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Mikhail Fridman

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Nyongesa Sande
Nyongesa Sandehttps://bizmart.africa
Nyongesa Sande is a Kenyan blogger, Pan Africanist,c olumnist Political Activist , blogger, informer & businesman who has interest in politics, governance, corporate fraud, human rights and television personality.

Mikhail Maratovich Fridman (also transliterated Mikhail FriedmanRussian: Михаил Маратович Фридман; Hebrew: מיכאיל פרידמן; born 21 April 1964) is a Ukrainian-born, Russian–Israeli businessman, billionaire, and oligarch. He is one of the co-founders of Alfa-Group, a multinational Russian conglomerate. According to Forbes, he was the seventh-richest Russian as of 2017. (Moved to 11th place in 2020.) In May 2017, he was also ranked as Russia’s most important businessman by bne IntelliNews. In August 2022, Fridman had a net worth of $11.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In 1991 he co-founded Alfa-Bank, one of the largest private banks in Russia. After serving as CEO of TNK-BP, the 50/50 TNK-BP joint venture, for nine years, in 2013 he sold his stake in the company and co-founded the international investment company LetterOne (L1). Until 2022 Fridman was chairman of the supervisory board of Alfa Group Consortium, and also served on the boards of Alfa-Bank and ABH Holdings.

Prior to 2022, he was on the supervisory board of directors for VEON (formerly Vimpelcom) and X5 Retail Group. He is a member of the supervisory board of DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, which is owned by LetterOne. Fridman has been a member of numerous public-facing bodies, including the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Public Chamber of Russia, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2022 the EU imposed sanctions on Fridman in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Fridman claimed the EU’s allegations were false and defamatory. He subsequently decided to step down from the boards of LetterOne and Alfa Group so that they could avoid sanctions. As reported by several media, Fridman has already filed lawsuits challenging sanctions on at least two occasions: in July 2022 and in December 2022.

In December 2022, a man reported by Russian state media to be Fridman was arrested in London by the UK’s National Crime Agency on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury. The UK National Crime Agency did not name the man, stating only that it had detained a 58-year-old “wealthy Russian businessman” at a “multi-million-pound residence.” Subsequently, the agency scaled back its probe

The majority of Fridman’s fortune is derived from Alfa Group, which has interests in banking and retail. He’s the largest shareholder of the holding company, which he created and controls with two former college classmates, German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev. The three partners own the businesses controlled by Alfa Group through Gibraltar-based CTF Holdings.

He sold his share of TNK-BP International, Russia’s third-largest oil producer at the time, to state-run oil company Rosneft for $5.1 billion in March 2013. He collected about $3.3 billion in dividends from the venture between 2004 and 2012. He’s also collected more than $1.6 billion from dividends and share sales of publicly traded companies, according to filings and an analysis of Bloomberg data.

Fridman owns 32.9% of Alfa Bank, Russia’s fifth biggest bank by assets, according to the Banki.ru ranking. In March 2015, through Luxembourg-based holding company LetterOne, he and his partners completed the 5.1 billion-euro ($5.8 billion) acquisition of German RWE’s Dea unit, which produces oil and gas in Norway and Germany. A cash outflow of the same amount is included. In May 2019, Dea merged with Wintershall, BASF’s oil and gas unit. Fridman owns 10.4% of the business. He resigned his bard position in March 2022 at LetterOne and Alfa-Bank’s parent company ABH Holdings following EU sanctions.

He has stakes in three publicly traded companies, including 22% of X5, a food retailer; 21% of Veon, an international mobile phone operator; and 7.5% stake of Turkcell, a mobile phone company. 

He also has investments in health-food retail chain Holland & Barrett and FreedomPop, a wireless internet mobile service provider.

Fridman was sanctioned by the European Union and the UK in 2022 over the escalating conflict in Ukraine.

Biography

Education: Moscow Institute of Steel & Alloys

Mikhail Fridman was born in Lviv, Ukraine, to a family of engineers, in 1964. Fridman’s first forays into business were music-related. The billionaire, who performed with a band while in high school, ran a nightclub called Strawberry Fields while in college, and also made money scalping tickets outside Moscow theaters.

His other pre-banking ventures were equally varied. He set up a window-cleaning business in the late 1980s, and then teamed up with a couple of his college classmates, German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev, to sell carpets and computers in the final years of the Soviet Union. As the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Fridman set up a commercial bank, Alfa Bank, which became the anchor business of Alfa Group, a holding company that today owns interests in telecommunications and retail. Fridman is the largest shareholder in Alfa Group.

Fridman has also made money from oil. In 1997, along with fellow businessmen Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, Fridman and his Alfa partners bought a 40 percent stake in TNK, a former state-owned oil company with interests in several West Siberian oil fields. Two years later, they acquired the most productive subsidiary of a competitor, Sidanco — then partly-owned by BP — that had been declared bankrupt by a commercial court in Siberia. John Browne, BP’s then-CEO, later said the legal system was rigged.

By 2004, BP had paid almost $7 billion for half of TNK, while the other half was consolidated by Fridman and his partners under the holding company Alfa-Access-Renova. The investment formed TNK-BP, which has become Russia’s largest foreign oil investment. In 2008, TNK-BP then-CEO Bob Dudley was forced to leave Russia after a strategy dispute.

Legal complications arose in 2011. AAR sued BP over a separate Arctic development deal it tried to strike with Rosneft. BP executives said that the company would sell its stake and Fridman stepped down from his role as CEO in May 2012. In October, Rosneft announced it would acquire the entire company. TNK-BP paid $38 billion in dividends through 2012. The billionaires sold their half of the venture to Russia’s state-owned oil company, Rosneft, for $27.7 billion in March 2013.

Personal life

Fridman was based for many years in Moscow, often spending time in European cities such as LondonParisAmsterdam, and Hamburg. In 2015 he moved to London, and by 2016 had purchased Athlone House for £65 million to be his primary residence. He is divorced and has four children. In 2016 Fridman announced that by virtue of his will, his entire fortune will be left to charity.

Fridman and his first wife Olga have two daughters Katya (Ekaterina) and Lora (Larisa) (Russian: Лора). Olga studied with Mikhail at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, but in the 1990s she attended design courses in Paris and became an interior designer. As of May 2014, she and the daughters live in France. Fridman has two children with his second wife Oksana Ozhelskaya (Russian: Оксана Ожельская).

Milestones

  • 1964 Mikhail Fridman is born in Lviv, Ukraine.
  • 1986 Graduates from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys.
  • 1991 Founds Alfa Bank and becomes its chairman.
  • 2001 Alfa invests in VimpelCom, Russian mobile phone operator.
  • 2003 AAR sells 50 percent in TNK to BP, forms joint venture.
  • 2013 State-owned Rosneft buys AAR’s TNK-BP stake for $27.7 billion.
  • 2013 Founds L1 Energy with billionaire partners.
  • 2015 L1 Energy acquires RWE Dea.
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