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Russia's super-rich down to last few billions as fortunes slip away
Bless 'em. My heart bleeds at the misfortune of the Russian oligarchs. Imagine only having $4 billion to spend.

But whenever anyone has a second to kick back and ponder with a glass of chilled Chablis, they could do worse than ask themselves precisely and exactly where all these trillion of dollars went ($12 trillion and counting in the US rescue package) following the banking crisis? Such a wealth transfer cannot happen without the authorities knowing exactly who benefitted, but no one is naming names. And speaking personally I would very much like to know the names of those who now have al those trillions...

From The Times
February 16, 2009
Russia's super-rich down to last few billions as fortunes slip away
Tony Halpin in Moscow
The financial crisis has hit Russia's oligarchs hard, with most losing sizeable chunks of their fortunes. A few years ago they were multibillionaires - now they are simply billionaires.

Mikhail Prokhorov, a playboy bachelor and founder of a magazine called Snob, is named the wealthiest Russian in the annual ranking of the country's super-rich, but his estimated $14.1 billion fortune would have put him outside the Top 10 a year ago. The survey by Finans magazine calculated that he had lost more $7.4 billion over the year, more than a third of his wealth.

Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, was placed second with $13.9 billion, more than $9 billion less than he was worth in 2007. The magazine reckoned that his net worth had slipped back to little more than the level he enjoyed in 2004.

Oleg Deripaska, who has been rated Russia's richest man in each of the past two years, suffered the biggest fall from grace. He was placed eighth with $4.9 billion, a decline of almost 90 per cent on the $40 billion fortune he had built up through his Basic Element company, which owns UC Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer, as well as businesses covering minerals, airports, construction, and banking.

Mr Deripaska, 41, is often described as the Kremlin's favourite oligarch and is regarded as particularly close to Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister. Liquidity problems and plunging share prices forced him to surrender stakes in a Canadian car-parts company and a German construction business to banks that had provided loans to fund the purchases. He came close to losing a 25 per cent stake in Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel miner, until the state-owned Vnesheconombank, which is chaired by Mr Putin, bailed him out by providing $4.5 billion to repay a loan made by a group of Western banks.

Mr Deripaska is far from alone in seeing much of his wealth evaporate. The steel magnate Vladimir Lisin retained third place in the Finans rich list but with $7.7 billion, a decline of two thirds on his estimated fortune of $22.2 billion last year. Mikhail Fridman, founder of Alfa banking group, was another to suffer big losses. One of four Russian partners who fought a bruising battle with BP over control of their joint venture TNK-BP oil company, Mr Fridman's estimated fortune fell from $22.2 billion to $6.1 billion.

The combined wealth of the remaining five members of the Top 10 came to $29.2 billion, far less than Mr Deripaska alone was said to have been worth in last year's list. The entire Top 10 was estimated to be worth $75.9 billion by the end of 2008 compared with $221 billion the previous year.

The total number of billionaires in Russia has also more than halved as a result of the financial crisis, from 101 last year to 49 now, the lowest number since 2005. Finans acknowledged that the situation could be even worse for some oligarchs because share prices had continued to fall since the league table was compiled.

Russia's super-rich — and their losses

$14.1bn Mikhail Prokhorov, down from $21.5bn

$13.9bn Roman Abramovich, down from $23bn

$7.7bn Vladimir Lisin, down from $22.2bn

$7.6bn Vagit Alekperov, down from £13.5bn

$7.5bn Suleiman Kerimov, down from $18bn

$6.1bn Mikhail Fridman, down from $22.2bn

$5bn Vladimir Potanin, down from $21.5bn

$4.9bn Oleg Deripaska, down from $40bn

$4.6bn Dmitri Ribolovyev, down from $11.7bn

$4.5bn Alisher Usmanov, down from $13.3bn

Source: Finans magazine
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
Maybe we should get a concert together to raise money for Buluga caviar, ermine coats, and platinum bars for the destitute oligarchs. May they meet the fate of Czar Nicholas III, as far as I'm concerned.

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