Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Young, Shy and Russia's Second Wealthiest Man

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Young, Shy and Russia's Second Wealthiest Man

Article excerpt


RUSSIAN billionaire Roman Abramovich flies into Heathrow today in his private jet - a Boeing 767 - to take stock of his football club. The billionaire made his fortune from aluminium and oil. According to Forbes magazine, he is the second richest man in Russia.

The Sunday Times placed him joint 19th in this year's Europe's Rich List - ahead of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone. The survey estimated his fortune at [pounds sterling]3.8 billion with much of it managed through Londonregistered holding company, Millhouse Capital.

Always surrounded by bodyguards, he travels through Moscow in an armoured Mercedes. In April he was reported to have bought the 355ft yacht Le Grand Bleu from Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.

Married with four children, he lives on a 42-hectare estate on the outskirts of Moscow.

Abramovich, 36, is reputed to be part of a group of millionaire Russian businessmen known as The Oligarchy - or The Family.

They bankrolled Boris Yeltsin and are credited with "buying" his 1996 presidential victory, before backing the current Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Born in Saratov in southern Russia in October 1966, Abramovich obtained a law degree before turning his in Moscow back on a legal career in favour of business.

His has been a spectacular rise, even when compared with that of his fellow Russian tycoons. But unlike them, he has remained largely in the shadows. He is so publicity shy that a Moscow tabloid once organised a competition offering prizes to readers who found a picture of him.

His business career got off to a shaky start when, according to Moscow press reports, he was indicted in the case of the theft of an entire train carrying diesel although the case was later dropped.

In the mid-Nineties he was introduced to the oil business and the world of big money by now-disgraced businessman Boris Berezovsky. …

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