Leonid Rozhetskin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Leonid Rozhetskin
Born (1966-08-04)August 4, 1966
Leningrad, Soviet Union
Disappeared March 16, 2008 (aged 41)
Jūrmala, Latvia
Status Found
Body discovered
Latvian Forest
Nationality Russian, American
Ethnicity Russian
Citizenship U.S.
Education Harvard Law School
Alma mater Columbia University
Occupation Lawyer, financier
Years active 1990-2008
Net worth "Several hundred million dollars"[1]
Spouse(s) Natalya Belova
Children 1 son

Leonid Rozhetskin (born August 4, 1966; presumed dead) is a financier and lawyer who is missing under suspicious circumstances after disappearing from his villa in Jūrmala, Latvia, on March 16, 2008.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Rozhetskin was born in 1966 to a Jewish family in Leningrad, Soviet Union; he and his mother Elvira emigrated to the United States in 1980,[1] where he became a U.S. citizen. Rozhetskin was a "brilliant student", winning scholarships to Columbia University, where he graduated with distinction.[1] In 1990, Rozhetskin graduated cum laude[citation needed] from Harvard Law School.

Rozhetskin received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard University,[citation needed] for teaching Harvard and Radcliffe undergraduates during the 1989-90 academic year.

Legal career[edit]

Rozhetskin began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Stephen V. Wilson, a federal judge in Los Angeles, California; he then joined the law firm White & Case.[1]

At the age of 26, Rozhetskin returned to Russia, first as a lawyer at White & Case’s Moscow office, and then as the head of his own law firm,[1] representing clients such as the International Finance Corporation (a division of the World Bank), Credit Suisse, Morgan Grenfell and The Moscow Times.[citation needed]

Career in investments, mining and media[edit]

Rozhetskin, "amassed his fortune in the mobile phone industry during Russia's privatisation of telecom companies."[2] In 1995, Rozhetskin's focus shifted from the law to financial ventures. Rozhetskin was part of a group that founded Renaissance Capital, Russia’s first investment bank, in partnership with Boris Jordan, an American of Russian origin, and New Zealander Stephen Jennings.[1]

In 1998, Rozhetskin left Renaissance Capital to co-found the independent venture capital firm LV Finance. With help from Leonid Reiman, LV Finance secured 25% of MegaFon at the time Reiman was Russia’s telecommunications minister.[1] In 2003, Rozhetskin sold the MegaFon stake to Alfa.[1]

From October 2001 until January 2005, Rozhetskin served as Executive Vice Chairman of Norilsk Nickel, Russia's largest mining company and the world's largest miner of nickel and palladium metals.[citation needed] Rozhetskin is also a board member and founding shareholder of City A.M., London's first free daily business newspaper.

Rozhetskin founded a production company called L + E Productions with Eric Eisner, son of former Disney executive Michael Eisner. Through L +E Productions, Leonid is credited as a producer of Hamlet 2; he is also credited as an executive producer of the 2009 film Boogie Woogie.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Rozhetskin married model Natalya Belova, who gave birth to their son in 2005.[2] According to The Sunday Times (and other sources[2]), Rozhetskin's friends suspected he lived a closeted life, prompted by what the newspaper called Russia's "machismo and deep-seated homophobia"; the "extraordinary lengths to [he went to] conceal his homosexuality included withholding the truth on the subject from his mother, who characterized claims of her son's homosexuality as a "smear campaign."[1] Rozhetskin was last seen on the night of his disappearance by two men who were picked up at his Villa by a taxi that took them to a club called XXL, Riga's largest gay nightclub.[1]

According to Russian press, Rozhetskin is currently living in California under the Federal Witness Protection Program.[4] Many Western media sources assume he is dead.[1][2][5]

According to preliminary DNA tests, a body found in a forest near Jūrmala is that of Rozhetskin.[6]

As of June 2009, most of Rozhetskin's assets—estimated at "several hundred million dollars"—are in a trust controlled by an American lawyer in Geneva, who has full legal powers over how to manage Rozhetskin's assets until Rozhetskin is declared dead.[1]