|Rinat Leonidovych Akhmetov
Рінат Леонідович Ахметов
21 September 1966 |
Donetsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Net worth||US$15.4 billion (March 2013)|
|Spouse(s)||Liliya Nikolayevna Smirnova|
Rinat Leonidovych Akhmetov (Ukrainian: Ріна́т Леоні́дович Ахме́тов [riˈnɑt lɛ̝oˈnidowɪt͡ʃ ɑxˈmɛtow], Russian: Рина́т Леони́дович Ахме́тов [rʲɪˈnat lʲɪɐˈnʲidəvʲɪt͡ɕ ɐxˈmʲetəf], Tatar: Ренат Леонид улы Әхмәтов; born on 21 September 1966) is a Ukrainian businessman and oligarch. He is the founder and President of System Capital Management (SCM), and is ranked among the wealthiest men in the nation. As of March 2013[update], he was listed as the 47th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of US 15.4 billion. There have been claims Akhmetov has been involved in organized crime. Akhmetov is also the owner and President of the Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk. In 2006–2007 and 2007–2012 Akhmetov was a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) for the Party of Regions.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Business career
- 3 Political activity
- 4 Sports and patronage
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Cultural and political image
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Rinat Akhmetov was born in Donetsk, Ukrainian SSR to a Tatar working-class family. His father, Leonid Akhmetov (d. 1991) was a coal-miner, and his mother, Nyakiya Akhmetova, was a shop assistant. Rinat Akhmetov has an older brother, Igor, who as well worked as a coal miner but had to resign due work related health complications.
Details regarding Akhmetov's past, how he obtained his wealth after the fall of communism in Ukraine, and the decade between 1985 and 1995 remain controversial. Akhmetov is said to have ties to organized crime. Akhmetov has stated in interviews that he obtained his wealth by making risky business investments in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and responded to allegations in 2010, denying he has ever inherited any money from Akhat Bragin or anyone else: "I have earned my first million by trading coal and coke, and spent the money on assets that no one wanted to buy. It was a risk but it was worth it". Many publications in Ukraine and other European countries have made claims about Akhmetov's alleged "criminal past", some of which later retracted their statements.
In his popular documentary book Donetsk Mafia: Anthology, Ukrainian author Serhiy Kuzin claims Akhmetov held the role of a 'mafia thug' in his early years; according to Hans van Zon, Professor of Central and Eastern European Studies in the University of Sunderland, "As early as 1986, Rinat and his brother Igor were involved in criminal activities."
In the 1980s, Akhmetov acted as an assistant to Akhat Bragin, whom law enforcement agencies regarded as a powerful crime boss; allegedly in the illegal cloth trading business. Andrew Wilson, a scholar specializing in Ukrainian politics, categorized Akhmetov as a former 'enforcer' and 'leader' of "[Akhat] Bragin's 'Tatar' clan", responsible for the use of "mafia methods to push aside the 'red directors' of the [Industrial Union of the Donbass] (IUD)". By the early 1990s, Akhmetov began acquiring property in Donetsk allegedly by means of extortion with the assistance of Volodymyr Malyshev, Lieutenant-General of The Head of Ministry of Internal Affairs Department in Donetsk Oblast. Malyshev, now a member of Ukraine's Parliament on the committee controlling law enforcement, is accused by Kuzin of using his position to do away with previously existing police records concerning Akhmetov shortly before becoming chief of security for Akhmetov's company. "In [the 1990's], Akhmetov was very different – he was totally private with no public persona, and was trying to find ways to deal with his 'difficult past'", noted U.S. ambassador William Taylor, citing prominent Ukrainian businessman Serhiy Taruta.
In October 1995, Bragin, his former mentor and president of Shakhtar Donetsk football club, was killed in a mysterious bombing along with six of his bodyguards at the team's stadium during a match. Bragin and his associates had an ongoing conflict with mob groups and rival businessmen, and had survived several attempts on his life. Bragin, who was alleged to have a leadership role in the Ukrainian mafia, was succeeded by Akhmetov as team president following his death. Some associate Akhmetov with the death of Bragin. Following the assassinations, Akhmetov is said to have "inherited a vast financial empire from Bragin".
In September 1999, an official Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs report titled the "Overview of the Most Dangerous Organized Crime Structures in Ukraine" identified Akhmetov as a leader of an organized crime syndicate. The report tied the group to money laundering, financial fraud, and the control of numerous large and fictitious companies. The report also says that the group's activities "have been stopped," and says further that their criminal natures "have not been confirmed".
Released in a Wikileaks diplomatic cable, Volodymyr Horbulin, one of Ukraine's most respected policy strategists and former presidential advisor, told the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006 that the Party of Regions, which "enjoyed deep pockets, being largely financed by billionaire Donetsk boss Rinat Akhmetov" is partly composed of "pure criminals" and "criminal and anti-democracy figures". In a U.S. diplomatic cable dated 3 February 2006, then U.S. Ambassador John Herbst referred to Akhmetov's Party of Regions as "long a haven for Donetsk-based mobsters and oligarchs" and called Akhmetov the "godfather" of the Donetsk clan.
After Ukraine's Orange Revolution of late 2004, in an attempt to fight corruption, several prominent businessmen who were also Party of Regions members came under criminal investigation; In 2011, Hennadiy Moskal, who in 2005 acted as Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, gave an interview to Ukrainian magazine "Profyl", where he claimed to have been under Presidential orders in 2005 in investigate & audit Akhmetov for his alleged role in organized crime. Concrete evidence was never officially revealed against him, nor his company. According to Moskal, the MVS investigated all incidents related to missing people in 1990s in Donetsk region, who had any property left, and its current owners, but no connections with Rinat Akhmetov and his entourage were found. Looking back, Moskal concluded that "we had nothing on Akhmetov in 2005". According to political journal's Post-Soviet Affairs, and The Nation, Akhmetov was investigated on murder charges and for his alleged role in organized crime in the Donetsk region. To avoid prosecution he was prompted to flee the country to Monaco. In June 2005, Serhiy Kornich, then head of the Interior Ministry's economic crimes department, stated publicly that Akhmetov was "the head of [an] organized crime group." That year, Borys Kolesnikov, a friend and associate who had been tied to Akhmetov in links to organized crime since the 1980s, was arrested on charges of extortion and conspiracy to assassinate a rival Donetsk businessman. Charges against Akhmetov and Kolesnikov were dropped in 2006 amid a significant rise in political power by the former, and the cooperation of the Yuschenko government, ending Akhmetov's exile.
Akhmetov founded System Capital Management Group (JSC "SCM") in 2000, and has been its sole proprietor since 2009. During his career SCM has grown to be one of Ukraine's leading financial and industrial firms with assets including over 100 businesses in metals and mining, power generation, banking and insurance, telecommunications, media and real estate; and revenues of around $12.8 billion and has assets worth over $22.7 billion. The largest company in the SCM Group is METINVEST, which is a mining and steel business and is generally agreed to be Ukraine's largest private business and is one of the larger steel businesses in Europe.
In June 2004, Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk (the son-in-law of then-President Leonid Kuchma) acquired the steel factory Kryvorizhstal for roughly $800 million from the state in a 2004 tender despite much higher bids made by foreign companies. Later, in 2005, the first Tymoshenko Government reversed this sale, and held a nationally-televised repeat auction that netted a record-breaking $4.8 billion.
SCM has been recognized as a leader of Ukrainian corporate social responsibility ratings, garnering the top nomination by Gvardiya magazine's rankings of Ukraine's "Socially Responsible Companies" in 2011. SCM had previously won in 2009, and 2010.
In 2008, UAH 3.4 million was given to compensate the victims and people whose relatives died in the blasts at Akhmetov's Krasnolimanskaya and Karla Marksa coal mines. A further UAH 600,000 was given to relatives of relatives of 6 miners killed in a methane blast at the Duvannaya coal mine.
Akhmetov's business empire has benefited enormously from his access to power. Forbes.ua reports that in January 2014, for example, his businesses won 31% of all state tenders.
- 2006 – $ 11.8 bil
- 2007 – $ 15.6 bil
- 2008 – $ 31.1 bil
- 2009 – $ 9.6 bil
- 2010 – $ 17.8 bil
- 2011 – $ 25.6 bil
- 2012 - $ 17.8 bil
Forbes' The World's Billionaires rating:
- 2006 – No. 451 with a net-worth of $1.7 bil
- 2007 – No. 214 with $4.0 bil
- 2008 – No. 127 with $7.3 bil
- 2009 – No. 397 with $1.8 bil
- 2010 – No. 148 with $5.2 bil
- 2011 – No. 39 with $16 bil.
- 2012 – No. 39 with $16 bil.
- 2013 – No. 47 with $15.4 bil.
In a 13 September 2007 diplomatic cable released between prominent Ukrainian business partners Serhiy Taruta, Vitaliy Haiduk, and U.S. ambassador William Taylor, Taruta alleged that Akhmetov had in 1997 persuaded Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma to appoint Viktor Yanukovych governor of Donetsk oblast, who then in turn made Haiduk his deputy. In follow up of the released cables, Akhmetov's spokesperson refused comment and Haiduk denied the conversation taking place.
Akhmetov was elected as a member of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) during the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election as a member of the Party of Regions. Akhmetov was reelected during the 2007 parliamentary election again as a member of the Party of Regions. However, he only appeared once in the Verkhovna Rada building during his inauguration. Leader of the party's faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Oleksander Yefremov, has mentioned that Rinat Akhmetov provides "substantive support" to the faction by providing what he referred to as "functioning expert groups he established that are counseling on draft laws". In December 2011 Akhmetov announced he was not going to participate in the 2012 parliamentary election.
U.S. diplomatic cables revealed that Akhmetov posted $2 million bail in 2007 for the release of three members of the Party of Regions, including former Sumy Governor Volodymyr Shcherban, who was accused of election rigging, extortion, tax evasion and abuse of office.
The Russian-language newspaper Segodnya, owned by Akhmetov, has drawn criticism for its alleged mandate favoring coverage of certain politicians and public figures, the journalists at the paper admitted.
Sports and patronage
Following the mysterious October 1995 bombing assassination of former team president Akhat Bragin at the team's stadium, Akhmetov (who had served as Bragin's right-hand man and himself narrowly missed the attempt on his life), subsequently inherited operation of the Shakhtar Donetsk football club. On 11 October 1996, Akhmetov was appointed president of the team and began investing heavily in both players and their training facilities. Under his command, FC Shakhtar became Premier League Champions in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; Domestic Cup champions in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013; Super-Cup in 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2013; and UEFA Cup in 2009.
In 2009, Donbass Arena stadium was built in Donetsk at Rinat Akhmetov's initiative. It is the first stadium in Eastern Europe that was designed and built to the elite UEFA standards; its seating capacity holds over 50,000 persons. Rinat Akhmetov had dreamt about such a stadium long before Ukraine had acquired the right to host EURO 2012.
Rinat Akhmetov is married to Liliya Smirnova (b. 1965) and with her has two sons, Damir (b. 1988) and Almir (b. 1997).
Akhmetov ownes London's most expensive penthouse at One Hyde Park, which was originally purchased for a reported $213 million as a portfolio investment and spent another reported $120 million to fix them up. The information about the deal was disclosed only four years later, in April 2011, after the asset has shown a steady annual rise. In May 2013, the property was transferred from his company, SCM, to himself.
Cultural and political image
Akhmetov is involved with charities that support Ukrainian citizens. Akhmetov established the Foundation for Development of Ukraine in 2005, which is "determined to eliminate the roots of social problems" in Ukraine. In 2008, it has been reported that within next 5 years the Organization planned to spend $150 million to fulfill its programs. In 2007, Akhmetov founded the Foundation for Effective Governance (FEG) to support economic development of Ukraine. Founded with a goal to improve the standard of living of each Ukrainian citizen; it was shut down in January of 2014 amid protests against Akhmetov.
In 2008, Akhmetov donated UAH 258,600 million to charity, that made him the No.2 in a list of top ten businessmen who donated for charity in 2008. In the following year, Ukrainian business weekly "Kontrakty" named Akhmetov the top businessmen-philanthropist in Ukraine. In 2010, Akhmetov's total charitable contributions amounted to UAH 155,65 million, making him No. 1 philanthropist in Ukraine. For 2011, Akhmetov donated UAH 222.7 million to charity. Starting from the year 2000, Rinat Akhmetov and his friend Igor Krutoy have been involved in a charity campaign on Saint Nicholas' Day in Donetsk and Donetsk Oblast, visiting children deprived of parental care, orphans and children in hospitals. In 2012 he donated $19 million to build an oncology research center.
- In October 2007, nearly $900,000 was donated to families of victims of a gas explosion that tore through an apartment complex in Dnipropetrovsk.
- In April 2011, Rinat Akhmetov decided to allocate $1 million to support the "Shelter Project", for construction of the new safe confinement to cover reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl.
- In April 2011, after earthquake in Japan in March 2011, FC Shakhtar Donetsk donated 1 million U.S. dollars to victims of the disaster, saying "this is a terrible tragedy and its scope is really international. The Ukrainians, who experienced Chernobyl, understand Japanese people. Unfortunately, we cannot return thousands of lives, but what we can really help those, who survived and stayed alive."
During the 2013-14 Euromaidan anti-government protests, Akhmetov became a symbol of the nation's oppression and consequently a target of protest. In December 2013 protesters picketed his residence in London on several occasions, urging him to cut ties with incumbent president Viktor Yanukovych. In response, Akhmetov issued a statement condemning police brutality. On December 31, Akhmetov reprimanded a group of protesters in public near his home in Donetsk. The protests against Akhmetov are ongoing and planned to increase.
- Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the V class (2010)
- Full Chevalier of Order of Merit: I class in 2006, II class in 2004, III class in2002
- Full Chevalier of the Miner's Glory Medal
- Honoured Worker of fitness and sports of Ukraine (1999)
- Award from President of Pakistan Sitara-e-Pakistan (2007) for merits to Pakistan
- Donetsk Citizens Recognition Prize in 2008 (est. by Donetsk City Council), in the nomination "Caring for the future"
- Honorary citizen of Donetsk (2006)
Disputes in the media
When dealing with public criticism and allegations concerning his past, Akhmetov has utilized a notably well-stocked PR and legal team to protect his image and name. His team often contests reports on him that they consider to be libelous, scandalous, or inaccurate. To date, his legal team has obtained many retractions, apologies, and libel settlements. Critics accuse Akhmetov of going beyond protecting his name, but rather fear mongering investigative journalists. As many court cases occur in London for its lax free speech laws, critics accuse Akhmetov and his legal team of abuse of libel tourism. In January 2008, Akhmetov won a London libel court case "for damage to his reputation" for such claims, while several other claims about an alleged "criminal past" have been retracted by the media.
In a statement issued by Akhmetov's lawyer Mark MacDougall, "Akhmetov has done a lot of work to protect his good name from false accusations, which might hurt the reputation of his family and business. As the result of it, many publications in Ukraine and other European countries had published retractions and apologies… [and] admitted that their claims are false. We think that these facts speak for themselves".
In 2007, the Kyiv Post, the primary English language daily newspaper in Ukraine, published an article relating to Mr. Akhmetov's business transactions relating to the Dniproenergo thermoelectric generator and the Kryvorizhstal steel mill. The newspaper published an apology stating that "on closer examination, we concluded these allegations[clarification needed] relating to Mr. Akhmetov were untrue and have no basis in fact."
In 2007, the German language Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung ("NZZ") retracted defamatory statements from published earlier article regarding Mr. Akhmetov's early business career in the 1990s, noting that "there is no connection between Akhmetov … and organized crime in Ukraine" and "[t]he economic success of Akhmetov is not based by any means on criminally acquired starting capital."
In 2008, a judgment was obtained from the High Court of Justice in London after Obozrevatel, a Ukrainian language Internet publication refused to retract false and libelous statements alleging that Mr. Akhmetov was connected to criminal activity and violence. The Obozrevatel report interviewed his former classmates and neighbors, and delved into his early years. Following court pressure Obozrevatel issued an official apology stating: "The editorial hereby admits that there was unchecked and false information about Rinat Akhmetov present in the … articles … We hereby give our apologies to Rinat Akhmetov for the problems resulted from the above-mentioned publications." The journalist, refused to issue an apology or acknowledge any wrongdoing.
The website GoLocalProv.com, based in Providence, Rhode Island, published in 2010 allegations that Akhmetov had ties to organized crime. Subsequently, PolitiFact engaged in a review of the allegations on GoLocalProv's site and disputed the sources on which they were based, stating that "key elements of the [GoLocalProv] story are false or unproven" and that the story presented "suspicions, suggestions, innuendo, and conspiracy theories" as fact. The GoLocalProv articles and audio shortly after their publishing were removed from the site. The publisher, Josh Fenton, explained that they disappeared for "technical reasons" and the radio station which aired the interview containing the allegations refused comment.
In 2010, the French daily newspaper Le Figaro issued a retraction of false allegations it published on 18 January 2010 regarding Rinat Akhmetov, due to a lack of evidence to support their claims, and issued an apology. Le Figaro had claimed that Akhmetov was "a scandalous Ukrainian oligarch" and that he was "a bandit in the past".
In 2013, Akhmetov's legal representatives issued a press release in response to accusations in the media, which cited politicians and journalists, that implicated Akhmetov in the 1996 murder of Donetsk-based Ukrainian oligarch Yevhen Shcherban. The official statement stated that they "have not found any proof suggesting that Akhmetov was involved in Scherban's or other businessmen's killings. To be honest, some of the businessmen killed in the 1990s were Mr. Akhmetov's close friends."
- Business oligarch
- Ukrainian oligarchs
- History of post-Soviet Russia: The "loans for shares" scheme and the rise of the "oligarchs"
- Viktor Pinchuk
- Leonid Kuchma
- FC Shakhtar Donetsk
- Donbass Arena
- Ukrainian parliamentary election, 2006
- Ukrainian parliamentary election, 2007
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- Liga.net, 26 June 2008, Благотворительный фонд Ахметова выделил 3,4 млн.грн. семьям погибших и пострадавшим горнякам(Akhmetov's charitable fund has allocated 3.4 million UAH to the families of the dead and injured miners).
- Cxid.info, 7 October 2009, Благотворительный фонд Рината Ахметова выделит 600 тыс. грн. семьям горняков, погибших на шахте «Дуванная» (Rinat Akhmetov's foundation will allocate 600,000 UAH to the families of miners killed in the Duvannaya mine).
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- Корреспондент.net. (Korrespondent), 20 December 2011, Корреспондент: Искусство требует пожертвований. Главные филантропы Украины (Art requires donations. The major philanthropists of Ukraine.)
- Cnaan Liphshiz (February 6, 2013). "Jews occupy top 3 places on Ukrainian list of philanthropists". JTA. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Rinat Akhmetov's foundation is giving UAH 4,4 million to the families that lost their relatives when there was an explosion in Dnipropetrovsk", Ostrov News, 29 October 2007]
- Foundation for Development of Ukraine, 18 April 2011, Rinat Akhmetov gives USD 1 million to relieve consequences of Chernobyl disaster and to foster nuclear safety of Ukraine. See also Foundation for Development of Ukraine, news archive.
- Yellow Page, Shakhtar Donetsk allocated money for Chernobyl, 21 April 2011.
- International Charitable Foundation Health of Ukrainian People, Step towards life (accessed April 2012).
- People's Daily Online, Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar allocates 1 mln USD to Japan quake victims, 19 April 2011.
- Shakhtar.com, Shakhtar supported victims in Japan, 18 April 2011.
- Embassy of Ukraine in Japan, Shakhtar Football Club supported victims in Japan donating USD 1 million , 19 April 2011.
- Президент України Віктор Янукович Офіційне інтернет-представництво (Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, official website), 20 August 2010, Указ Президента України № 829/2010 (Decree of the President of Ukraine, number 829/2010)
- Ukrainian Government, Указ Президента України (Edict of the President of Ukraine), Документ 697/2006, 19 August 2006 (Edict 697/2006 as of 19 August 2006), Про відзначення державними нагородами України (State awards of Ukraine), 19 August 2006.
- Ukrainian Government, Указ Президента України (Edict of the President of Ukraine), Документ 1214/2004, 11.10.2004 (Edict 1214/2004 as of 11 October 2004), Про відзначення державними нагородами України ветеранів та активістів українського футболу (State awards of Ukrainian veterans and of people involved in Ukrainian football), 11 October 2004.
- Ukrainian Government, Указ Президента України (Edict of the President of Ukraine), Документ 598/2002, 02.07.2002 (Edict 598/2002 as of 2 July 2002), Про відзначення державними нагородами України спортсменів та керівників акціонерного товариства "Футбольний клуб "Шахтар", м. Донецьк (State awards to Ukrainian athletes and the heads of "FC" Shakhtar "Donetsk), 2 July 2002.
- Ukrainian Government, Указ Президента України (Edict of the President of Ukraine), Документ 1152/1999, 10.09.1999 (Edict 1152/1999 as of 10 September 1999), Про присвоєння почесного звання "Заслужений працівник фізичної культури і спорту України" працівникам Донецької області , м. Донецьк (Cconferring the honorary title "Honored Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of Ukraine" to the workers of Donetsk), 2 July 2002.
- Associated Press of Pakistan, 154 citizens, 17 foreign nationals conferred civil awards, 13 August 2007.
- 24UA Ахметова наградили премией «Признание дончан» (Akhmetov was awarded the "Shakhtar Recognition" prize), 17 January 2008.
- Foundation for Development of Ukraine, 16 January 2008, Rinat Akhmetov announced Donetsk Citizens Recognition Prize winner in the nomination "Caring for the future". (See also news archive).
- Украинское рейтинговое агентство (Ukrainian Rating Agency), 12 August 2006, Президент получил официальные атрибуты Почетного гражданина Донецка (The President received formal accreditation as an honorary citizen of Donetsk)
- Kyiv Post, 21 February 2008, Rinat Akhmetov – The Kyiv Post's apology.
- Фокус (Focus.ua), 15 January 2008, Ахметов выиграл суд у Интернет-издания. Ответчик удивлен (Akhmetov wins libel case against internet site. Defendant surprised by verdict.)
- Обозреватель (Obozrevatel), Официальное извинение Ринату Ахметову (Official apology to Rinat Akhmetov). Obozrevatel agreed to pay ,0,000 to a charitable foundation of Akhmetov's choosing as compensation for the false statements Obozrevatel had published on 19 and 26 January 2007.
- Kyiv Post, January 2012, Investigative journalist runs for parliament to fight corruption, by Oksana Grytsenko.
- Providence Journal, Polifact, Website ignores key facts in bid to tie Lincoln Chafee to organized crime in Ukraine, by C. Eugene Emery Jr 23 October 2010
- "French Newspaper Issues Apology to Ukrainian Businessman and Political Leader Rinat Akhmetov". Reuters. 29 January 2010.
- PR Newswire, 28 January 2010, French newspaper issues apology to Ukrainian businessman and political leader Rinat Akhmetov.
- Kyiv Post, 29 January 2010, French newspaper issues apology to Ukrainian businessman Akhmetov for false report.
- Interfax-Ukraine (25 January 2013). "Defense: Akhmetov not involved in high-profile murders". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 26 January 2013.