Published On: Thu, Sep 11th, 2014

Russia’s Richest Hit Hard by Sanctions

Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko,    whose oil firm Gunvor has been targeted by US sanctions

U.S. sanctions against Russia are taking their toll against Russia’s wealthiest people. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows a $14.6 billion loss since the beginning of the year, with American billionaires seeing an increase of $56.5 billion.

Gennady Timchenko, who has a 23% stake in OAO Novatek and is close to Vladimir Putin, saw OAO drop 8% on the first day sanctions were announced, and the oil company has since lost $3 billion of its market value. Putin also owns a stake in OAO Novatek.

The richest man in Russia, Alisher Usmanov, has lost $1.3 billion. He owns USM Holdings. Mikhail Fridman, in the number two spot among Russia’s wealthiest, has seen a loss of $905 million. He is the co-owner of Afa Group Consortium, one of Russia’s largest privately held investment groups.

One would think these billionaires would put pressure on Putin, given that  their fortunes on fading thanks to the sanctions, but opposition might cause their wealth to vanish altogether. There is the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, owner of the oil company Yukos. He was seen as a major contender for the Presidency, but was sentenced to nine years in prison on unclear charges, and had the government seized Yukos, taking $31 billion worth of stock. Upon his release in 2014, Khordorkovsky saw his fortune dwindle to a mere $170 million.

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