Russian billionaire swoops on struggling Hambro gold miner

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A RUSSIAN billionaire has quietly built a large minority stake in Petropavlovsk, fanning speculation that he could launch a bid for the gold miner chaired by City veteran Peter Hambro.

Viktor Vekselberg, whose net worth is estimated at $12 billion, controls a vast empire through his holding company Renova. In recent weeks it has used three subsidiary companies — Lamesa Group, Lamesa Foundation and Polo Company— to amass a 20% stake in Petropavlovsk, owner of one of Russia’s largest gold mines.

Renova did not return calls. Petropavlovsk — founded 21 years ago and originally called Peter Hambro Mining — declined to comment.

The move by Vekselberg, 58, owner of a 250ft super-yacht called Tango, is the latest development in a harrowing year for Petropavlovsk.

Read the full article at The Sunday Times, by Danny Fortson 

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