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Vladimir Lisin and his questionable assets
Over the course of a year, the metal magnate’s assets lost $7.8 billion in value. But even so, some Russian billionaires lost more money in the past year than others. Maybe the fact that Vladimir Lisin was only sanctioned by Australia made a difference. So, he is now the richest person in Russia, with an 18.4 billion dollar fortune. The Novolipetsk Iron and Steel Works, the First Freight Company, and the First Port Company are Lisin’s biggest assets. But does he actually own it?
The most recent news about Vladimir Lisin sounds like a scandal. He really likes shooting sports and going hunting. He even bought an old castle in Scotland so he could hunt birds on the land that came with it. And 60 kilometers from Moscow, the oligarch built himself a home called “Fox Hole.” It has a safari park and an extra-class shooting complex, where sometimes competitions are held.
Not surprisingly, the billionaire became president of the Russian Shooting Union, and in 2018, he was elected president of the International Sports Shooting Federation (ISSF). So, in the fall of 2017, the ISSF President’s Cup was held in Cairo. On the federation’s website, it said directly, “The prize fund was set up by the president of the ISSF,” and it was worth $835,000.
But while the competition was going on, the federation chose a new president. It was the Italian Luciano Rossi, who had been in second place for eight years. After that, Lisin broke his promise to give the athletes the prize money. The International Sport Shooting Federation is now looking for a new sponsor.
How to become a billionaire: Vladimir Lisin’s style
People have said and written a lot about how Vladimir Lisin is stingy with his money. Maybe this way of thinking about and making money will make you a billionaire. But Uncle Scrooge’s style can make these kinds of oddities look like stories. For example, it is known that Vladimir Lisin, who was already worth a lot of money, asked two businessmen to buy a business jet with him so they wouldn’t have to pay for its maintenance.
But Lisin’s desire to keep money for himself can sometimes hurt his business partners. Nikolai Maksimov went through this. In 2007, he sold half of his metallurgical holding company, Maxi-Group, to Lisin’s structures in order to get money for business growth. When Maksimov got the first $300 million, he put it into the business and waited for the next $300 million.
However, NLMK wasn’t in a hurry to send the money. He wasn’t in such a rush that the business ran into trouble with other creditors. It turns out that NLMK started an audit after waiting for things to get worse at Maxi-Group. They accused Maximov’s team of taking money. Maximov was charged with abuse of power for a number of years, and in 2011, NLMK asked for him to be sent to a pre-trial detention center.
The last thing that happened in the criminal case was in 2019, and the year before that, Maxi-Group went bankrupt while NLMK was in charge. Many people thought that the story of Maxi-Group was similar to how Vladimir Lisin’s business career started, when raiders took over businesses.
The way to the top
In the late 1980s, the man who would become a tycoon worked his way up to become Deputy General Director of the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant. At the time, the plant was run by Oleg Soskovets, who would later become Deputy Prime Minister. At the time, a shady plan was put in place to set up supplies for the export of low-quality metal (there was a state monopoly on the sale of high-quality metal).
Then Soskovets became leader, and for a while he was a friend of President Yeltsin. His former deputy got a job at Trans Commodities and Trans-Word Group (TWG), where he used the skills he had already learned. This last company is known for being run by the Cherny brothers, who took over the assets of Soviet metallurgy with the help of other groups. Vladimir Lisin also oversaw NLMK from TWG, but at some point he moved the plant’s money to his own trading company, which was set up in Ireland.
How the powerful Cherny brothers let him get away with such a trick is still a mystery. It is also not clear where Lisin could get the money to buy back almost half of the plant’s shares from Americans like George Soros. In this way, the version that Vladimir Lisin is just a front man for the real shadow owners at NLMK has the right to live. This helps to explain why he is cheap and shy. After all, you see, it is surprising that the richest Russian businessman doesn’t even have his own yacht. But if we assume he gives the money to “who should,” everything makes sense.
List of Russia’s wealthiest individuals
Vladimir Potanin, who is the president of HC Interros and MMC Norilsk Nickel, was ranked second by Forbes with a wealth of $17.3 billion.
Pavel Durov, who started the Telegram messaging app, was in third place, which is probably not where he wants to be. In fact, Durov asked Forbes in the spring not to call him a Russian businessman. The programmer left Russia in 2014 and won’t be going back, his representative said. In fact, Durov had already written a post with the title “Seven Reasons Not to Return” back then.
Since then, Durov has become a citizen of the island state of Saint Kitts and Nevis and then of France. He has been living in Dubai, where Telegram is based, for the past few years. But on the list of UAE billionaires, Durov looked like he didn’t belong at all. In it, he was ahead of four other people with fortunes between $2 billion and $4 billion by a big margin. Forbes says that Durov has about $15.1 billion in assets. This is actually the estimated price of Telegram, which you could get if you sold the company’s shares on the stock exchange.
Leonid Mikhelson, who started the gas company NOVATEK, came in at number four with a $14 billion fortune. This is less than a year ago by 10.9 billion. By the way, Mikhelson was number one in 2016. The year 2022 was a pretty good one for NOVATEK. LNG is still being sold on foreign markets, and NOVATEK is now the main company competing for the shares of foreign companies that have pulled out of the Sakhalin-2 project. NOVATEK will also gasify Kamchatka on behalf of the state. Because of this, it expects to be given priority when gas production licenses are given out.
This time, Alexey Mordashov was in fifth place. He had been in first place before he fell. His wealth dropped by more than half in a year, from 29.1 billion to 13.2 billion. This is likely because the West has put sanctions on both Mordashov and Severstal, which is run by his family. Now, the tycoon’s lawyers are doing everything they can to get the penalties lowered.
The right lawsuits were brought in the right European courts. And it was announced the other day that Mordashov had left Rossiya Bank. Western politicians said that Mordashov was to blame because he had a stake in Rossiya. Bank Rossiya gets into trouble, among other things, because it has more offices in the Crimea.
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