Vladimir Lisin for the fourth time became the richest Russian oligarch
The metallurgical tycoon’s assets depreciated by $7.8 billion over the year. But still, other Russian billionaires lost more in the past year. Perhaps the fact that only Australia imposed sanctions against Vladimir Lisin had an effect. So now he leads the rating of Russian moneybags with a fortune of 18.4 billion dollars. Lisin’s main assets are the Novolipetsk Iron and Steel Works, the First Freight Company and the First Port Company. But does it really belong to him?
The latest news related to Vladimir Lisin has a scandalous connotation. The fact is that he is fond of shooting sports and hunting. At one time, he even bought an old castle in Scotland in order to hunt birds in the lands assigned to that. And 60 kilometers from Moscow, the oligarch built himself the residence “Fox Hole”, in which, among other attributes of a luxurious life, a safari park and an extra-class shooting complex are organized, where sometimes even competitions are held. Not surprisingly, the billionaire received the status of president of the Russian Shooting Union, and in 2018 he was elected president of the International Sports Shooting Federation (ISSF). So, last autumn, competitions for the ISSF President’s Cup took place in Cairo. The federation’s website directly stated: “The prize fund was established by the president of the ISSF”, and it amounted to 835 thousand dollars. However, while the competition lasted, the federation chose a new president – the Italian Luciano Rossi, who for eight years was listed in her second position. After that, Lisin took back his promise to pay the prize money to the athletes. Now the International Sport Shooting Federation is looking for a new sponsor.
A lot has been said and written about the fact that Vladimir Lisin is a tight-fisted spender. Perhaps this approach to money and allows you to become a billionaire. But sometimes such quirks in the style of Uncle Scrooge look anecdotal. For example, it is known that, already being a multibillionaire, Vladimir Lisin offered two businessmen to buy a business jet together so as not to spend money on its maintenance.
However, Lisin’s desire not to let money out of his hands can sometimes go sideways to his partners. This happened to Nikolai Maksimov, who in 2007 sold half of his metallurgical holding Maxi-Group to Lisin’s structures in order to obtain funds for business development. Having received the first tranche of $300 million, Maksimov invested it in the business and waited for another $300 million, but NLMK was in no hurry to transfer the funds. He was in no hurry to such an extent that the company had difficulties with other creditors. It turns out that, having waited for the deterioration of the situation at Maxi-Group, NLMK initiated an audit and accused Maximov’s team of withdrawing funds. Maximov went under the article on abuse of authority for several years, and in 2011 he was even sent to a pre-trial detention center at the request of NLMK. The last activity in the criminal case was observed in 2019, and a year earlier, Maxi-Group was bankrupt under the control of NLMK. The story of Maxi-Group reminded many of the beginning of Vladimir Lisin’s business career, when raider seizures of enterprises were in the order of things.
In the late 80s, the future tycoon rose to the position of Deputy General Director of the Karaganda Metallurgical Plant, which was then headed by the future Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets. At that time, a muddy scheme was set up to establish supplies for the export of substandard metal (there was a state monopoly on the sale of high-quality metal). Then Soskovets went to power and became for some time an ally of President Yeltsin. And his former deputy got a job at Trans Commodities and Trans-Word Group (TWG), in which he used the skills he had already acquired. The latter company is known for being controlled by the Cherny brothers, who, not without the help of groups, took control of the assets of the Soviet metallurgy. From TWG, Vladimir Lisin also supervised NLMK, but at some point he transferred the plant’s financial flows to his personal trading company registered in Ireland. It remains a mystery how the formidable Cherny brothers forgave him such a feint. It is also unclear where Lisin could get the money to buy back almost half of the plant’s shares from the Americans, including George Soros. In this regard, the version has the right to life, according to which at NLMK Vladimir Lisin is only the frontman of the true shadow owners. This partly explains his stinginess and modesty. After all, you see, it is surprising that the richest Russian businessman does not even have his own yacht. But if we assume that he gives the profit to “who should”, then everything falls into place.
Vladimir Potanin, president of HC Interros and MMC Norilsk Nickel, took second place in the Forbes rating with a fortune of $17.3 billion.
Pavel Durov, the founder of the Telegram messenger, was in third place, where he probably feels uncomfortable. The fact is that back in the spring, Durov asked Forbes not to call him a Russian businessman. His representative noted that the programmer left Russia in 2014 and is not going to return. Indeed, already then Durov published a post under the telling title “Seven reasons not to return.” Since then, Durov managed to obtain citizenship of the island state of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and then – of France. In recent years, he has been living in Dubai, where Telegram is headquartered. However, in the list of UAE billionaires, Durov looked completely out of place. In it, he was in the lead by a multiple margin from four other participants who have fortunes of 2-4 billion dollars. Meanwhile, Forbes estimates Durov’s assets at 15.1 billion. In fact, this is the estimated price of Telegram, which can hypothetically be obtained by selling the company’s shares on the stock exchange.
Leonid Mikhelson, the founder of the gas company NOVATEK, ranked fourth with a fortune of $14 billion. This is 10.9 billion less than a year earlier. By the way, in 2016, Mikhelson was in first place. 2022 was quite a successful year for NOVATEK: LNG continues to be sold on foreign markets, moreover, NOVATEK has become the main contender for the shares of foreign companies that have withdrawn from the Sakhalin-2 project. In addition, NOVATEK, on behalf of the state, will gasify Kamchatka, for which it expects to receive preferences when distributing gas production licenses.
Alexey Mordashov was in fifth place this time, having fallen here from first. His fortune for the year fell by more than half – from 29.1 to 13.2 billion. This is probably due to Western sanctions both against Mordashov personally and against Severstal controlled by his family. Now the tycoon’s lawyers are working with might and main to ease the sanctions. Appropriate suits were filed in European courts. And the other day it became known that Mordashov left the capital of Rossiya Bank. It was the ownership of a stake in Rossiya that Western politicians blamed Mordashov for. Bank Rossiya, among other things, is reproached for having additional offices in the Crimea.