Their yachts are being seized. Mansions, Italian villas, private jets and more are being hunted. Their wealth is hemorrhaging. Russian billionaires truly are having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. Actually it's more like two or three weeks really bad weeks with the last seven days being pure hell.
In a different world I could have dedicated individual 1,000-word articles to any one of the anecdotes I'm about to describe. So many insane bad things happened to Russian billionaires recently that I've decided to summarize the biggest events in one article 🙂
Let's start with a big number:
That's how much money has been shaved from the collective net worths of Russia's 25 richest citizens in the last two weeks. And there's a major caveat here. Russia has kept its stock markets closed for the last week. So for any oligarch whose net worth is tied to a publicly traded company, the numbers we are about to report are actually frozen from a week ago. If the markets opened again on Monday you would surely see the bottom fall out again from Russia's richest billionaires.
Speaking of Russia's richest citizens, let's talk about the #1 richest person in Russia…
Since February 16, Russia's richest citizen, Vladimir Potanin, has seen his net worth drop from $31 billion to $23 billion. Potanin earned his first fortune in the metal industry then expanded into banking. He is not currently sanctioned in the US or Europe so his THREE yachts and private jet are safe for the moment.
But he has had to make some sacrifices. On Wednesday, Potanin announced that he was stepping down from the Board of NYC's Guggenheim museum after a 20-year term.
Two weeks ago, LUKOIL CEO Vagit Alekperov was one of Russia's five richest citizens thanks to a net worth that topped $21 billion. LUKOIL is Russia's largest privately-owned oil company. The country's largest oil company, Rosneft, is owned by the state. More on Rosneft's CEO Igor Sechin in a moment.
In the last two weeks LUKOIL's stock price has fallen 92%, from $90 a share on Feb 16 to $7. With that drop Vagit has watched his net worth plummet from $21 billion to $3 billion.
And here's the thing – Russia has kept its stock markets CLOSED for the last week! How much more would Lukoil's stock price drop if the markets reopened? So what is Vagit's true current net worth???
The pain has been so severe that LUKOIL's board of directors broke ranks and actually released a statement calling for the war in Ukraine to end. A fairly shocking rebuke of Vladimir Putin that would have been unfathomable a few days ago.
Meanwhile, Vagit's 230-foot superyacht has… vanished…
Known as Galactica Super Nova, the yacht was last seen at a port in Barcelona. Yacht tracking websites claimed to have seen the vessel depart on March 1st heading towards Montenegro. After leaving Montenegro sometime this week Galactica Super Nova stopped sending out tracking signals, rendering it essentially invisible. According to international law, yachts the size of Galactica Super Nova are legally required to keep their tracking signals activated.
Igor Sechin is the CEO of Russia's largest oil producer, the state-owned Rosneft. Last week French authorities seized Igor's yacht "Amore Vero" while it was sitting in a shipyard near Marseille. His yacht had been at the shipyard since early January and was not scheduled to be done with repairs for another month, but apparently Igor had grown nervous about potential sanctions and ordered his crew to prep the boat for departure. When French authorities approached the captain earlier this week, he apparently casually informed them that he had received orders to sail to Turkey "at once" A day later the yacht was locked to the dock with steel casings.
Industrial tycoon Alexei Mordashov was worth close to $29 billion two weeks ago. He has at times been the richest person in Russia. Today his net worth sits down $8 billion to $21 billion… again though, who knows any of these billionaire's current net worths since the Russian stock markets are frozen….
Hitting him where it hurts, as of last weekend Alexei no longer controlls his beloved yacht "Lady M."
The 215-foot yacht (pictured below in a photo from last Saturday morning) was seized by financial police while it sat in a harbor in the town of Imperia.
Unfortunately for Alexei, the pain may not be limited to yacht seizures.
Italian police are also reportedly in the process of submitting paperwork to seize his $72 million villa on the coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. Police don't need to move as urgently when seizing a villa… since it can't exactly sail away.
Those Italian finance police were busy in Imperia last weekend. Soon after seizing Alexei's yacht they drove over to a different part of the harbor and seized a yacht owned by Gennady Timchenko.
Reportedly one of Putin's close friends, Gennady has been under sanction in the US since 2014. His EU sanctions just dropped. Speaking of things that have dropped… Gennady Timchenko's net worth two weeks ago was $22.5 billion. It has since dropped to $10 billion.
Ever since the war broke out, Roman has reportedly been trying to offload his European and American assets as quickly as possible. For example, the Chelsea Football Club and his $150 million London mansion. Roman was added to UK's sanctions list. That means he can no longer visit, sell or operate any of his three English mansions. He also can no longer sell Chelsea. Chelsea can continue playing but they can't sell new tickets, merchandise or even concessions at the stadium. The team also can't offer new contracts to players.
Roman's net worth has been cut from $19 billion to $14 billion in recent weeks.
This week the Biden administration is also reportedly seeking to freeze Roman's funds kept at a New York-based wealth management firm called Concord Management.
Leonid has at times been the richest person in Russia. The founder and chairman of natural gas company Novatek has seen his net worth cut in half from $22 billion to $11 billion in the last few weeks.
Earlier in the week there was a story going around that Alisher's $800 million yacht had been seized by German authorities in Hamburg. That report was eventually challenged by Usmanov's lawyers. On the other hand, a spokesperson for Hamburg's economic authority told Reuters on Saturday that "there were no plans for the yacht to be delivered to its owner"… without providing further detail.
I could go on for another 1,000 words but I'm going to stop there. So many crazy things keep happening that I could probably write another article like this every day for the next month.