War in Ukraine: the fortune of Russian billionaires in fall

Vladimir Putin’s major offensive on Ukraine is shaking the wallets of Russia’s biggest fortunes. Less than a week after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tens of billions of dollars have been wiped from the fortunes of Russia’s billionaire elite, as the country’s stock market and the ruble have plunged, and financial markets across the whole world being shaken.

Since February 16, the first day of the offensive in Ukraine, 116 Russian billionaires have lost the equivalent of some 126 billion dollars, reveal figures from “Forbes” published on Tuesday. Last Thursday, with the fall of 40% of the Russian index Moex, 71 billion had flown away. And the losses are expected to mount as Western economic sanctions continue to scourge on Russia.

The CEOs of the gas and oil groups affected

Leonid Mikhelson is the big loser in the ranking, with a decline of 16.5% of his fortune, according to “Forbes”. The majority shareholder and CEO of the gas group Novatek, the largest private supplier of natural gas in Russia – and of which TotalEnergies is a shareholder – thus lost 4.5 billion dollars during the single day of last Thursday.

Vagit Alekperov, the boss of the oil giant Lukoil and former deputy minister of the Russian oil and gas industry, lost 4.2 billion dollars on Thursday. Similarly, Alexei Mordashov, the main shareholder of the Russian steel giant Severstal, lost $4.2 billion, before rebounding to $2 billion on Friday. Billionaire Gennady Timchenko, with stakes in petrochemical maker Sibur and Novatek, through his company Volva Group, completes the top spot, after being cut by $4.2 billion last week.

British sanctions

Among the list of names, some are better known than others. Like that of Roman Abramovich, owner of the London football club Chelsea and close to Vladimir Putin. He saw his assets amputated by 1.2 billion dollars last Thursday (out of a fortune estimated at 13.5 billion).

The Russian oligarch decided this weekend to cede control of Chelsea to the trustees of the club’s foundation. Fearing UK sanctions – Boris Johnson has announced a freeze on the assets of major Russian banks, as well as for 100 individuals and entities who “support Putin’s war machine” – he has also decided to sell his real estate in the capital, reports Bloomberg. On Monday, Abramovich’s spokesman said he was trying to help negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine.

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