Viktor Vekselberg fell into total crisis

Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg gave the first big interview after falling under US sanctions. He told why it became for him a “total life crisis”, why he attended Trump's inauguration and why he could no longer be a “man of the world.”
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Viktor Vekselberg, Chairman of Renova’s Board of Directors, told the Financial Times how his life changed when the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on him in 2018. This is the “first big interview” of the billionaire to the western edition from the moment of their introduction, the newspaper notes.

“All my life I tried to be a man of the world ... I moved the whole family to the United States,” Vekselberg said. “I would never be able to predict what the situation in which I now find myself will be.”

In addition to the ban on doing business with Americans and isolation from the American financial system, Vekselberg was faced with another problem because of sanctions - he cannot come to his daughter and grandson living in New York, FT writes.

“People ask me:“ You have such a large Russian business, in Russia you are a celebrity, you did not fall under European sanctions. Why are you worried? - told Vekselberg. - But for me this is a total life crisis. It's not about money, not about business. This is a matter of personal circumstances ... For me, the whole world was full of possibilities. What can I do now? ”

"I'm rich. And yes, I am familiar with Putin "

Vekselberg insists that he has nothing to do with the annexation of the Crimea and Russia's intervention in the 2016 American elections. The billionaire admits that he still does not understand why sanctions were imposed against him: “Of course, I met with Putin. But many met with him, and did it more often, and they had more topics to discuss. Many people tell me that the matter is about something else, ”he told the newspaper.

"I'm Russian. I'm rich. And yes, I am familiar with Putin. Today this is enough [to fall under the sanctions], ”says Vekselberg.

The reason could be Vekselberg’s attempts to strengthen ties between the United States and Russia - in particular, he helped organize the visit of the Russian delegation to Silicon Valley and acted as an unofficial mediator between the two countries on issues related to the technology industry, writes FT. Such actions made the billionaire "too noticeable" in the period when Russia began to be accused of interfering in the American elections, the newspaper writes. Vekselberg fueled these suspicions by coming to President Trump's inauguration, the FT said.

Curiosity let down

Vekselberg himself claims that he went to the inauguration out of curiosity. "When Trump won the election, I thought," Well, this is a new guy, there is a lot of noise around him, this is interesting. If only I really understood how acute the political situation was ... how strong the anti-Russian sentiments were, ”the businessman says.

Vekselberg did not manage to get a ticket for the ceremony right away - at first he was refused by the Minister of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Then the billionaire turned to his cousin Andrew Intrater, who contacted Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, writes FT.

“Mr. Cohen asked me about the meeting because he wanted to know who would be the guest. After all, this [ticket receipt] occurred through his channel, ”said Vekselberg F 11. The meeting occurred a week before the inauguration in the New York Trump Tower. “It was not a meeting in a restaurant or something similar. We had an official invitation, security guarded us, we went up to Mr. Cohen's office at the Trump Tower, ”said the billionaire. - We shook hands, talked for about fifteen minutes. Nothing special. He did not discuss Russian business with me. He was interested only in investments in the US economy. ”

Sanctions against Vekselberg

The US Treasury included Vekselberg and the Renova group of companies under his control in the sanctions list in April 2018. The department explained that the sanctions against the businessman were imposed because of “doing business in the energy sector of the Russian economy,” and also because “two people close to Vekselberg were detained by the Russian authorities for bribing officials” (it was about the co-owner and Evgenia Olkhovik, Managing Director of Renova, and Boris Vainzikhera, Director General of the T Plus energy company.

Because of the sanctions, Vekselberg had to reduce the shares in the Swiss companies under his control to a level below 50%. Renova sold a 14.6% stake in Sulzer for 545 million Swiss francs ($ 568 million) to Sulzer itself. The money because of the sanctions were blocked on accounts in Switzerland.

In December last year, Vekselberg appealed the decision of the US Treasury on sanctions.

Oleg Deripaska

Condition: $ 3.6 billion

Lost $ 3.1 billion

Inclusion in the US sanctions list cost the Russian billionaire dearly. Its representatives were able to agree on the exclusion of En + from the sanctions list (combines a share in UC Rusal and energy assets), but he was forced to transfer about 22% of his shares to the company to VTB Bank. At the same time, Deripaska himself remains on the black list: personal sanctions forbid him to receive dividends or sell shares without the permission of the US Treasury; his assets and property in the USA are arrested.

Viktor Vekselberg

State $ 11.5 billion

Lost $ 2.9 billion

The owner of Renova, Viktor Vekselberg, also came under US sanctions in April. To remove the largest assets from the strike, the businessman was forced to get rid of their shares. Renova decreased its shares in Sulzer companies (from 63.42% to 48.83%), Oerlikon (from 43% to 19.9%), Schmolz + Bickenbach (from 26.9% to 12.6%), energy "T plus" (from 57.1% to 39.59%) and the Ural Turbine Plant (from 80% to 49%).

Andrey Melnichenko

Status: $ 13.8 billion

Lost $ 1.7 billion

The largest assets of the billionaire (Evrokhim, SUEK and Siberian Generating Company) show steady growth from year to year, but the general economic situation makes itself felt. The ruble in 2018 weakened by 15%, and with it the valuation of companies.

Mikhail Gutseriev

Status: $ 3.7 billion

Lost $ 1.1 million

In early 2019, it became known that Mikhail Gutseriev transferred to his son Said a stake in Safmar Financial Investments - now the latter owns a 30.9% stake in the holding, which unites pension funds, a stake in the insurance company VSK and the leasing company Europlan. In addition, last year the Gutserievs united retailers Eldorado and M.Video, but the quotes of the latter on the stock exchange did not grow after that.

Alexander Svetakov

Status: $ 2.5 billion

Lost $ 800 million

Alexander Svetakov is the owner of the Absolute investment group, created on the basis of the same-name trading house. Recently, Svetakov gave a large sale: he sold a trading house, as well as 270,000 sq. M. m of class B and C office space.

Dmitry Kamenshchik

Status: $ 2.8 billion

Lost $ 700 million

Dmitry Kamenshchik owns 100% of the DME group, which includes Domodedovo Airport. In August, RBC announced searches for bidders for the purchase of Domodedovo. The DME press service denied this.

Iskander Makhmudov

Status: $ 6.6 billion

Lost $ 700 million

Iskander Makhmudov owns shares of UMMC, Kuzbassrazrezugol and Transmashholding.

Alexander Dzhaparidze

Status: $ 1 billion

Lost $ 600 million

Alexander Dzhaparidze owns 30.2% of the drilling company Eurasia Drilling Company (EDC). Since 2017, oilfield service Schlumberger has been trying to buy a 51% stake in EDC, but the Russian authorities stubbornly refuse to negotiate a deal.

Megdet Rakhimkulov

Status: $ 1.3 billion

Lost $ 600 million

The former head of the Gazprom representative office in Hungary owns shares in the Hungarian OTP Bank and the oil company MOL. The assets are managed by the family owned company Kafajat Kft.

Vladimir Yevtushenkov

Status: $ 1.5 billion

Lost $ 500 million

Over the past year, substantially - by almost 25% - the quotes of the key asset of Vladimir Yevtushenkov - Sistema JSFC (combined controlling packages of MTS, Detsky Mir, Medsi clinics network, etc.) sank. However, this decline cannot be compared with the almost four-fold collapse of corporate shares in 2014, when Yevtushenkov was under house arrest for three months and lost his key asset, Bashneft.