Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Crisis hits Russia's super-rich

Mikhail Prokhorov
Mr Prokhorov is seen by many as Russia's most eligible bachelor

The number of Russian billionaires was cut to 49 from 101 in 2008 by the global downturn, according to Russian business magazine Finans.

Mikhail Prokhorov, 43-year old technology and mining tycoon, tops the rich list with $14.1bn (9.9bn).

He sold most of his assets last year just before the financial crisis.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is second with $13.9bn, while last year's richest Russian, Oleg Deripaska, fell to eighth place with $4.9bn.

The financial crisis has cut the combined fortune of the 10 richest Russians by 66% to $75.9bn, the magazine says.

Russia, among many other emerging economies, has been hit hard by the global financial and economic crisis after a decade of soaring economic growth.

The government estimates that growth fell to 5.6% in 2008 from 8.1% a year earlier. In January, Russia's deputy prime minister said economic growth would be close to zero in 2009.

Well-timed deal

Mikhail Prokhorov - $14.1bn
Roman Abramovich - $13.9bn
Vladimir Lisin - $7.7bn
Vagit Alekperov - $7.6bn
Suleiman Kerimov - $7.5bn
Mikhail Fridman - $6.1bn
Vladimir Potanin - $5bn
Oleg Deripaska - $4.9bn
Dmitry Rybolovlev - $4.6bn
Alisher Usmanov (Arsenal FC shareholder) - $4.5bn
Source: Finans weekly magazine

A year ago, Mr Deripaska's fortune was estimated by Finans to be $40bn, though he himself has long-argued that the estimates of his fortune did not count his debt.

"For the last months the businessman has been solely pre-occupied with intense and so far unsuccessful attempts to agree a restructuring of billion dollar debts," the magazine said.

It said that it had estimated Mr Deripaska's wealth as at the end of 2008. However, the magazine added that his financial position had deteriorated since the start of 2009.

In April 2008, Mr Prokhorov sold his 25% share of the world's leading palladium and nickel producer Norilsk Nikel to Mr Deripaska.

"Thanks to his successful exit from Norilsk Nikel just before the economic collapse, Prokhorov has earned himself the reputation of a guru," Finans said.

Mr Prokhorov is seen by many as Russia's most eligible bachelor.

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