Deripaska Doubles Wealth to $40Bln

BloombergAbramovich, valued at $23 billion
The Forbes list may be the Oscars for Russia's superrich, but Finans magazine is vying for the equivalent of the Golden Globes, with a roll call of 101 billionaires -- nearly twice as many as on Forbes Russia's 2007 list.

Heading Finans' list is metals, auto and construction magnate Oleg Deripaska, who nearly doubled his wealth to $40 billion, from $21.2 billion last year.

Like Deripaska, many of those listed boosted their wealth on the back of surging oil and metals prices.

Trailing in second place is Deripaska's former business partner Roman Abramovich -- Forbes' top Russian since the jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky -- with a comparatively modest $23 billion, up $2 billion from last year.

The places reverse those on the 2007 Forbes Russia list, which put Abramovich on top with $19.2 billion, ahead of Deripaska with $16.8 billion. On the 2007 Forbes world list, Abramovich had $18.7 billion and Deripaska had $13.3 billion.

The Finans list puts Russia second to the United States in dollar billionaires, ahead of third-place Germany.


Ilya Naymushin / Reuters
Deripaska, valued at $40 billion
Deripaska's Basic Element holding has a wide range of interests, including majority stakes in aluminum giant United Company RusAl and automaker GAZ, aircraft maker Aviacor and insurer Ingosstrakh.

Deripaska also controls a stake in Canadian auto parts firm Magna, plus stakes in construction firms Strabag, Hochtief and Transstroi, and is bidding to control Norilsk Nickel and mid-sized oil firm Russneft.

"Estimates of Basic Element's assets at $40 billion are conservative," Finans wrote in a report on its list. "Those who know Oleg Deripaska would agree that he is the most active Russian entrepreneur. The quantity and quality of his various projects speak volumes."

Sergei Rybak, spokesman for Basic Element, declined to comment on the Finans estimate, saying the holding was just one of the billionaire's interests.

Abramovich's spokesman John Mann declined to comment Monday, saying only, "The list is amusing."


Denis Grishkin / Vedomosti
Baturina, valued at $7 billion
Metals tycoons were among the biggest winners, with Vladimir Lisin, owner of NLMK, placing joint third with $22.2 billion, while Alexei Mordashov, who controls steelmaker Severstal, climbing to fifth with $22.1 billion.

Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov, who are in the midst of splitting their assets, slipped a few rungs to tie at sixth. Yet both saw their fortunes grow 50 percent to $21.5 billion, spurred by a sharp growth in the shares of Norilsk Nickel and Polyus Gold.

The booming construction and real estate sectors have also provided new entrants to the billionaires' club.


Alexander Chumichev / Ria-Novosti
Gutseriyev, valued at $4 billion
Kirill Pisarev and Yury Zhukov, who control PIK Group, joined the list with $6.5 billion each, helped by a $2.2 billion initial public offering in June that valued the group at $14.1 billion. Two other property developers, Sergei Polonsky and Artur Kirilenko of Mirax Group, which is building Europe's tallest skyscraper, entered the list at $4.35 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively.

Yelena Baturina, Mayor Yury Luzhkov's wife and the country's only female billionaire, fell 10 places to 27, yet still boosted her wealth to $7 billion.

Irina Abramovich, the Chelsea owner's former wife, appeared for the first time in Finans' top 500, placing 270th with an estimated $300 million divorce settlement.

Former Russneft head Mikhail Gutseriyev, who fled last year, dropped 21 places to 46th with $4 billion, while another exile, Boris Berezovsky, also fell 21 places to 80th, with $1.3 billion.

Finans does not include any state officials on its list, although Federation Council members and State Duma deputies do appear.

President Vladimir Putin last week dismissed as ridiculous media reports that he was "Europe's richest man." Political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky had claimed in interviews that Putin controlled assets worth $40 billion.