Vladimir Potanin was born on January 3, 1961, and is a Russian business tycoon. He became wealthy, notably, through Russia’s contentious loans-for-shares programme in the early to mid-1990s.
Mikhail Prokhorov was his longtime business partner until they made the decision to separate ways in 2007. They then placed their shared assets in Folletina Trading, a holding company, until they reached an asset partition agreement. Potanin was one of 210 people who were listed on the US Treasury’s “Putin list” in January 2018 as being intimately linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Potanin Bio/Wiki
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Early life And Education
Potanin was born into a prominent communist family in Moscow, then part of the USSR. He enrolled at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) school of International Economic Relations in 1978, which prepared students for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the FTO Soyuzpromexport, a division of the Soviet Union’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, after earning his degree from MGIMO in 1983.
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Three children were born in Potanin’s first marriage to Natalia Potanina. After 31 years of marriage, they divorced. They got married in 1983. In 2014, Potanin wed Ekaterina for a second time; they are the parents of two kids.
The 89 m (292 ft) Barbara, constructed in 2016, the 88.5 m (290 ft) Nirvana, built-in 2012, and the 76 m (249 ft) Anastasia, built-in 2008 were all built for him by Oceanco. Only Potanin, a Russian, has agreed to give at least half of his money to charity by signing The Giving Pledge.
Divorce with Wife
In what would have been the highest divorce payout in history, Natalia Potanina filed a $15 billion lawsuit in 2016 accusing Norilsk Nickel and Interros International of profiting from the divorce. In July 2017, a Moscow district court dismissed her complaint on the grounds that the statute of limitations had run out.
The $7 billion claims came before it in 2015, following Potanin’s offer of a divorce settlement that included real estate in Moscow, London, and New York as well as a $250,000 monthly stipend. The assertion was rejected in 2016. According to Natalia, it is required by Russian law that the money amassed during the marriage be divided equally between the divorcing couple.
Using the expertise he had acquired at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and his prior network of contacts, Potanin left the State’s foreign trade organisations during perestroika and founded the private association Interros in 1991. Potanin was elected president of the newly established United Export-Import Bank in 1993.
Oneksimbank, which was also known as the ONEKSIMbank-MFK banking company and was related to Andrey Vavilov, is the financial twin of MFK. Potanin is a close ally of Anatoly Chubais, who introduced him to Viktor Chernomyrdin, the Russian prime minister.
Potanin played a key role in the establishment of the “loans for shares” auctions in 1995, which went on to become a crucial tenet of Russia’s post-Soviet economic restructuring. The auctions, which made it possible to sell off the assets of Russian companies for less than market value, are credited with helping to establish the oligarchy in Russia. The auctions scheme was viewed in 1999 “almost uniformly as an act of massive crime,” according to the New York Times.
He served as the Russian Federation’s First Deputy Prime Minister from August 14, 1996, until March 17, 1997. After Boris Jordan brought George Soros to Potanin in 1997, the Berezovsky-Gusinsky group lost control of the Russian communications monopoly to the Soros Group, which was backed by Potanin, Anatoly Chubais, and Alfred Koch.
Soros said his sizable investment in Svyazinvest was a mistake a year later. Potanin has served as the Interros Company’s president and chairman of the board of directors since August 1998. Potanin suggested Boris Jordan for the position of Chairman of Sidanko on November 25, 1998. Jordan held the position until February 1999, when he resigned.
Using the “loans for shares” strategy, Potanin and his longtime business associate Mikhail Prokhorov purchased Norilsk Nickel (or Nornickel) in the early 1990s, holding a combined 54 per cent of the company. As of 2018, Potanin had a 34 per cent share in the business. They made Norilsk Nickel a contemporary firm by streamlining processes.
Mikhail Prokhorov-related disagreement
In 2007, Potanin declared his intention to buy Prokhorov’s Norilsk Nickel holdings for an estimated $1 billion. Potanin cited Prokhorov’s brief incarceration by French police for soliciting prostitution as the cause for their breakup. Prokhorov proposed $15 billion in exchange for the sale of his 25% interest. The agreement was rejected by Potanin, hence it never materialised.
In order to contact Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prokhorov resorted to Valentin Yumashev, the former president’s chief of staff, according to a report released by the investigative website Meduza in 2016. According Russian reports, Putin “called Potanin in front of Prokhorov and scolded him, saying, ‘It’s dishonest to cheat on partners.'” In the end, Prokhorov chose to sell his 25% share in Norilsk to Oleg Deripaska of RUSAL.
He filed a $29 million lawsuit against Prokhorov in March 2009 over a Moscow real estate dispute. Against Potanin’s desires, Deripaska and Prokhorov came to an arrangement in 2008 for Deripaska to purchase Prokhorov’s interest in Norilsk Nickel. Prokhorov received 14% of RUSAL as payment.
This led to ownership disputes between Deripaska and Potanin, which were resolved in 2012 when Roman Abramovich acted as a mediator by acquiring 6.5 percent of Norilsk and keeping Deripaska and Potanin in a power-sharing arrangement. The parties were not allowed to sell their stakes or buy new ones during the truce. Due to his ownership of around 30% of Norilsk—nearly 2% more than Deripaska—and the terms of the purchase, Potanin became the company’s CEO.
Potanin made an offer to purchase 4% of Abramovich’s interest in February 2018. In March, Potanin and Abramovich came to a tentative acquisition deal wherein Potanin would purchase a 2% share in Norilsk. As of March 2018, the transaction has not yet received official approval. A court decision in May will determine whether the acquisition would violate the 2012 shareholder agreement. If the deal goes through, Potanin would hold 32.9% of Norilsk, compared to Deripaska’s 27.8%. Deripaska cancelled the agreement in April, claiming penalties as the cause.
The court rejected Potanin’s request to purchase the assets owned by Abramovich on June 28, 2018. Deripaska’s potential exercise of a contingent right to acquire shares was unclear at the time.
Norilsk Nickel has endured constant criticism for its environmental performance throughout Potanin’s time as CEO. The firm was identified as one of the major sources of pollution in the Russian Arctic, and Norilsk was listed as one of the world’s most polluted cities. According to a 2013 report, Norilsk Nickel’s operations “discharge about 500 tonnes of copper and nickel oxides per year and release another 2 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere annually,” accounting for a local population with a life expectancy 10 years lower than the national average in Russia.
1.2 million acres of dead forest surround Norilsk, or, depending on the source, “nature in a radius approximately the size of Germany is dead from severe air pollution,” according to claims from journalists who visited the city.
As a result, Potanin has been under increasing pressure from Putin to improve the way Norilsk Nickel operates. In 2010, Putin declared that one of the top priorities for the company’s leadership should be resolving the ecological issues in the Norilsk region. In September 2016, a suspected Norilsk Nickel slurry pipe collapse caused industrial waste to be spilt into the adjacent Daldykan river, causing it to become red.
Following that, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources fined Norilsk Nickel an unknown sum (Rosprirodnadzor). Potanin committed to using the modernisation of capacity to address environmental issues by 2023 during a meeting with Putin in January 2017. Potanin gave Putin an update on Norilsk Nickel’s progress and performance and pledged to spend $17 billion over the course of seven years on initiatives to update the company’s infrastructure and cut back on pollution caused by its activities.
Potanin stated that as part of its long-term development plan until 2023, the firm intended to lower its emissions by 75%. According to business data, emissions in the Norilsk region decreased by 30 to 35 per cent alone in 2017. However, it’s rumoured that a $2 billion environmental cleanup effort is still unfinished. The second-largest oil leak in contemporary Russian history happened in May 2020 at a power plant controlled by Norilsk Nickel, filling waterways with up to 21,000 cubic metres of diesel oil.
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Vladimir Potanin Various investments
Potanin also has stock in the pharmaceutical firm Petrovax Pharm.
Resort at Rosa Khutor
After skiing with Putin in Austria in 2003, Vladimir Potanin was motivated to build the Rosa Khutor ski resort in the Mzymta valley close to Sochi. After Sochi was chosen in 2007 to host the Olympic Winter Games for 2014, he invested more than $2 billion in developing the resort.
He is accused of pressuring Putin to accept the development in order to establish a “Russian Courchevel,” despite objections from environmental organisations who argued it would worsen the region’s problems.
Following Potanin’s complaint regarding an estimated $530 million cost overrun during the building of hotels and chalets in Sochi and the Rosa Khutor ski resort (as required by the International Olympic Committee), Vladimir Potanin sought reimbursement from the Russian government for the additional expenses incurred.
Although Potanin had stated that construction would need “minimal excavation and zero-logging,” it was later revealed that the Rosa Khutor resort had caused the destruction of a sizable area of woodland. Environmental protection organisations like Environmental Watch in North Caucasus harshly denounced this.
In the Mzymta valley, Potanin launched a leopard breeding programme between 2005 and 2010 with the help of a $500,000 investment. He requested permission from President Putin in 2015 to expand the ski resort by doubling its size, endangering the leopard programme he had helped to create.
After the sanctions against Iran over its missile programme were lifted in 2016, Potanin became the first significant Russian investor to purchase assets there. He purchased shares of the Swedish Pomegranate (company), a stakeholder in several Iranian internet businesses, including Digikala, the largest online store in the nation, through his investment fund New Winter Capital Partners (NWCP). An estimated $300 million was invested in Digikala.
Vladimir Potanin belongs to the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), a lobbying organisation that in October 2018 addressed Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a proposal for substitute cryptocurrency laws.
In a lawsuit filed in May 2015 by the state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB) to recover losses from the liquidation of Roskhlebprodukt, which he indirectly had an interest in, Potanin was added as a co-defendant. VEB requested a total of 68 million dollars in compensation from Vladimir Potanin and others.
Due to international sanctions during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, French banking Societe Generale had left Rosbank assets stranded and was looking for a swift departure from Russia in April 2022. The troubled assets were purchased by Interros.
Between 2006 and 2014, the French banker paid Interros an estimated $4.3 billion to acquire virtually all of the shares in the Russian bank and its subsidiaries. This deal resulted in a $3.3 billion balance sheet write-off for French banking.
Following Oleg Tinkov’s ill-advised tirade against the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the latter announced in April 2022 that he would retire and sell his interests in Tinkoff Bank to Potanin-controlled Interros.
Vladimir Potanin Awards
He became the leader of the National Council on Corporate Governance (NSKU) in March 2003. The NSKU’s major objectives are to strengthen Russian legal requirements and create professional and moral standards of corporate governance in Russian businesses. The objective is to improve the standing and investment allure of Russian firms.
Vladimir Potanin was chosen as the State Hermitage’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees in April 2003, making it the most prestigious museum of Russian art. Up until 2014, he was a member of the Russian Civic Chamber.
Along with another 40 benefactors, including Vladimir Semenikhin, the Tsukanov Family Foundation, and others, Potanin’s philanthropic organisation, the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, gave pieces of art to be shown at the Centre Pompidou’s exhibition of Russian and Soviet art in 2016. Later that year, Vladimir Potanin received the French Legion of Honor award for his contributions.
Potanin served on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s board of trustees in New York. He resigned as a trustee in March 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, as a result of anger at Putin-connected Russian billionaires. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Trudeau administration put Potanin to its list of sanctioned countries on April 6, 2022.
Vladimir Potanin Family
Potanin’s first marriage produced three children. Anastasia, his oldest child, used to be the Russian aquabike champion and now runs a gallery in Moscow. In the South of France, she wed a ballroom dancing instructor in 2018.
According to reports, Potanin spent $10 million on her wedding, which was held at a five-star resort on the French Riviera. Private plane trips and hotel accommodations at Antibes’s five-star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc were organised and paid for by the millionaire.
In contrast to giving his five children the most of his money, Vladimir Potanin declared in 2010 that he would give it to charity. He claimed that one of his goals was to “avoid the strain of billions” on his children. They were divorced after 31 years of marriage. They were wed in 1983. Potanin remarried Ekaterina in 2014; the couple has two children together.
Vladimir Potanin Net worth
His current net worth as of 2022, is $26 Billion. The majority of Potanin’s fortune comes from his ownership of the publicly traded miner Norilsk Nickel. According to the corporate website, Potanin controls his shares through Interros Limited, which, as of December 31, 2021, held 36% of Norilsk Nickel’s equity. According to a 2020 forecast from the firm, Norilsk Nickel is the largest producer of high-grade nickel in the world.
According to a review of corporate documents and information gathered by Bloomberg, Vladimir Potanin has received more than $4 billion in dividend payments from Norilsk Nickel. Additionally, he gained almost $2 billion by selling shares in business repurchase programmes in 2008 and 2011, as well as another $2 billion from commencing in 2006, selling his holding in Rosbank to Societe Generale. According to information gathered by Bloomberg, he gave billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov around $3.8 billion between 2008 and 2011 to end their business cooperation.
The billionaire also owns Rosbank and the tightly held Russian pharmaceutical firm NPO Petrovax Pharm. He bought a share in TCS Group Holding, the publicly traded business that operates Tinkoff Bank, from the family of fellow billionaire Oleg Tinkov in April 2022. One of the largest private investors in the 2014 Sochi Olympics construction projects, including the Rosa Khutor ski resort, was Vladimir Potanin, according to RBC Daily. The research excludes Potanin’s investments in the software business Reksoft and the processing firm United Card Services since the costs are unknown.
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