Roman Abramovich is a powerful Russian business magnate who owns the investment company Millhouse LLC, Chelsea Football Club and steel and mining firms. With a net worth of 12 billion dollars he ranks in the list of the world’s richest people.
Abramovich was born on 24th October 1966 in Saratov, Russia. He faced many hardships in his early life. After the death of his parents he was raised by his aunts and various orphanages. He went to the Industrial Institute before he entered the Soviet Army. His billion dollars business began while he was in service, by selling stolen gasoline to his unit’s commission officers. In 1987, he turned 2000 rubles that were a wedding gift into triple the amount by investing in the smuggling of black market goods. Soon he started an automobile parts business. He continued to work his illegal business until 1988 when he finally got the opportunity to legalize it when Perestroika allowed trade to businessmen in the Soviet Union. He started a company with his wife that made dolls; it was an instant success. During 90s, as his wealth increased, Abramovich liquidated twenty companies in various sectors such as tires and bodyguard recruiters.
From 1992 to 1995, Abramovich had started five companies in the oil industry. He became the co-owner of one of the major oil companies called ‘Sibneft’. He also bought holdings in aluminum companies becoming one of the biggest aluminum producers. Abramovich had become quite well-connected to the right people including the president. He entered politics in 1999 and was elected as governor of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, a very impoverished region. He made huge developments in the area by building educational institutes, hotels and renovating the airport and the existing schools. It is said that he put 1.3 billion dollars of his own money for the progress of Chukotka. The Russian magazine Expert named him ‘Person of the Year’ and he was given the ‘Order of Honor’.
Abramovich faced many allegations of fraud, blackmail and bribery. ‘The Times’ magazine reports that he admitted to paying billions of dollars to achieve political favors in order to attain big shares in Russia’s aluminum and oil assets. His business partner Boris Berezovsky claimed that Abramovich has threatened him to sell his shares at a lower price than what they were worth. Boris won the civil case and got more than 3 billion dollars as damages from Abramovich. Another company Yugraneft received over billion dollars for a lawsuit they won against him.
Forbes ranks him on number 53 as the world’s richest person. After losing many billion dollars in lawsuits and other losses, his wealth has declined but he is still the second wealthiest person in the United Kingdom. He spends luxuriously on yachts and is the owner of five deluxe yachts known as ‘Abramovich’s Army’. He also owns his private aircraft, Boeing 767-33A/ER called the ‘Bandit’. He also has two bullet and bomb proof Maybach limousines that reportedly cost one million dollars. He has a private army of 40 people for his own security. This makes him one of the best protected tycoons of the world.