Russian billionaire and oligarch Alisher Usmanov (born 9 September 1953) is of Uzbek descent. Usmanov acquired his riches from mining and metal businesses as well as investments following the fall of the Soviet Union. He holds a controlling stake in the Russian industrial giant Metalloinvest, which merged its assets with those of Gazmetall JSC in 2006 to form JSC Metalloinvest, which includes Mikhailovsky GOK and Ural Steel (Lebedinsky GOK and the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant).
He is the publisher of Kommersant. Additionally, he owns a stake in Udokan Copper, which is developing one of the biggest copper reserves in the world, as well as MegaFon, the second-largest mobile phone provider in Russia. Usmanov later joined forces with Yuri Milner and became to be the company’s top investor (“DST”). Digital Sky Technologies (DST) changed its name to “Mail.ru Group” on September 16, 2010. Additionally, he has stock in several global technological firms.
From 2008 until 2022, he served as the president of the Fédération Internationale d’Escrime, the organisation that oversees fencing internationally. In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the European Union placed Usmanov on a blacklist on February 28, 2022, and froze all of his assets.
Alisher Usmanov Bio/Wiki
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Early life and Education
Chust, a regional town in Uzbekistan, is where Usmanov was born. His father worked as a state prosecutor, therefore he spent his formative years in the nation’s capital, Tashkent. He eventually relocated to Moscow with the intention of pursuing a career as a diplomat. He was first rejected, but a year later he succeeded and was admitted to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, where he earned a degree in international law and graduated in 1976.
Usmanov subsequently left for Tashkent, where he was given the position of director of the Soviet Peace Committee’s Foreign Economic Association. In August 1980, Usmanov was detained and later found guilty in the Uzbek SSR of fraud, corruption, and theft of public property—charges that included extorting an Army commander.
He served the first six years of an eight-year sentence in a seclusion Uzbek jail. In July 2000, nine years after the Soviet Union had fallen apart, the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan overturned his sentence after three decades, declaring that “the initial judgement was wrong, no crime was ever committed, and that the evidence was contrived.”
Craig Murray, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, has contested his account of events. Years later, Usmanov’s public relations company attempted to remove from Wikipedia any mention of his conviction and incarceration. In 1992, Muslim rhythmic gymnastics instructor Usmanov wed Jewish Irina Viner. As the person who introduced Putin to former rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, Viner is regarded as a close friend of Putin.
Alisher Usmanov Personal life
Usmanov doesn’t have any biological kids. Along with his wife Irina Viner, he has a stepson. The stepson is an investor in real estate who is now working on 30 different projects. Usmanov purchased the Grade I listed Tudor palace Sutton Place for £10 million in 2004. It is situated on 120 hectares (300 acres) of land in Surrey.
Businessman Boris Berezovsky said in 2012 that Usmanov received Sutton Place as part of a business arrangement; Usmanov refuted the assertion. Usmanov paid £48 million to the Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2008 for Beechwood House, a Grade II listed Regency home set on 4.5 hectares (11 acres) of gardens in the London borough of Highgate. Usmanov also has a home on the Sardinian island of Sardinia and a 12-hectare (30-acre) property in Moscow.
Alisher Usmanov Controversies
Suppression Of Internet Criticism In Controversy
The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, made reference to Usmanov’s criminal conviction on September 2, 2007, saying that Usmanov “was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail” and that Usmanov’s pardon was the result of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov acting on the orders of Uzbekistani power broker and suspected drug trafficker Gafur Rakhi Some media outlets were forced to retract their publications after receiving libel threats from Usmanov’s attorney’s Schillings.
Murray continues to make the accusation. The article was then taken down by Murray’s web server, purportedly at the request of Usmanov’s attorneys at the London law firm Schillings. Schillings then got in touch with independent blogs and websites, asking them to take down any mentions of Murray’s accusations and any copies of the blog post.
According to UK Indymedia, they were one of the websites that received a take-down notice on September 10 and again on September 21. For republishing Murray’s essay, Tim Ireland’s site, Bloggerheads.com, was shut down on September 20, 2007, which also resulted in the loss of blogs from Boris Johnson, an MP, and Bob Piper, a councilman, neither of whom had republished the piece themselves.
The weekly Kommersant Vlast magazine published an unfavourable article on Vladimir Putin on December 12, 2011, in response to protests in Russia about vote-rigging in the country’s parliamentary elections. The article was titled “Victory of United ballot-stuffers,” a play on Putin’s United Russia party. Maxim Kovalsky, the editor, and Andrei Galiyev, the CEO of the publisher’s holding business, were fired by Usmanov for “ethical breaches” that “bordered on petty hooliganism,” he said.
The subject of the debate was a picture of a ballot from a parliamentary vote that had “Putin, go fuck yourself” written over it in red ink. A correctly completed ballot was recognised as invalid, according to the caption. The publisher of Kommersant, Demyan Kudryavtsev, took responsibility for the situation by quitting and writing in a blog post that the magazine issue had “violated internal policies, professional journalistic norms, and Russian legislation.”
Russian Union of Journalists general secretary Nadezhda Azhgihina was horrified by the episode and called it “a clear case of censorship from the owner.” 60 journalists from the Kommersant daily wrote an open letter to Usmanov on December 14 in which they complained that they were being forced to be cowards, which was worthless and counterproductive. We see [Kovalsky’s] dismissal as an intimidation tactic intended to silence any criticism of Vladimir Putin.
We find it particularly offensive when attempts are made to portray the firing of a guy from his job as a battle for the linguistic sanctity of the Russian language. This is the same sort of false information that enraged voters during the election.
Usmanov reacted by stating that “Kommersant Vlast is a reputable, independent, socio-political daily” but that “emotionally, I could understand the journalists speaking up for terminated top managers.” On the same day that he declared his bid for president in 2012, Mikhail Prokhorov made an offer to acquire Kommersant, but Usmanov turned it down.
On November 12, 2012, the British newspaper The Times revealed that Usmanov had paid the London-based public relations company RLM Finsbury to modify Usmanov’s English Wikipedia entry to delete references to his criminal convictions and subsequent controversy.
The CEO of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations stressed that “public relations practitioners should not actively modify Wikipedia for a client or business” after the finding sparked a substantial outcry among PR experts in the UK. The PR agency admitted to their wrongdoing and said that their client had not given them permission to do so.
According to reports, the data was deleted in anticipation of MegaFon, which Usmanov controls, being listed on the stock market.
Allegations Of Corruption
Senators from the United States Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, Lindsey Graham, and Cory Gardner urged the previous administration of Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Usmanov for what they claim to be his corruption and bribery of Russian authorities.
Sanctions On Him
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the European Union placed Usmanov on a blacklist on February 28, 2022, and froze all of his assets. Similar restrictions were imposed on him by the United States on March 3 with a few exclusions for his enterprises.
Usmanov was identified as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly strong relations to Russian President Vladimir Putin [who is] one of Vladimir Putin’s favourite oligarchs” in the Official Journal of the European Union, the official journal of the EU. A task team to locate oligarch funds in Germany was established by the German federal government in March 2022.
Several ministries and agencies are participating, including the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Ministry of Economics and Finance, the Financial Supervisory Agency BaFin, customs, and the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). The task force’s authorities have been searching for Usmanov’s assets and property that may be frozen and secured.
There are rumours that the oligarch owns a number of properties on the Bavarian Tegernsee. According to sources, the German Federal Criminal Police Office has uncovered 90 suspected money laundering complaints and 36 offshore corporations in relation to Usmanov alone. The superyacht “Dilbar” was officially owned by Usmanov’s sister, Ismailova.
In Hamburg, the ship was taken into custody. On the list of EU sanctions comes another sister of the magnate. Saodat Narzieva, a gynaecologist, is said to have been the beneficial owner of up to 27 accounts at the influential Swiss bank Credit Suisse, according to information from “Suisse Secrets.”
The Oligarch Who Backs Putin
Usmanov was identified as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly strong relations to Russian President Vladimir Putin” in the Official Journal of the European Union, which serves as the official journal of the EU.
Added was: “It has been said that [Usmanov] is one of Vladimir Putin’s preferred oligarchs. He is regarded as one of the businessmen-officials in Russia who were given the responsibility of managing money flows, although their positions are subject to the President’s whim.”
Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, Usmanov amassed a million-dollar fortune. He established the privately held, for-profit cooperative Agroplast to manufacture plastic bags. After the fall of the USSR, he significantly increased his wealth. From 1990 to 1994, Usmanov served as Intercross JSC’s deputy general director.
From 1994 to 1998, he served as the company’s president. In addition, from 1994 to 1995, he worked as the General Director of the Moscow Aviation Industrial Enterprise’s advisor. From 1995 to 1997, he was the First Deputy Chairman of MAPO-Bank.
Usmanov oversaw Gazprom Invest Holdings, the investment-holding unit of Russia’s state-owned gas corporation Gazprom, for more than ten years beginning at the end of the 1990s. Usmanov departed the business in 2014.
USM Holdings And Metalloinvest
Usmanov owns a 49 per cent economic stake and all of the voting rights in this multinational conglomerate, with its primary assets in the media, telecommunications, technology, and metals and mining industries. Usmanov holds a variety of interests through USM and as a private investor, including shares in iron ore and steel, media, and internet enterprises.
He is a co-owner of Metalloinvest, which he and his business partner Vasiliy Anisimov established to handle their metal sector acquisitions. Usmanov expanded Metalloinvest through a series of purchases, unlike the Russian tycoons who took control of empires through loans-for-shares privatisation scams in the 1990s.
Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK, the steel mills Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant and Ural Steel, the Ural Scrap Company, and many other Russian mining and metals companies are owned by Metalloinvest. Through Gallagher Holdings, now USM Holdings, he has bought shares in the Australian mining firms Medusa, Mt Gibson, and Aztec Resources since 2006. 2009 saw the sale of Metalloinvest Holding’s 10.37 per cent ownership in Medusa Mining, an Australian gold miner.
Usmanov is the second-largest stakeholder in Toronto-listed (TSX) Nautilus Minerals (NUSMF), after Dr Mohammed Al Bawani (MB Holding), which is expected to harvest seabed gold and copper resources off Papua New Guinea in 2019. Additionally, he has acquired a stake in Australian mining company Strike Resources, which is developing an iron ore discovery in Peru, through Gallagher Holdings.
USM made a $100 million investment in Virtus Pro, an esports squad that plays competitive video games, in November 2015. In response to a rising push to clean up the sector, USM and Metalloinvest announced plans to build one of the largest HBI eco-plants in the world in Russia’s Kursk area in 2021.
Usmanov purchased the Udokan licence in 2008 after it was revealed to be one of the greatest copper deposits in the world during the Soviet era. According to geologists, there are 26.7 million tonnes of copper ore classified as JORC.
Strip mining was started at the Udokan mine in 2020 by Baikal Mining Company (now known as Udokan Copper), which had been abandoned since 1949 owing to the location’s isolation and severe weather.
Construction of the initial stage of a mining and metallurgical facility for the manufacture of cathode copper and copper concentrate, as well as the production of up to 125,000 types of copper in addition to 12 million tonnes of ore, is part of the development of Udokan.
Group Mail.Ru (Rebranded To VK)
Usmanov met Yuri Milner in 2008, and shortly after, he started investing in DST and VK (Mail.ru Group). Prior to selling a $530 million share in 2013 and decreasing his stakes to 17.9 and 58.1 per cent, Usmanov held a 25.3 per cent ownership in VK and a 60.6 per cent voting interest.
Pavel Durov’s shares in Vk.ru were purchased by Usmanov through VK in 2013 in order to enable Durov to maintain control over the Telegram app when UCP made a claim on Telegram. Usmanov’s ownership shares were sold to the Russian insurance firm Sogaz on December 2, 2021. Usmanov said that VK’s involvement had a significant influence on how USM developed.
As of March 2022, Megafon Usmanov has a controlling stake in MegaFon, the second-largest mobile phone provider in Russia.
Investments In Portfolio
At a meeting arranged by Goldman Sachs in 2009, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and CEO of Facebook, addressed Russian investors. Usmanov invested $200 million for a 1.96 per cent share in Facebook in 2009 through Mail.ru, valuing the company at $10 billion. He agreed to Zuckerberg’s demands and transferred to him the voting rights on those shares.
In 2012, Facebook became public, and its valuation increased significantly. When Usmanov sold his stock, he received a profit of almost $1 billion. The DST invested $800 million in Twitter in 2011. Usmanov made noteworthy investments through Mail.Ru Group in other global digital firms including Groupon, Zynga, Airbnb, ZocDoc, Alibaba, and 360buy.
He reportedly put $100 million into Apple in 2013. He later sold his interests at the beginning of 2014. Usmanov said that the Alibaba investment had increased by 500% by the end of 2014. Usmanov hinted that he had sold his interest in Facebook when he remarked, “I adore Facebook, but I said ‘arrivederci’ Facebook.”
He also mentioned that he had invested in “Chinese low-cost smartphone maker Xiaomi,” calling it a “future technological behemoth,” and that he was seeking to make investments in India, namely in the online trading industry. It was announced in September 2018 that Mail.ru and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will form a $2 billion joint venture.
The partnership, which was supported by the Kremlin through the Russian Direct Investment Fund, would combine the online marketplaces of both businesses in the Russian market.
Kommersant And Media Companies
Usmanov started making media investments in August of 2006. For $200 million, he acquired Kommersant, a publication that had formerly belonged to Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky. Usmanov also paid $25 million for a 50% share in the Russian sports TV station 7TV in November 2006, and $300 million for a 75% stake in the Russian music TV channel Muz-TV in June 2007.
Usmanov was a co-owner of UTH, a media holding firm that owns 100% of Muz TV and U television networks in addition to Disney Russia, which is owned by UTH. In 2017, he transferred his TV holdings to his business partner Ivan Tavrin.
Involvement And Investments In Sports
From 2007 until 2018, FC Usmanov had stock in the English football team Arsenal. In August 2007, he entered the football industry by purchasing a 14.58 per cent ownership in Arsenal. For £75 million, he and his business partner Farhad Moshiri acquired the club’s interest held by former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein.
Dein was named head of Red and White Holdings, their investment company, which grew to be the club’s largest stakeholder outside of the board of directors. Red and White Holdings upped their investment to 23 per cent on September 28, 2007, moving ahead of Arsenal non-executive director Danny Fiszman to become the club’s second-largest shareholder. He raised it to over 24 per cent on February 15 of that year, falling just shy of Fiszman’s 24.11 per cent.
On February 16 of 2009, he upped it to 25%. The club’s largest stakeholder, Red and White Holdings, acknowledged this fact and stated that it “has the required funds to raise its position further [but] it has no present plan to make a complete takeover offer for Arsenal for six months.” Red and White Holdings would have to start a formal takeover if the stake reached 30%.
Usmanov’s interest led to the Gunners’ board passing a “lock-down” agreement, wherein chairman Peter Hill-Wood declared that club directors could only sell their stakes to “permitted persons” before April 2009 and that they had to give fellow board members “first option” on shares until October 2012. Keith Edelman, the managing director of Arsenal at the time, said that “the lockdown… makes us bulletproof.”
In April 2011, American entrepreneur Stan Kroenke, who had already owned a sizeable portion of Arsenal, extended his ownership to slightly over 62 per cent by purchasing out Fiszman and Lady Bracewell-Smith to become the club’s dominant stakeholder. Kroenke was required to submit a bid to purchase the remaining shares of Arsenal since his position had increased beyond 30%. Usmanov, however, resisted the urge to sell and remained a shareholder.
In June 2011, Usmanov boosted his Arsenal ownership past the 29 per cent mark. In February 2012, he then bought stakes held by the Scottish football team Rangers. In October 2013, he controlled more than 30% of the club. In an open letter to the board on July 5, 2012, Usmanov blasted Arsenal’s lack of ambition and financial strategy.
He said that he had no plans to sell his stock. However, Usmanov agreed to a £550 million offer for his shares in Arsenal on August 7th, 2018. In 2018, he transferred his shareholding to Kroenke.
Usmanov’s holding company, USM, and Everton F.C. signed a five-year, $15 million+ agreement in January 2017 for the name rights of the team’s training facility, Finch Farm. Farhad Moshiri, a current Everton majority stakeholder and a previous co-owner of Usmanov’s Arsenal shares, Red and White Holdings, serves as Usmanov’s accountant and business partner.
2019 saw Megafon take on the roles of official matchday presenting partner and sleeve sponsor for Everton’s men’s training apparel. MegaFon strengthened its commercial partnership with Everton in 2020 to become the team’s primary sponsor. Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, Everton cut off its sponsorship links with USM and MegaFon.
Federation Internationale de Fencing (FIE)
Usmanov, a former sabre fencer for the former Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, promoted the growth of fencing through his 2004-founded charitable organisation, “For the Future of Fencing.” From 2001 until 2009, he served as the Russian Fencing Federation’s president. From 2005 to 2009, he also served as president of the European Fencing Confederation.
With 66 votes to René Roch’s 61, he was elected president of the International Fencing Federation in 2008. In 2012 and 2016, he was re-elected. He won reelection to a fourth term in 2021 by a landslide, for which Vladimir Putin expressed his congratulations. Usmanov expanded the Olympic fencing programme to 12 disciplines while holding that role, among other achievements.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the European Union placed Usmanov on a blacklist on February 28, 2022, and froze all of his assets. He has been described as one of Vladimir Putin’s favourite oligarchs, according to the EU. His resignation as FIE President was announced in an accusing letter on March 1, 2022, following the enforcement of the sanctions against him.
A football team in the Russian capital named Dinamo Moscow signed Metalloinvest as a sponsor in February 2008. As part of the $7 million agreement, the name of his Metalloinvest firm was substituted for Xerox Corporation on the team’s players’ jerseys. Usmanov served on the organising councils for both the XI Paralympic Winter Games and the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.
Additionally, he serves as a trustee on the board of the Russian Olympian Sportsmen Support Fund. It was revealed in 2015 that USM had committed the equivalent of $100 million in the Eastern European Virtus. pro eSports squad.
After giving more than £4.2 billion to charity both individually and via his enterprises during the course of the Sunday Times Giving List’s 20-year existence, Usmanov was crowned the most giving philanthropist on its Rich List by The Sunday Times in 2021. Usmanov was selected Philanthropist of the Year by Russian Forbes in 2012.
Usmanov established the “Art, Science, and Sport” Charity Fund in 2006. The Fund and London’s Tate Britain work closely together. Together, they completed a number of projects in Russia, including the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition in 2013 and the Turner exhibition in 2009.
Usmanov serves as a Trustee for a number of social, educational, and artistic institutions, including the Russian Geographical Society, the European University of St. Petersburg, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and the National Research University Higher School of Economics. He contributed €1.5 million in 2015 to the Ulpia Basilica in Rome’s repair.
Usmanov was discovered to have paid $8.8 million for the original 1892 Olympic Manifesto, it was disclosed in February 2020. Following that, he gave it to the Olympic Museum. The manifesto is now the most valuable item of sports memorabilia in the world. Usmanov was the highest contributor to the battle against COVID-19 among The Sunday Times Rich List members for two years in a row, in 2020 and 2021, with donations totalling £134.2 m from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Italy.
Usmanov stated in an interview with the Financial Times in 2020 that his family and USM management will receive his estate: “Many individuals have supported me. I wish to give my shares to my family and management in order to support them. I believe that the family and management both deserve 50% of the credit “.
Days before it was scheduled to be put up for sale by Sotheby’s in London, Usmanov paid more than £20 million for the late Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich’s art collection on September 17, 2007. All of the artwork was donated to the Russian government, which now keeps it in storage in the Konstantinovsky Palace outside of St. Petersburg.
Later the same month, he acquired the rights to a sizable collection of Soviet cartoons that had been owned for fifteen years by actor Oleg Vidov, a Russian-born American who had immigrated to the US in 1985. Following the $5–$10 million transaction, Usmanov gave the library of cartoons to a recently launched Russian children’s television network.
Usmanov received the Russian Medal of Honor, by presidential order No. 365 of March 17, 2004. Usmanov earned the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Order of Friendship in 2011. He received the Order for Service to the Fatherland IV class in 2013 in honour of his state service as well as his civic and charity endeavours. He received a medal from the Russian Foreign Ministry that year “For service to international cooperation.”
Usmanov was awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky in 2014 for his civic and philanthropic work. He was awarded The Decoration “For Beneficence” in 2016 for his involvement in social and philanthropic causes in Russia. Usmanov was awarded the Al-Fahr Order in the same year for his significant role in the resurgence of Islam in Russia.
Usmanov was awarded the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland,” third class, in 2018. Usmanov purchased Dr James Watson’s Nobel Prize Medal in Physiology or Medicine on December 4 for $4.8 million at Christie’s in New York City. Watson sold his award in an effort to earn funds for funding scientific research.
Watson collected $4.1m after auction fees. After that, Usmanov gave the medal back to Watson, saying, “In my view, it is inappropriate for an excellent scientist to sell a medal honouring his accomplishments. My father died from cancer, a disease whose study was aided by Watson’s work. For me, it is crucial that the funds I used to purchase this medal support scientific research and that the recipient retains ownership of it.
Alisher Usmanov Family
Usmanov doesn’t have any biological kids. Along with his wife Irina Viner, he has a stepson. The stepson is an investor in real estate and is now working on 30 different projects.
Alisher Usmanov Net Worth
His current net worth is $19.5 Billion as of 2022. According to the information given by his press agents and local media outlets, the majority of Usmanov’s wealth is listed as “Cash & Other Assets.”
According to estimations by Bloomberg, Usmanov made almost $7 billion via share transactions involving Farhad Moshiri and Vladimir Skoch, the father of his business partner Andrey Skoch, in 2012 and 2014. According to information found on the company’s website in November 2021, Usmanov holds 49% of Metalloinvest. According to its website, Metalloinvest is the biggest producer of iron ore in Russia.
Additionally, he is credited as owning a 39 per cent share in the mobile phone business Megafon. Usmanov owns the shares through his 49 per cent ownership in USM, an investment firm with headquarters in Russia. According to the Megafon website, USM, directly and indirectly, manages every aspect of Megafon. Because 20% of Megafon is being transferred to Usmanov’s business colleagues Ivan Streshinsky and Anton Cherepennikov, according to a report from the Interfax news agency on April 30, 2020, USM is given credit for owning 80% of the firm in this study.
Because the stakes are unknown, USM investments in the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, the taxi booking service Didi Kuaidi, the Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, and the taxi booking service Ola Cabs are not included in the research. In 2022, the European Union imposed sanctions on Usmanov as a result of the worsening war in Ukraine. [table id=3853 /]
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