August 4, 1966|
Leningrad, Soviet Union
|Disappeared||March 16, 2008 (aged 41)
|Body discovered||Latvian Forest|
|Education||Harvard Law School|
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Net worth||"Several hundred million dollars"|
Leonid Borisovich Rozhetskin (Russian: Леонид Борисович Рожецкин, born August 4, 1966; disappeared March 16, 2008) was a financier and lawyer who went missing under suspicious circumstances after disappearing from his villa in Jūrmala, Latvia. In 2013, remains found nearby the year before were confirmed to be Rozhetskin's.
Early life and education
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, where he became a U.S. citizen. Rozhetskin was a "brilliant student", winning scholarships to Columbia University, where he graduated with distinction. In 1990, Rozhetskin graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.
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, representing clients such as the International Finance Corporation (a division of the World Bank), Credit Suisse, Morgan Grenfell and The Moscow Times.
Career in investments, mining and media
Rozhetskin "amassed his fortune in the mobile phone industry during Russia's privatisation of telecom companies." 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.
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. In 2003, Rozhetskin sold the MegaFon stake to Alfa Group.
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. Rozhetskin was 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, he was credited as a producer of Hamlet 2; he was also credited as an executive producer of the 2009 film Boogie Woogie.
Rozhetskin married model Natalya Belova, who gave birth to their son in 2005. According to The Sunday Times (and other sources), 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."
Disappearance and death
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. Many Western media sources quickly assumed he was dead, although the Russian press claimed he was living in California under the Federal Witness Protection Program.
- "Leonid Rozhetskin: Russia's missing tycoon". The Sunday Times. June 28, 2009. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- KGB plot fears as London oligarch vanishes and traces of blood are found in his mansion, Mail Online, March 23, 2008
- Stewart, Will (17 November 2013). "Body found in remote Russian woods IS missing City AM tycoon... but was he victim of mafia hit?". MailOnline. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Leonid Rozhetskin at the Internet Movie Database
- City AM backer Leonid Rozhetskin feared dead, Telegraph, March 25, 2008
- В Лондоне исчезла жена Леонида Рожецкина (Russian) from an RBC Information Systems website
- Gain, Bruce. "Missing Americans body a DNA match in Latvia". www.crimelibrary.com. Retrieved 18 October 2012.