7.19 billion, Bloomberg calculated – a 68 percent drop, year on year.

He is not currently subjected to sanctions, but has since January 2018 been on the Treasury’s list of wealthy Russian businessmen it said were close to the Kremlin.

On Tuesday night, Alekperov’s 70 metre superyacht, Galactica Super Nova – which features a six-meter glass-bottom swimming pool with a waterfall – was sailing away from Europe, leaving Barcelona and heading to Montenegro.

Another of the elites, metals tycoon Alisher Usmanov, 68, was sanctioned by the European Union on Monday, and was also moving his 512-foot superyacht Ona out of Europe, with the vessel heading to the Maldives, CNBC reported.

Russia’s wealthiest man Vladimir Potanin, president of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of high-grade nickel, has lost $6 billion so far this year.

Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest man, is seen in March 2005 with Putin. Potanin has lost $6 billion so far this year

Potanin is seeing playing chess in December 2021 against Russian chess grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi

The 61-year-old, who has reportedly been close to Putin, is also facing what is expected to be one of the world’s costliest divorces: His ex-wife, Natalia Potanina, is seeking 50 percent of the value of his stake in the company, worth $7 billion in December, for their most recent court hearing in London.

Bloomberg currently estimates his wealth at $24.3 billion – a 21 percent decrease year on year.

Gennady Timchenko, one of the first to be sanctioned by the U.K., has lost almost half of his net worth this year, with his fortune plunging to $10.6 billion.

The 69-year-old electrical engineer, who spends much of his time in Switzerland, has assets in the energy, transport, infrastructure, financial services and consumer sectors.

He has been the head of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and regularly participated in Putin’s ‘night hockey league’ – described by Radio Free Europe as ‘heavily publicized games between members of the elite in which Putin tends to score the most goals.’

Gennardy Timchenko, 69, was sanctioned by the United Kingdom on Monday – making him the first to face punishment by Britain since the current Ukraine conflict began

Gennady Timchenko is seen in December 2018 playing hockey – a favorite sport of his – in Red Square

Since 2014, Timchenko has had his assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury as part of a sanctions package put in place following Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Among the most high-profile Russian to suffer massive losses is Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club.

The 55-year-old Abramovich has a net worth of about $13 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, having built his fortune from dividends and sales of privatized assets acquired from the former Soviet Union.

He has lost $4 billion so far this year, and on Saturday said he was stepping back from running the club and was putting it into ‘stewardship’.

On Tuesday a British MP, Chris Bryant, claimed that Abramovich was ‘terrified’ of facing sanctions from the British government over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and was selling his properties in London.

Roman Abramovich, 55, has spoken out against the war in Ukraine. He has put his Chelsea football club in ‘stewardship’ amid criticism of his ownership

Abramovich, Putin and Alekperov are seen in July 2016 in Sochi

Abramovich is seen on February 22 in Abu Dhabi, celebrating with the World Cup

He has spoken out against the war, and his spokesman said he is attempting to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine.

‘I can confirm Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since,’ the spokesperson said.

Abramovich has vehemently disputed reports suggesting his alleged closeness to Putin or that he has done anything to merit sanctions being imposed against him.

Russian assets went into freefall on Tuesday, with Russia’s biggest lender, Sberbank, falling to 21 cents on the dollar from just under $9 before the invasion.

The rouble weakened past 100 against the dollar in Moscow trade and hit a record low of 117 in other markets on Tuesday, threatening the living standards of ordinary Russians as the country is hit by harsh Western sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.

Putin issued a decree banning the export of cash in foreign currency exceeding $10,000 in value with effect from March 2.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin also announced the country will temporarily stop foreign investors from selling Russian assets to ensure they take a considered decision, but did not give details.

Moscow’s move to impose capital controls means that billions of dollars worth of securities held by foreigners in Russia are at risk of being trapped.

In a matter of weeks, Russia has turned from a lucrative bet on surging oil prices to an un-investable market with a central bank hamstrung by sanctions, major banks shut out of global payments system SWIFT and capital controls choking off money flows.

SWIFT said on Tuesday it was waiting to see which banks authorities want disconnected from its financial messaging system as sanctions are rolled out.

Visa and Mastercard have blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their networks.

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