Crisis Sets Russia's Rich Back Five Years: Report

by VR Sreeraman on  April 18, 2009 at 2:51 PM Lifestyle News
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The net worth of Russia's 100 richest people has dropped more than three-fold in the economic crisis, pushing the 2009 fortunes of the super wealthy back to the levels of 2004, a report said Friday.
 Crisis Sets Russia's Rich Back Five Years: Report
Crisis Sets Russia's Rich Back Five Years: Report

Russia in 2008 had well over 100 billionaires, making it second only to the United States in the super rich stakes, but the crisis has scythed that figure down to only 32, the Russian edition of Forbes magazine said.

Russia's super rich have been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis as many made their money in commodities whose prices have collapsed over the last six months and now have to pay back colossal debts.

Forbes, in its annual survey of Russia's rich, said that the net worth of Russia's 100 richest people had been whittled back to only 142 billion dollars, compared with over 520 billion dollars a year earlier.

It said this had set Russia's rich back to the start of the economic boom in 2004 when the net worth of the super rich was 140 billion dollars and it had counted just 36 billionaires.

Confirming figures published by its US sister publication last month, the magazine said bachelor financier Mikhail Prokhorov, 43, is now Russia's richest man with a fortune of 9.5 billion dollars.

He is closely followed by the owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich with 8.5 billion dollars and Vagit Alekperov, the head of Russia's largest private oil firm Lukoil with 7.8 billion dollars.

Prokhorov and Abramovich have lost 13.1 billion dollars and 15.8 billion dollars from their fortunes over the last year, Forbes said, but their losses are dwarfed by those of Oleg Deripaska, Russia's richest man in 2008.

Deripaska, the owner of aluminium giant UC Rusal, saw his fortune plummet by an amazing 25.1 billion dollars over the last year and is now ranked only in 10th place on the rich list with 3.5 billion dollars.

"The crisis has touched everyone: financiers and developers, metals and oil magnates, producers and sellers of consumer goods and owners of holding companies," Forbes commented.

"In the 2009 rich list, there is not a single businessman whose fortune has grown over the last year."

It noted that the rich who had suffered the least were those canny enough to sell businesses before the crisis and convert the proceeds into cash.

This relates above all to Prokhorov, who in April 2008 sold 25 percent of the world's largest palladium and nickel producer Norilsk Nickel at almost the peak of its market value to none other than Deripaska.

Source: AFP

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