Dmitry Rybolovlev, 2012
Дмитрий Евгеньевич Рыболовлев
Dmitry Yevgenyevich Rybolovlev
22 November 1966
|Residence||Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|Net worth||US$6.8 billion (January 2019)|
|Children||Ekaterina and Anna|
Dmitry Yevgenyevich Rybolovlev (Russian: Дмитрий Евгеньевич Рыболовлев; Russian pronunciation: [ˈdmʲitrʲɪj ɪvˈɡʲenʲjɪvʲɪtɕ rɨbɐˈɫovlʲɪf]; born 22 November 1966) is a Russian businessman and investor. Rybolovlev owned the potash producer Uralkali and, in 2011, became the President of Monaco's football club AS Monaco. He has two daughters, Ekaterina and Anna Rybolovleva.
As of October 2018, Rybolovlev is ranked 242nd on Forbes's list of billionaires with a net worth of $6.8 billion. Since January 2015 he has become known as one of the most high-profile alleged victims of Swiss art transporter Yves Bouvier as part of a group of cases that have become known collectively as The Bouvier Affair.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Business career
- 3 Philanthropy
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Property
- 6 Art collection
- 7 Awards and honours
- 8 Personal life
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Early life and education
Rybolovlev was born in 1966. His parents were doctors and he himself graduated from the Perm Medical Institute in 1990 and started to work in the cardiology emergency service of the local hospital. Rybolovlev married Elena, one of his fellow students, and in 1989 their first daughter Ekaterina was born.
Rybolovlev entered the business world in 1990.
Early business career
Together with his father, Evgeny, he set up a company that offered a form of alternative medical treatment using magnetic fields that Evgeny had developed. However, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union's centrally planned economy, companies preferred to pay Rybolovlev's firm with products rather than cash, and he created a side business selling these products.
In 1992 Rybolovlev moved to Moscow and received a brokerage license from the Russian Ministry of Finance, the first in the Perm region, which permitted him to trade and deal with securities. That same year, he opened an investment company.
He founded a bank in 1994, acquired shareholdings in several of Perm's industrial enterprises and joined their boards.
Development of Uralkali
Over the next 15 years Rybolovlev focused on developing Uralkali and eventually built it into a major global enterprise. According to the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, by 2000 he had consolidated his controlling interest in the company and begun to reform and develop it. He completely changed the management team and set as a priority the achievement of an increase in labor productivity.
According to Reuters, in 2005 Uralkali and Belarusian potash producer Belaruskali combined their trade flows via a single trader: Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), of which Rybolovlev became chief executive. Over the next three years, potash prices increased more than fivefold. The price increase and the creation of BPC both had a transformational impact on Uralkali. In 2007 Uralkali's IPO on the London Stock Exchange coincided with the sharply rising global potash prices and was therefore described by the financial media as one of the most successful Russian IPOs ever.
In June 2010, Rybolovlev sold a 53% shareholding in Uralkali to a group of Russian investors: Kaliha Finance Limited (Suleiman Kerimov, 25%), Aerellia Investments Limited (Alexander Nesis, 15%) and Becounioco Holdings Limited (Filaret Galchev, 13.2%). The transaction price was not disclosed, but was reported to be around $5.3 billion.
In December 2010, Uralkali bought a 20% stake in Silvinit for $1.4 billion from Rybolovlev. The merger was finalized in July 2011, after Rybolovlev had sold the remaining shares of Uralkali.
Berezniki mine collapse
In October 2006, a freshwater spring began flowing into one of Uralkali's mines under the city of Berezniki, leading the walls and pillars supporting the ceilings of large underground caverns to dissolve. In response, Uralkali engineers attempted to increase the salinity of the floodwater to the saturation point, but this proved ineffective and the caverns collapsed. The mine was subsequently abandoned.
As a result of the mine's collapse, large sinkholes appeared around the mine and in the city of Berezniki, forcing some 12,000 residents to evacuate their homes. New sinkholes continue to appear regularly throughout the Perm region though it is not clear whether all of them are caused by mining activities.
In 2006, the Russian government launched an investigation into the accident and concluded that a “previously unknown anomaly of geological structure” was to blame for the mine's collapse. The neutrality of the commission's report has been challenged by some observers, who argued that the report was partly written by OAO Galurgia, a company affiliated to Uralkali. Other Russian sources claimed that Uralkali failed to undertake all the necessary work in order to fill the holes in the mines, which may have directly caused the appearance of the sinkholes. According to the local newspaper Inaya Gazeta, Rybolovlev decided to split in two the budget allocated to the holes filling, which resulted in an insufficient filling of the mines chambers. A report in The New York Times suggested that the situation was partially caused by the fact that Berezniki began as a Soviet labor camp, and was built directly over the mine to be within marching distance of work areas.
In October 2008, Russian Vice Premier Igor Sechin reopened the investigation and suggested that the degree of the financial liability of Uralkali should be determined, prompting speculation in international news outlets, including The New York Times, that a raider attack had been launched against Uralkali. Others reported that Rybolovlev was reluctant to compensate for the damages caused.
Yuri Trutnev, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment and Rybolovlev's close friend, spoke out in favor of the company. However, because he was not directly involved in the investigation, analysts dismissed his statements as the “personal opinion of one government official.”
In December 2008, Uralkali pledged to pay $218 million to the Russian government as compensation for costs incurred by the mine collapse. In February 2009, the company agreed to a payment of $71.8 million to the Perm region.
Investment in Bank of Cyprus
In September 2010, Rybolovlev bought a 9.7% stake in Cyprus largest bank, Bank of Cyprus. Rybolovlev's investment in Bank of Cyprus followed significant financial dealings in the country. Following the country's deep recession, on 25 March 2013 the Eurogroup agreed with the government of Cyprus that the Bank of Cyprus would take over the remnants of Laiki Bank. To finance the deal and save Bank of Cyprus from bankruptcy it was also decided that accounts over €100,000 would suffer a haircut on their assets of about 50%, which mostly wiped out Rybolovlev's stake and ended his involvement in the Bank with a $600 million loss.
Rybolovlev relocated to Monaco in 2010 and in December 2011, a trust acting on behalf of Rybolovlev's daughter, Ekaterina, bought a 66% stake in the Monegasque association football club AS Monaco FC. The club was in a bad state at the time, playing at the bottom of the French second ligue and highly in debt, and the Palace was looking for an investor to improve the club’s prospects. According to French media reports, Ryboloblev acquired the club for a symbolic €1, but with a commitment to invest at least €100 million ($129.4 million) into the club over the next four years.
The remaining 33% stake in the club is owned by Monaco's ruling family, the House of Grimaldi, with Rybolovlev's acquisition of the stake in the club approved by Prince Albert II of Monaco. Dmitry Rybolovlev was subsequently appointed president of the club.
Though historically Monaco is one of France's most successful clubs, they were struggling at the time of Rybolovlev's arrival, and had been relegated to the second tier of French football, Ligue 2. Étienne Franzi, AS Monaco's former president, and the DNCG, the French football authority, both gave positive assessments of the club's progress after Rybolovlev's first year of ownership in December 2012.
In May 2013, Monaco was promoted to Ligue 1 after securing the second division title. Monaco became one of the most prodigious spenders in European football in the summer of 2013 under Rybolovlev's presidency, spending £146 million on players including Radamel Falcao, James Rodríguez and João Moutinho. Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal were also signed on free transfers with large salaries.
In January 2014, Monaco agreed to pay the governing body of French football, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), a one-off voluntary payment of €50 million to remain exempt from a ruling by the LFP that its clubs must have their head offices located in France. Based in the tax haven of Monaco, the club managed to avoid the effects of tax increases in neighboring France. Rybolovlev and the head of the French league, Noël Le Graët, had initially failed to find an agreement over the matter and Rybolovlev had initiated legal action against the league which was later dropped. The €50 million figure was calculated by the league as the amount saved by Monaco a result of their unique location.
Rodríguez and Falcao subsequently left Monaco in the summer of 2014, the latter leaving on loan to Manchester United and Chelsea (returning to Monaco in 2016) and the former being sold to Real Madrid for almost double the transfer fee Monaco had paid Porto for his services one year prior. The transfers were explained by Monaco's vice president Vadim Vasilyev as part of a new strategy. He stated that "There are two ways to go... One is either you invest a lot of money and do it quickly, the other is you build up an intelligent project and you have to base yourself on your academy and sound principles of working and scouting well and basically that's what we've decided to do."
The departure of star players and a decline in spending was also attributed by Vasilyev to the introduction of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations and the resultant threat of sanctions. Vasilyev said in an interview that Rybolovlev had told him that he was "...already investing big money and if the club has to pay fines over and on top of that, this is something that is really not on. This really goes against any common sense". In a March 2015 interview with Nice Matin, Rybolovlev re-iterated his long-term commitment to the club and also expressed his delight at Monaco's successes since his arrival.
In 2017, Monaco enjoyed its most successful season yet, winning the French Ligue 1 title and reaching the semi-final of the European Champions League. Reflecting on the club's unexpected success, The Independent wrote that “Monaco’s policy of buying low and selling high has made the club a true Champion’s League power at last” and called Monaco as “one of the best run clubs in Europe”.
In July 2018, edia reported that Rybolovlev was a potential buyer of Chinese businessman Li Yonghong's stake in AC Milan, but the deal didn’t materialize. Rybolovlev's son-in-law, prominent Uruguayan businessman Juan Sartori, is an owner of a 20% stake in England's FC Sunderland.
Following an unsuccessful start to the 2018-2019 season, the club in October 2018 officially announced the departure of its head coach, Leonardo Jardim. On 13 October, the club confirmed Thierry Henry as the new head coach until 2021.
On 16 January 2019, AS Monaco announced a €55 million investment into a brand new “Centre for sporting excellence” that is planned to include three football fields in addition to a fitness and medical centre. The investment will also include renovations on the Louis II stadium and the construction of a dormitory for the club’s youth academy. The Centre is slated to be operational by the 2020-2021 season.
Rybolovlev provided financial assistance to the reconstruction of Saint Petersburg's Oranienbaum Palace, as well as to the restoration of the Zachatievsky Monastery in Moscow. He donated €17.5 million for the re-building of the Cathedral of Nativity of Theotokos in Moscow, and was involved in the restoration of several icon paintings in the Cathedral of Exaltation of the Cross recreated in Belogorsk Saint Nicolas Monastery.
Rybolovlev is also involved in the construction of the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Limassol, Cyprus, for estimated project costs of €5 million. With a size of 1050 m², the church is expected to host 500 to 600 people once the constructions are completed.
Murder allegations and judgement
In 1995, Rybolovlev moved his family to Geneva, Switzerland, fearing for their security amid the domestic chaos following the Soviet Union's demise during that time. In May 1996, Rybolovlev was accused of plotting the murder of a rival businessman, Evgeny Panteleymonov, and was subsequently arrested. He spent 11 months in jail before being fully acquitted at trial for a lack of evidence, following the only living witness recanting his testimony, and the intervention in Rybolovlev's favor of Andrey Pokhmelkin, the brother of a prominent congressman representing Perm District in the Duma, as well as that of local Governor Gennady Igumnov. In 1997 Rybolovlev was acquitted by courts of law at three levels, including the Presidium of the Supreme Court. Rybolovlev stated that he was extorted in jail to sell the shares of his company in exchange for his freedom, but had refused.
Pollution of Kama river
In June 2012, Green Patrol, a Russian environmental NGO, listed Uralkali as one of the top 100 polluters in Russia, based on information gathered during the previous years. An expedition organized into the Perm Krai by the same NGO in 2010, when Rybolovlev was still the company's owner, revealed that Uralkali's sinks contained at least 16 harmful elements (including zinc and ammonium), exceeding the maximum permissible levels by 1,850 times. According to Green Patrol's President Roman Pukalov, Uralkali failed to fully disclose a complete list of harmful elements that it routinely ejected into the local river Kama. He described Kama water as "very polluted", declaring that small rivers around Berezniki had in fact turned into brine.
Furthermore, Uralkali's environmental spending under Rybolovlev was exceptionally low.
Panama Papers scandal
In April 2016, it was alleged by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that Rybolovlev used a company registered in the Virgin Islands to hide art from his former wife Elena during their divorce proceeding. Rybolovlev's use of offshore companies was described as a "textbook example of the lengths rich people (in most cases men) go to protect their considerable wealth in case of a marital breakup" by the Süddeutsche Zeitung. However, subsequent media reports noted that the offshore structures established by the Rybolovlev family trust pre-dated the divorce proceedings by several years. Furthermore, the family trust had publicly disclosed the companies as owners of the art works long before the Panama Papers report was published, a fact that the original Panama Papers report had omitted.
Liberation of Georgi Bedjamov
Georgi Bedjamov, President of the Federation of Bobsleigh and Skeleton of Russia and former co-owner of Vneshprombank, was arrested in March 2016 in Monaco after an international arrest warrant was issued against him by the Russian authorities on charges of fraudulent bankruptcy and embezzlement. Bedjamov was liberated in July 2016 by the Prince, a decision that was later confirmed by the Monaco Appeal Court. Russian sources alleged that Dmitry Rybolovlev helped Georgi Bedjamov escape Russian authorities, but Rybolovlev denied these claims in an interview to the French newspaper Le Parisien in late October 2016.
Football Leaks scandal
In December 2016 the Football Leaks scandal revealed that Rybolovlev and football agent Jorge Mendes had set up a secret system to illegally buy players’ shares. Using a Cyprus-based offshore investment fund named Browsefish Limited, Rybolovlev manipulated the price of his own players through third-party ownerships (TPO). Rybolovlev resorted to the use of offshore companies to hide his identity, as TPO's are illegal in Europe. Investigations revealed for example that football player Fabinho was already 48.5% owned by Rybolovlev when he was loaned to AS Monaco by Rio Ave F.C.
AS Monaco denied these allegations and that such a scheme was ever put into place, arguing that reports published in the French and European press to the contrary "contain false information and many inaccuracies."
Trusts in the name of his Rybolovlev's daughter, Ekaterina, have made several significant property purchases around the world since 2008. The trusts have bought properties in Florida, Hawaii, New York City, Monaco, as well as two islands in Greece. Rybolovlev also owns an estate in Saint-Tropez on the Cote d'Azur in the south of France, houses in Gstaad, Switzerland, and used to own property in Geneva and Paris with his former wife. In 2013, the property purchases were contested by Rybolovlev's wife, Elena Rybolovleva, during the couple's divorce proceedings.
The New York Times reported that in 2008, Rybolovlev and his wife made house-hunting trips to New York City and aimed to buy their first property in the US, eyeing an apartment at 15 Central Park West, but the seller eventually withdrew from the deal. Rybolovlev subsequently looked to Florida, where American businessman Donald Trump was selling a 6 acres Palm Beach residence at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2008, Ekaterina Rybolovlev's trust bought the 18-bedroom Maison de L'Amitie in Palm Beach, Florida, from the American businessman Donald Trump. Amidst concerns during his campaign about rubbing shoulders with Russian officials, Trump has claimed that the sale of Maison de L'Amitié, which he purchased for $40 million in 2004 and sold to Rybolovlev for $95 million, is the only dealing he has done with a Russian. In February 2018, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden wrote to the US Treasury Department to request records on the purchase of the property. However, a spokesman for the Rybolovev family reiterated that the deal has long been publicly scrutinized since it was announced over a decade ago. As of February 2018, the trust's investment in the property looked on track to yield a significant return.
In 2016, Rybolovlev razed the mansion on the property after being granted permission to subdivide the land into three lots, two of which have since sold for a combined $71.34 million. The third lot is for sale at $42 million.
In December 2011, the trust bought a 10-room, 626 m2 (6,740 sq ft) apartment at 15 Central Park West in New York City for $88 million, from Joan Weill, the wife of Sanford I. Weill, the former chairman of Citigroup. This was a record price for an apartment in the city at the time of its purchase.
In 2011, Rybololev also bought a $20 million property in Kauai, Hawaii, from the American actor Will Smith. During his ownership, 21 acres were added to the estate, and put on the market for $29.5 million in 2015.
In April 2013, Ekaterina Rybolovlev's trust bought a group of companies from the Greek heiress Athina Onassis Roussel. The assets included the 74 acre Greek island of Skorpios and its smaller islet, Sparti. The sale price was reported as $154 million. In October 2018, Rybolovlev started a major development project on the island with the aim to transform it into a luxury resort. The total investment in the project amounts to €184 million. Works on the islet are to be finished in 2020.
In 2010, Rybolovlev bought the 2,000m2 Belle Époque style penthouse apartment on the Avenue d'Ostende in the Monte Carlo district of Monaco. The property was bought for €220 million. Its previous owners include Nick and Christian Candy, the brothers behind the Candy & Candy interior design and property development business, and earlier, the Brazilian banker Edmond Safra, who died in a fire at the apartment in 1999.
Rybolovlev and his former wife owned a property in Geneva, Switzerland, which they demolished in 2008 and planned to replace with a replica of the palace of Marie-Antoinette, the Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles. The project was abandoned amidst the couple's divorce proceedings.
Rybolovlev's art collection has included paintings by Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin, Amedeo Modigliani (Nude on a Blue Cushion), Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Mark Rothko (No. 6). He was also the owner of Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci until it was sold at Christie's auction house for a total cost of $450 million on 15 November 2017. In February 2015, it was reported that Rybolovlev may have been a victim of a complex art fraud allegedly perpetrated by the art dealer Yves Bouvier who was indicted on charges of fraud and complicity in money laundering. In 2016, Rybolovlev was again at the center of a controversy after it was alleged that he bought three stolen Picassos from art dealer Olivier Thomas.
In October 2018, Rybolovlev launched a lawsuit against Sotheby’s in Manhattan federal court, alleging that the auction house "materially assisted the largest art fraud in history". Rybolovlev's lawyers said “Sotheby’s was the willing auction house that knowingly and intentionally made the fraud possible" because it knew how much Bouvier paid the sellers. Sotheby's has denied these allegations.
On 6 November 2018, Rybolovlev was questioned by the Monegasque police. His lawyers stated that this happened on the basis of information obtained from the phone of one of Rybolovlev's previous lawyers, Tetiana Bersheda, which is the subject of an appeal in Monaco. Rybolovlev was subsequently named a “formal suspect” in a graft investigation by Monaco's chief prosecutor. He was released from custody and placed under judicial control.
In an interview with the daily Nice Matin in December 2018, Rybolovlev’s lawyer, Me Hervé Temime, criticised repeated violations of the investigation’s secrecy that he attributed to vested interests against Rybolovlev. He also stated that “the seriousness of the initial scam” was understated “because of the wealth” of Rybolovlev in what he described as an ostracism of rich Russians.
Awards and honours
In 2010 Rybolovlev was awarded the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov I degree by Patriarch Kirill for funding the restoration of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God in Zachatyevsky Convent.
Rybolovlev married Elena Rybolovleva in 1987 in Perm, Russia, and together they have had two daughters, Ekaterina, born in 1989, and Anna, born in 2001. In 2015, Ekaterina married Uruguayan businessman Juan Sartori.
Elena Rybolovleva filed for divorce on December 22, 2008, citing in her divorce petition the "serial infidelity" of her husband. At the same occasion, Elena Rybolovleva officially asked the Geneva State prosecutor for protection of her assets from Rybolovlev.
In May that year, a Geneva court awarded Rybolovlev's ex-wife a record settlement of $4.8 billion. This would have been the most expensive divorce settlement in history at the time. However, Rybolovlev's lawyers successfully appealed the 2014 ruling in June 2015. The Geneva court reversed the earlier decision, ruling that Rybolovleva's settlement be reduced to 564 million Swiss francs.
Finally, in October 2015, Rybolovlev and his ex-wife Elena announced they had reached an amicable settlement of their divorce, and that all legal actions in relation to the case would cease. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Hobbies and interests
Rybolovlev enjoys surfing, especially in Hawaii.
In the Forbes billionaires list for 2018 Rybolovlev was ranked the 242nd richest person in the world with a net worth of $6.8 billion.
|Net worth ($ billion)||1.6||3.3||12.8||3.1||8.6||9.5||9||9.1||8.8||8.5||7.7||7.3||6.8|
|Rank (in the world)||486||271||59||196||79||93||100||119||147||156||170||190||242|
|Rank (in Russia)||32||29||11||13||10||14||13||14||17||14||12||15||18|
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Media related to Dmitry Rybolovlev at Wikimedia Commons