|Born||Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska
2 January 1968
Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russian SFSR
|Alma mater||Moscow State University, Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics|
|Occupation||Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element Company|
|Net worth||US$5.4 billion (April 2015)|
|Spouse(s)||Polina Deripaska (née Yumasheva); 2 children|
|Basic Element, Oleg Deripaska|
Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska (Russian: Оле́г Влади́мирович Дерипа́ска; born 2 January 1968) is the Russian Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Basic Element company, President of En+ Group and United Company RUSAL, the largest aluminium company in the world. With an estimated net worth of US$5.4 billion in 2015, he is amongst the 20 wealthiest people in Russia.
Education and early career
Deripaska was born in Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, but grew up in Ust-Labinsk, Krasnodar Krai. He graduated with honors in physics from Moscow State University in 1993, and in 1996, he earned an economics degree from the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics. He was general manager of the Sayanogorsk Smelter (1994–97) and held the post of president of Sibirsky Aluminium Investment Industrial Group (1997–2001), which later became the core of Basic Element.
The Soviet Union had just collapsed, the country was in turmoil; Deripaska worked on building sites across Russia to prevent himself from starving. "We had no money. It was a very practical question every day. How do I get money to buy food and keep studying?" he recalls. There was little future in his university subject, theoretical physics. He abandoned his studies and started business as a small-time metals trader. Between 1993 and 1994 he accumulated a 20% stake in the Siberian aluminium factory – to the annoyance of the plant's communist-era bosses. "I was expecting they would treat me as a shareholder. But they said, 'No, you have the shares, but we run our business. And it's separate.'" Deripaska persuaded the workforce not to go on strike, boosted production, and – it's not entirely clear how – crushed the local Russian mafia.
In an interview with the Haaretz newspaper Michael Cherney (a reputed Russian-Israeli crime figure) states:
In 1993, at a conference in London, Cherney met a young blue-eyed man. His name was Oleg Deripaska. He had just graduated from the Faculty of Physics at Moscow University and was beginning to deal in metal trade – the son of poor parents from Southern Russia. "Several months later Yafyazov brought Deripaska to Paris, for a meeting with me. He had great ambitions and I liked that,“ Cherney recalls. "He wanted to do big business and told me that his group wanted to buy the Sayansk plant in Siberia on the Exchange, but didn't have money for that. I agreed to invest capital and after that we agreed to become equal partners in that project."
According to the Financial Times, in 1994, Oleg Deripaska, then an independent metals trader, won the backing of Michael Cherney and TWG to become general manager of Sayansk aluminium plant in Siberia, which lead to the formation of SibAl and a partnership between Cherney and Oleg Deripaska in the company. Cherney claims that he was the beneficial owner of the 20% stake which Deripaska held in trust. (Oleg_Deripaska#Lawsuits)
The Russian magnate [Deripaska] does not dispute making a $250 million payment to Cherney at the Lanesborough Hotel in London 11 years ago. But he alleges he was paying Cherney off to end a complex krysha arrangement which also included Anton Malevsky, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who has been named in court papers as the head of a criminal network.
After his falling out with Cherney, Deripaska then became impeccably well connected to the top political elite in Moscow:
In 2001, he married Polina Yumasheva - the daughter of Boris Yeltsin's powerful ex-chief of staff Valentin Yumashev, who is now married to the former president's younger daughter, Tatyana. As well as this useful dynastic alliance with the Yeltsin clan, Deripaska is on friendly terms with Yeltsin's successor in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin.
In 2005, he was included in the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated wealth of £4,375m, but was not listed in 2006; however, according to an August 2006 article in the New York Times, the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti estimated Deripaska's total wealth at US$14 billion, which, if true, would either have made him Russia's richest man or possibly tied for the spot with Roman Abramovich.
Deripaska's estimated fortune was US$16.8 billion in 2011, according to the Forbes wealthiest list. In 2008, his wealth had been estimated by Forbes at US$28 billion, making him then the ninth richest man in the world. In 2009, Deripaska's ranking fell to a ranking of No. 164, with Forbes stating: "[H]e may not withstand collapsing markets and heavy debts". However, in 2010 his estimated US$10.7 billion fortune allowed him to rise to No. 57 of the World's Billionaires list. According to Forbes magazine, he removed the heads of his two largest companies and personally negotiated with the Russian government, banks and other creditors to restructure his loan obligations. Deripaska himself in 2007 was reported to have consistently said that the estimate of his wealth was exaggerated, that it did not completely account for the amount of debt he incurred, and that he should be ranked far below the top ten on the list of the Russian billionaires.
As of 2014, Forbes estimates his fortune at US$6.5 billion.
In 2006, GAZ Group, purchased all the shares of LDV Holdings (producer of light commercial vehicles, the city of Birmingham, Great Britain) from an American fund Sun Capital Partners. The main product of LDV is currently the light commercial vehicle Maxus. In May 2009 GAZ Group signed an agreement to sell its UK/LDV van business to the Malaysian automobile manufacturer and distributor Weststar.
In April 2007, Deripaska acquired 25 percent (€1.05 billion) of the Austrian construction company Strabag SE, owned by Hans-Peter Haselsteiner. Strabag is the sixth largest construction company in Europe. In May 2007, Magna International chairman Frank Stronach announced that Deripaska was becoming a strategic partner in Magna.
On 25 July 2008, GAZ Group launched the serial production of Volga Siber sedan, which is based on a platform acquired from the American corporation Chrysler and was designed by the British studio UltraMotive. Engineers and specialists from Magna International played an active role in the installation and fine tuning of the cars assembly line, as well as in the training of the Group's employees. On 14 June 2011, Volkswagen Group Rus and GAZ Group agreed to manufacture Volkswagen and Škoda cars at GAZ plant in Nizhny Novgorod. Under the agreement, full-cycle production of the new Volkswagen Jetta, Škoda Octavia, and Škoda Yeti will be organized at GAZ. Start of full-cycle production of the first car which is to be assembled at GAZ, Škoda Yeti, is planned for the fourth quarter 2012. The agreement is valid until 2019, however the parties do not rule out the possibility that cooperation could be continued beyond this date.
On 3 October 2008 Magna International announced that Russian Machines terminated its participation as a shareholder of the Canadian auto parts maker. However the companies said that development of autocomponents business in Russia, as well as other joint projects, would continue.
On 30 April 2009 Basic Element announced that it has transferred its 25% stake in Strabag to other shareholders of the company. It will also hold a call option to buy back the stake until 20 December 2009 with an opportunity of its extension to October 2010. Basic Element also retains one registered share of Strabag and keeps two places on Strabag nine-seat supervisory board. On 30 November 2010 Basic Element bought back 17% stake in Strabag from other shareholders of the company for € 373 mln. Deripaska was also provided with an extension of the call option for the remaining 8% until 15 July 2014.
In 2011, Forbes Russia conducted a poll with the help of Russia based Profi Online Research Company of the country's "most beloved billionaire oligarchs". Deripaska, with 15.7% of the vote, came in third after Roman Abramovich (27.1%) and Mikhail Prokhorov (23.8%). In June 2012, Basic Element, Sberbank of Russia and Changi Airports signed a joint venture agreement to invest in and develop Russian airports.
Deripaska is the sole owner and Chairman of Supervisory Board of Basic Element, a diversified investment group established in 1997. Basic Element's assets are concentrated in five sectors: energy, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, construction and aviation. The major assets include United Company RUSAL the world's largest aluminium and alumina producer; GAZ Group, an automotive company; Ingosstrakh, the country's oldest insurance company; Bank SOYUZ (Банк «СОЮЗ»); Aviakor aircraft manufacturer; EuroSibEnergo (ЕвроСибЭнерго), an investment and energy supply company; Glavmosstroy (Главмосстрой), a construction company; Kuban Agroholding, an agricultural company; and Basel Aero, an aviation business comprising the four largest airports in the Krasnodar territory (in joint venture with Changi Airports International).
RUSAL went public in January 2010. Hong Kong regulators were criticized for allowing RUSAL, whose debt was nearly US$15 billion, to list its shares. The Hong Kong exchange responded by warning investors of the risks and setting a minimum investment amount of US$129,000. Rusal raised US$2.24 billion through its dual initial public offering in Hong Kong and Paris. The company sold 1.61 billion shares, or 11% of its market capitalisation, at HK$10.80 each.
Deripaska's Rusal company owns the €900m valued Aughinish Alumina plant on the Shannon estuary in Ireland. The factory is Ireland's largest manufacturing site and the largest alumina plant in Europe.
In 2004, Deripaska was appointed by the President of Russia to represent the country in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He has held the position of Chairman of ABAC Russia since 2007. Deripaska is Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Russian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Council, an agency of the Russian Government.
He sits on the board of trustees of the Bolshoi Theatre, the School of Business Administration, the School of Public Administration, and the School of Economics at Moscow State University and the School of Business Administration at St. Petersburg State University. Deripaska is a co-founder of the National Science Support Foundation and the National Medicine Fund. In 1999, he was awarded the Order of Friendship, a state award of the Russian Federation. He was named businessman of the year in 1999, 2006 & 2007 by Vedomosti, a leading business daily published in partnership with The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.
Deripaska is one of 16 global business leaders who drafted CEO Climate Policy Recommendations to G8 Leaders, a document outlining international business community's proposals to tackle global warming. The proposals were signed by more than 100 of the world's leading corporations and handed to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on 20 June 2008. The G8 leaders discussed the recommendations during the summit in Japan on 7–9 July 2008. The process was coordinated by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
In 1998, Deripaska established Volnoe Delo, Russia's largest private charity foundation. The fund supports over 400 initiatives across Russia aimed at developing education and science, preserving spiritual and cultural heritage, and improving standards in public health. It helps children, old people, talented youths, teachers, eminent scientists and other participants of the programs. For the last seven years the total budget of more than 400 charitable programs has been increased 17 times to over 8.5 billion roubles.
In February 2014 Deripaska financed the construction of makeshift kennels to house stray dogs that had been abandoned by building workers after completion of work at the Sochi Olympic Village. Officials had employed a company to eradicate the animals stating the number of strays was in excess of 2,000 and presented a risk of rabies. Approximately 150 were saved and others were re-homed.
On 24 November 2006, Michael Cherney brought legal action against Deripaska in the Commercial Court of the High Court in London. Cherney sought a declaration that he was the beneficial owner of 20% of RUSAL stock which, he claimed, Deripaska held in trust for him. The claim was denied. On 3 May 2007, Mr Justice Langley ruled that Deripaska had not been properly served and that the court had no jurisdiction to try the claim as Deripaska was not domiciled in England or Wales.
On 3 July 2008, Mr Justice Christopher Clarke ruled that the case should be tried in England, although "the natural forum for this litigation is Russia", because, he held, "risks inherent in a trial in Russia ... are sufficient to make England the forum in which the case can most suitably be tried in the interest of both parties and the ends of justice". On 22 July 2008, he granted Deripaska leave to appeal. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales refused the appeal on 31 July 2009.
At a June 2011 case management conference, the judge deferred a decision on whether Cherney would be allowed to give evidence by video link from Israel rather than appear in person as an outstanding Interpol arrest warrant meant he would be detained if he travelled to the UK. In late July 2011, the High Court ruled that Cherney may give evidence at the trial by video link from Israel and set trial for April 2012.
In September 2012, Cherney terminated his UK lawsuit against Deripaska.
Legal investigations in Spain and the United Kingdom
In July 2006, whilst Deripaska was involved in a bid to buy the Daimler Chrysler Group, it was reported that the United States canceled his entry visa; the unnamed official declined to give a reason for the revoking of the visa. The Wall Street Journal reported that it could have been because Deripaska has been accused of having links to organized crime in Russia and cited as their sources two unnamed U.S. law enforcement officials. Deripaska had received a multiple-entry visa in 2005; a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman refused to comment. Lobbying on his behalf had been done by former Senate Republican leader and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole and his Alston & Bird law partners, Senate records show. Alston & Bird was paid about US$260,000 in 2005 for work on "Department of State visa policies and procedures" tied to Deripaska.
In 2009 Deripaska was again allowed entry and visited the USA twice; The Wall Street Journal reported that according to two unnamed FBI administration officials Deripaska had met with agents regarding a continuing criminal probe, the details of the probe were not known or reported. During Deripaska's visits he visited leading management figures from investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley . The Aluminum company that Deripaska heads, United Company RUSAL, was in preparations for an initial public offering. The easing of Deripaska's visa issues which were an issue for possible investors helped to reassure bankers. The State Department has never said why it revoked his visa and refused to comment on his 2009 visits. The visits were arranged outside of the usual process as the US continues to have concerns about Deripaska's business associations. Deripaska has repeatedly denied a connection to any organized crime and said business rivals have caused the visa to be revoked by smearing him. When interviewed by the BBC in July 2009, Deripaska said that the authorities in America had been attempting to blackmail him by revoking his visa and thus affecting possible investors in a negative way and thereby hoping to push Deripaska into cooperating with them.
According to an article in El Mundo, Deripaska and Iskander Makhmudov (head of UGMK) were asked by Spanish police to answer questions in relation to a money-laundering enquiry. The Spanish state prosecutor's office subsequently confirmed Deripaska's interrogation.
On 25 January 2010, the Financial Times published a story "Rusal: A lingering heat" exploring Deripaska's business relations with Sergei Popov and Anton Malevsky, alleged heads of Russian organized crime groups. Deripaska has accused Michael Chernoy of using Malevsky and the Izmailovskaya syndicate to extort US$250 million from him as part of a protection racket. However Deripaska has himself been accused of having similar links to Malevsky, who, with his brother Andrei, owned a 10% stake in Deripaska's company. Deripaska denies the claims.
In November 2011, Spain's High Court sent the criminal cases against Deripaska to the Russian General Prosecutor's office because the root of the cases is Russian.
Relationship with politicians
Deripaska, who is a friend of Nathaniel Rothschild (a major investor in both United Company RUSAL and Glencore), together with Rothschild, hosted George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and a friend of Rothschild's from school and university, and Peter Mandelson on Deripaska's yacht in Corfu in the summer of 2008. There was considerable controversy over the relationship between Mandelson and Deripaska after it emerged that Mandelson had spent time on Deripaska's yacht.
Mandelson, then EU Trade Commissioner, had presided over the reduction of EU aluminium tariffs, which benefitted Deripaska and led many to suggest there was a conflict of interest and even that Mandelson had intervened in EU policy on the aluminium tycoon's behalf. Mandelson denied this. In response to the allegations, David O'Sullivan, Director-General for Trade, European Commission, wrote a letter to The Sunday Times in which he stated:
I am very surprised by the allegations in the British press about Peter Mandelson, Oleg Deripaska and aluminium. The claims hint at Mandelson's personal intervention, in his capacity of European commissioner for trade, in favour of the Russian aluminium company Rusal. I would like to clarify that no such intervention took place. One allegation relates to a nine-year debate in the EU over tariffs on raw aluminium. The other relates to anti-dumping duties on Russian aluminium. In both instances, decisions were made after the usual consultation procedures.
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