Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, is one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs with close ties to the Moscow Kremlin.
The 45 year-old is the ninth-richest man in Russia and the 53rd-richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $13.4 billion, according to the Forbes rich list 2011.
But the sandy-haired billionaire also has a gift for the unexpected.
Far from the glamour of Knightsbridge, West London, where he owns a £150 million eight-bedroom palace, Abramovich spent his childhood in the desolate region of Komi in the Russian Arctic circle. The harsh region has long periods of darkness in the winter and thick permafrost hiding vast reserves of oil.
Abramovich, who was born in Lithuania, was orphaned at a young age. His Jewish parents Irina and Arkady died before he was four and he was raised by his grandparents.
Abramovich dropped out of two colleges and served in the army before appearing in Moscow as a right-hand man to Boris Berezovsky. Berezovsky wielded huge power under President Boris Yeltsin and amassed billions in the ruthless carve-up of the crumbling Soviet Union’s industrial assets.
Abramovich’s first business venture was selling plastic ducks from a Moscow apartment but within a few years he owned several oil conglomerates and numerous pig farms.
He also held a stake in Sibneft, one of Russia’s largest oil firms, which was controlled by Berezovsky until a criminal investigation into fraud charges forced him into exile in Britain in 2001.
While Berezovsky languished in London, Abramovich went from strength to strength gaining a place in President Yeltsin’s inner circle.
Abramovich cashed in his Sibneft stake when the firm were bought by another Russian oil company. The deal is thought to have netted him around £1.8 billion. A keen follower of international football, he also owns an ice hockey team.
When Vladimir Putin became Russia’s prime minister in 1999 and then president just a year later, Abramovich entered politics himself.
He became governor of the far eastern Chukotka region in 2000 after winning 92 per cent of the vote. While Abramovich’s personal wealth is huge, the economic health of Chukotka is in stark contrast. The region is in economic crisis and has been declared bankrupt.
Abramovich spent millions from his own fortune on schools, new housing and infrastructure, an outlay he estimated at between £120-180 million. “I can’t really tell how much exactly,” he said.
Known to be media-shy and secretive, low key and usually sporting stubble, he is seen as a supremely savvy businessman.
His main sources of wealth are in oil, steel, and gold. He has a huge portfolio of real estate, jets, yachts, fast cars and paintings and is famous for his lavish spending sprees.
Abramovich has been married twice. He married his first wife, Olga Yurevna Lysova, in December 1987 but was divorced by 1990 just three years later. His second marriage in 1991 to Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina lasted 16 years. Abramovich has six children.
#This ,man spent a huge amount of money from his pocket on schools and infastructure to develop his country, it’s quite unfortunate that Nigerians politician doesn’t learn from this, all they know is to embezzle money and illegally enrich themselves despite the fact that they gets jumbo pay as salary.
God help us all.