Russia’s super-rich lose $32 billion in net worth as Ukraine crisis escalates

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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 unspecified number of additional troops to the Baltic in a bid 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.

The son of a Soviet military officer, Mr Timchenko, 69, who met and befriended Russian 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 the Bloomberg 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. Shares of the energy company fell about 17%.

The country’s 23 billionaires currently have a combined net worth of $343 billion, according to the wealth list, up from $375 billion at the end of 2021.

Markets slumped further this week after Mr Putin recognized two breakaway republics in Ukraine, leading Germany to suspend the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia and the UK to impose sanctions on five of the banks in the country and to three of its wealthy individuals, including Mr. Timchenko.

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

Igor’s father, Arkady, one of Mr Putin’s former judo training 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 Mr 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. .

Updated: February 23, 2022, 7:25 a.m.

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