- Richest Business › Richest Billionaires
- Net Worth:
- $2 Billion
- Date of Birth:
- Jan 2, 1968 (55 years old)
- Place of Birth:
- Businessperson, Investor, Entrepreneur
What is Oleg Deripaska's Net Worth?
Oleg Deripaska is a Russian businessman who has a net worth of $2 billion. Oleg Deripaska is a billionaire industrialist from Russia who founded the industrial group Basic Element in 1997. He also founded and headed the energy company En+ Group and the aluminum company United Company RUSAL. Involved in many business and political scandals, Deripaska was among the numerous Russian oligarchs sanctioned by Western countries during Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Early Life and Education
Oleg Deripaska was born on January 2, 1968 in Dzerzhinsk, Soviet Russia and grew up on his family's farm in Ust-Labinsk. He was mostly raised by his grandparents, as his mother, a widow, left to find work. Deripaska began working as a kid at the Ust-Labinsk plant where his mother found a job. When he was 11, he became an electrician's apprentice. Because Deripaska was highly skilled at math, he was able to enroll at Moscow State University when he was 17. However, after a year in college, he was recruited into the armed forces. Deripaska eventually returned to Moscow State to complete his education, graduating with a physics degree in 1993. He went on to earn his master's degree from the Plekhanov University of Economics in 1996.
Partnering with fellow scientists, Deripaska established the metal trading company VTK in the early 90s. He was able to achieve significant success by buying metal at low Russian prices and selling it abroad at much higher international market rates. Deripaska used almost all of his arbitrage and trading profits to purchase his initial package of shares in the Sayanogorsk aluminum smelter in South Central Siberia. In 1994, he became director general of the plant. A few years later, Deripaska founded Sibirsky Aluminum Group, which in 2000 merged with Millhouse Capital to form RUSAL.
Becoming the head of RUSAL, Deripaska turned the company into the largest aluminum producer in the world. He oversaw the construction of the Khakas aluminum smelter in Siberia, the first such smelter built in post-Soviet Russia. Deripaska continued to expand his business interests exponentially over the years, acquiring stakes in companies spanning such industries as energy, manufacturing, auto, finance, aviation, and agriculture. His notable assets include the power company EuroSibEnergo, the insurance company Ingosstrakh, and the automotive conglomerate GAZ Group. These and other assets form part of the diversified investment portfolio of Deripaska's industrial group Basic Element, which he founded in 1997.
Among his myriad other ventures, Deripaska founded the diversified mining, metals, and energy company En+ Group in 2006. It owns a majority stake in RUSAL and EuroSibEnergo, which controls and manages power plants. In 2011, Deripaska created Kuban Agroholding, a 75,000-hectare agribusiness.
Other Business Positions
Elsewhere in the world of business, Deripaska serves as the chairman of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council and the vice president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. He has also been a participant at the World Economic Forum since 2007.
In 1995, Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin won the right to acquire Norilsk Nickel from the collapsed Soviet government. Over the next 10 years, Norilsk Nickel expanded at a furious pace. Under Prokhorov's direction, the company sold off all non-core assets, modernized equipment and aggressively sought out new regions with natural resources to exploit. Annual revenues at Norilsk Nickel grew from $400 million in 1995 to over $10 billion in 2007.
In January 2007, Mikhail was arrested in the French Alps by police who suspected he had flown a private jet full of prostitutes to the town for a debaucherous week-long party with his buddies.
In the ensuing scandal, Mikhail was forced to sell his stake in Norilsk. He ended up selling his stake to Oleg Deripaska for $7 billion in cash and $3 billion worth of stock in one of Oleg's aluminum companies.
This turned out to be very good timing because by late 2008, a few months after the deal was finally closed, the world economy began to collapse. Oleg Deripaska's net worth plunged 85% from $28 billion to $4 billion in a matter of months. Mikhail, flush with cash, proceeded to to buy the Brooklyn Nets, among other lavish splurges.
Criticism of Russian War in Ukraine
Impressively, Oleg Deripaska is one of the very few Russian billionaires who risked life and fortune by publicly criticizing Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. In March of 2022 Oleg called for an end to the war in a post on Telegram:
"Peace is very important! It is insane to prolong [peace] negotiations!"
He warned of possible nuclear accidents in Ukraine, which in his view would ultimately doom Russia:
"For those who do not understand, any accident involving those objects will be remembered by our successors in Russia, Ukraine and Europe for some 200 years to come."
In June of 2022 Oleg warned:
"… destroying Ukraine would be a colossal mistake."
Seizure of $1 Billion Property
In December 2022, a Russian court ordered that a $1 billion luxury hotel complex owned by Oleg be seized. Technically, the legal battle over the property pre-dated the war in Ukraine but many observers believe the court's ruling was not exactly unaffected by Oleg's controversial comments. Case in point, just two weeks after his June comment, a Putin-backed science/education/tourism department called the Sirius Federal Territory filed three disputes related to the land where Oleg's Imeretinskiy hotel complex is being constructed.
On the philanthropic side of things, Deripaska created the charitable foundation Volnoe Delo, which funds initiatives in Russia devoted to education, science, cultural heritage, and public health. He also co-founded the National Science Support Foundation and the National Medicine Fund. Meanwhile, Deripaska sits on numerous boards of trustees, including those at multiple schools belonging to Moscow State University, and at the Bolshoi Theatre, where he has financed various ballets and operas.
Oleg Deripaska has been involved in a number of scandals related to his business activities and political relationships. He has been investigated for money laundering due to his ties with organized crime heads Sergei Popov and Anton Malevsky, and attracted controversy for his relationships with British financier Nathaniel Rothschild, politician Peter Mandelson, and American convicted felon Paul Manafort. Notably, Deripaska was accused of acting as a middle man between the Russian government and Manafort during Russia's interference in the 2016 US elections.
Deripaska has been accused of many other crimes, including extortion, racketeering, and wiretapping government officials. As a consequence, he was sanctioned by the United States in 2018. Four years later, he was charged with violating the sanction; he was also sanctioned by the UK and EU during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In 2001, Deripaska married Polina Yumasheva, the daughter of Russian president Boris Yeltsin's top adviser Valentin. The couple had a son named Pyotr and a daughter named Maria before divorcing in 2018. Deripaska also has multiple horses and dogs. In 2017, he became a Cypriot citizen.