Russian billionaires had a terrible, horrible, not good, very bad week
Their yachts are seized. Mansions, Italian villas, private jets and more are in demand. Their wealth is hemorrhaging. Russian billionaires are really having a terrible, horrible, not good, very bad week.
In any other week, I could have devoted individual 1,000-word articles to one of the anecdotes I’m about to describe. This week so many insane bad things have happened to Russian billionaires that I decided to summarize the biggest events in one article 🙂
Let’s start with a big number:
That’s how much money has been slashed from the collective net worth of Russia’s 20 richest citizens in the past two weeks.
Speaking of the richest citizens of Russia, let’s talk about the richest person in Russia…
Since February 16, Russia’s richest citizen, Vladimir Potanin, has seen his net worth drop from $31 billion to $23 billion. Potanin earned his first fortune in the metal industry, then branched out into banking. He is currently not sanctioned in the US or Europe, so his THREE yachts and private jet are safe for now.
But he had to make some sacrifices. On Wednesday, Potanin announced he was leaving the board of trustees of the Guggenheim Museum in New York after a 20-year term.
Two weeks ago, LUKOIL CEO Vagit Alekperov was one of Russia’s five richest citizens thanks to a net worth that exceeded $21 billion. LUKOIL is Russia’s largest private oil company. The country’s largest oil company, Rosneft, is state-owned. More on Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin in a moment.
Over the past two weeks, LUKOIL’s stock price has fallen 92% from $90 on Feb. 16 to $7 at Friday’s close. With this drop, Vagit saw his net worth plummet from $21 billion to $3 billion in less than 10 business days.
The pain was so intense that on Saturday morning the LUKOIL board broke ranks and actually issued a statement calling for an end to the war in Ukraine. A rather shocking rebuke from Vladimir Putin that would have been unfathomable a few days ago.
Igor Sechin is the CEO of Russia’s largest oil producer, state-owned Rosneft. On Friday, French authorities seized Igor’s yacht “Amore Vero” while it was in a shipyard near Marseille. His yacht had been in the yard since early January and was not due for repairs for a month, but apparently Igor had worried about potential penalties and ordered his crew to prepare the boat for departure. When French authorities approached the captain earlier this week, he apparently casually informed them that he had been ordered to sail to Turkey “immediately”. A day later, the yacht was locked to the dock with steel casings.
Industrial tycoon Alexei Mordashov was worth nearly $29 billion two weeks ago. He was sometimes the richest person in Russia. As of the close of business on Friday, his net worth stood at $21 billion. Also as of the close of business on Friday, Alexei was no longer in control of his beloved yacht “Lady M”.
The 215ft yacht (pictured below in a photo from Saturday morning) was seized by financial police while at a port in the city of Imperia.
Unfortunately for Alexei, the pain may not be limited to yacht seizures.
Italian police are also said to be submitting documents to seize his $72million villa on the coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. The police don’t need to move that fast when seizing a villa…since they can’t exactly fly away.
These Italian finance police were busy in Imperia on Friday. Shortly after seizing Alexei’s yacht, they drove to another part of the port and seized a yacht belonging to Gennady Timchenko.
Apparently one of Putin’s close friends, Gennady has been under sanctions in the United States since 2014. His European sanctions have just dropped. Speaking of things that went down… Two weeks ago, Gennady Timchenko’s net worth was $22.5 billion. It has since fallen to $10 billion.
Here’s a quick list of other Russian billionaires who are feeling the pain right now:
Roman Abramovich: Although not yet sanctioned in the US or EU, Roman is reportedly trying to get rid of some of his EU and US assets as quickly as possible. For example, the Chelsea Football Club and its $150 million London mansion. Roman’s net worth has been reduced from $19 billion to $14 billion in recent weeks.
Leonid Mikhelson: Leonid was sometimes the richest person in Russia. The founder and chairman of natural gas company Novatek has seen his net worth cut in half from $22 billion to $11 billion in the past two weeks.
Alisher Usmanov: Earlier in the week, there was a story circulating that Alisher’s $800 million yacht had been seized by German authorities in Hamburg. This report was ultimately challenged by Usmanov’s lawyers. By contrast, a spokesperson for Hamburg’s economic authority told Reuters on Saturday that “the yacht was not expected to be delivered to its owner“… without giving further details.
I could go on for another 1,000 words, but I’ll stop there. There are so many crazy things happening that I could probably write another post like this every day for the next month.