Monday, 17 Dec, 2007 Politics

Vladimir Putin - one of the wealthiest man in the world?


Vladimir Putin, President of Russian Federation, could be the richest person in Europe and fourth wealthiest man on earth. Nevertheless, the press put him on the list of the poorest presidents.

Stanislav Belkovski, Russian political analyst, estimated Putin's capital to be about $40 billion. In an interview to the German magazine Die Welt he claimed that Vladimir Putin is a major businessman in Russia, as he is the holder of 37% "Surgutneftgaz" stocks, which is estimated to be worth $20 billion. In addition, the Russian President also holds 4.5% of "Gazprom" stocks and 50% of the oil trading company "Gunvor", which had an $8 billion income last year and $40 billion turnover. Mr. Belkovski also mentioned that Mr. Putin's representative in "Gunvor" is a close friend of him - Gennady Timchenko.

In case this information is true and this is not a political game before the elections of the Russian President in March 2008, one could see that only the stocks of Russian oil companies "Surgutneftgaz" and "Gazprom", in value of $32 billion, make the Russian President wealthier than Russia's most known billionaire - Roman Abramovich - with his $18.7 billion. If summing up the entire income, presumed by the political analyst, Putin's overall capital is close to the capital of the third wealthiest man on earth, Carlos Slim Helu from Mexico. The Forbes Magazine estimated the overall holdings of the Mexican to be over $49 billion.

Another interesting fact about the possessions of the Russian President was revealed to the Reuters news agency by Torbjorn Thornquist, CEO of "Gunvor". He confirmed that 50% of the company's stocks belong to Putin's friend Gennady Timchenko.

Experts say that it would be difficult to estimate the value of "Gunvor". However, Mr. Belkovski's version says that presuming Putin's lifetime presidency, hence a stable relationship with Russian oil suppliers, the value of this oil trading company is estimated to be about $20 billion, which adds another $10 billion to the Putin's capital.

However, the Russian President is either very good at hiding his real income or all these facts are mere speculations of his rivals, because his official income declaration states that he does not become any richer, whereas his friends, such as Gennady Timchenko, do.

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