Is Vladimir Putin Secretly the Richest Man in the World?
Many lists are compiled throughout the year, ranking people whom are the most influential, the sexiest, the nicest, and so on.
But if there were to be a list of the world's most fascinating people, Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin would have to be up there...
It's not unlikely to see photos of Putin riding bare-chested, bareback on one of stallions, or sparing with a fellow martial arts expert at his home. The man is one of absolute fantasy. He does everything you would imagine a 'bad-ass' president/dictator would do in his spare time. Like tracking polar bears and driving Formula One race cars, or even calling the United States "parasites", he does it all.
The man can strike fear in the hearts of most people, especially those who live in his vaunted nation. The most recent polls during elections showed that not only did Putin receive the majority of the vote, Russia's voter turnout exceeded 146%. Whether it be conspiracy based or not, the president-elect is not someone whom you compete with.
So when it comes to the World's Wealthiest People List, I suggest all other competition just step down. It's reported by Business Insider that Putin is in contention to being the world's wealthiest person.
Putin owns shares in three major oil and gas companies: 75% of oil trader Gunvor, 37% of oil supplier Surgutneftegas and 4.5% of Gazprom.
One analyst, Stanislav Belkovsky, says the Russian president could be worth up to $70 billion, while other estimates have been even higher.
“His estimate is based on information gained from confidential sources around the corporations, Belkovsky claims. But he is reluctant to reveal more,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Maeve McClenaghan writes.
From Business Insider,
TBIG's premise is that Putin's declaration of his own net worth in the recent election was pretty suspicious.
According to the Russian Central Electoral Commission, McClenaghan reports, Putin has $179,612 in the bank and has earned around half a million dollars in the past four years. His wife Lyudmila has $261,541 in four bank accounts.
“Putin's declared assets are also rather spartan. He has claimed to have a share in a public garage, apartments in Moscow and St Petersburg and a 1,500-square meter plot of land outside Moscow,” McClenaghan says.
Business Insider earlier this year reported that in assets alone, Putin may have up to $40 billion.
Bloomberg counters the claim that Putin is the wealthiest man in the world, because according to the the business news and financial information site, Putin isn't even the wealthiest man in Russia!
That title belongs to Alisher Usmanov, a 58-year-old Muscovite who controls the Metalloinvest metals and mining company and Digital Sky Technolgies. Usmanov became the richest person in Russia after large investments in Facebook, Groupon and Zynga bumped his total fortune to $19 billion, up $1.6 billion this year.
The country's second wealthiest is Gennady Timchenko who became acquainted with Putin in the early 1990s when Putin was serving as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. It's safe to say that Timchenko and Putin are “buds” as the president was elected chairman of a judo club Timchenko co-founded, before his days of ruling all of Russia. Timchenko controls a portfolio of international energy and oil trading assets, one of which is a large stake in Gunvor Group Ltd. The company is notoriously secretive about its ownership, but it's been reported by The Economist – after a lawsuit from Timchenko and Gunvor-- that “neither Vladimir Putin nor other senior Russian political figures have any ownership interest in Gunvor.”
Other reports state that Timchenko owns up to 45% of the Guvnor Group, while some suggest Putin controls 50% in Gunvor, but run by Timchenko.
However you slice it, both men are extremely wealthy and incredibly secretive. We may never know what Putin's truth financial value is due to the widespread conspiracies surrounding him; election-fraud, hidden bank accounts, and Russian apartment buildings bombings.
But one thing is for certain, after Putin's victory in the most recent elections, he will not be going anywhere soon. Putin plans to extend the presidential terms so they last 6 years, which would means two terms would be 12 years: effectively spending 24 years controlling Russia.
With that to be expected, Putin and Russia will continue to make headlines and compiled lists; In 2011, Russia ranked 143rd, tied with Nigeria and Uganda, on Transparency International's annual list of the 182 most corrupt nations.+12
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