Post Tagged with: "Russia"

 
  • Bill Browder and Hermitage Fund by Peter Ireland

    Bill Browder of the Hermitage Fund tells the story of how he got started as a deal-maker right after college as well as how he came close to losing it all in 1990s post-Soviet Russia.   I’ll provide a bit of background so that you understand the video better.   Looking for Growth Opportunities in The Sale of the Century   This is a story for your “If it sounds too good to be true” file.   After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the greatest theft in history unfolded as Russian president Boris Yeltsin raced to “privatize” the country’s wealth. Rather than going with a gradual and orderly privatization, which would allow overseers to spot and learn from mistakes, he recklessly chose to put everything on the auction block at once. If this wasn’t bad enough, at the time Russian natural and industrial assets were typically valued at 1% to 10% of their counterparts in the west.   What made an already bad process worse is that Yeltsin and other government officials then manipulated affairs so that a small group of opportunists could seize control of the jewels of Russia’s economy: oil & gas companies, industrials, and media companies, literally for pennies on the dollar. Yeltsin was driven in part out of a need to build a powerful alliance of wealthy businessmen who would then pay him back by supporting his second run for the presidency. Yeltsin’s first term was such an unmitigated disaster that the hated communists looked as if they might be voted back into power by the masses.   This small group of men, who became billionaires almost overnight, came to be known as The Oligarchs because they ruled Russia as a committee along with the inept and drunkardly Yeltsin. By the later 1990s, the damage was done. Practically all of Russia’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of two dozen, or so, oligarchs, while the rest of the population suffered greatly from the total economic collapse. At that point Russia had sunk to Third World status in terms of economic and living conditions.   In contrast, the oligarchs used transfer pricing scams to export natural resources, such as oil & gas and minerals, out of the country at Russian prices and then sell them at prevailing world prices for a quick 900% profit.Most of the profits then disappeared into Swiss bank accounts which paid for villas in Monaco and yachts.   Over the past month or so I have read two fascinating books about what happened in Russia after the collapse of communism. The first book was The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia by David Hoffman. I am just now finishing off the final chapter of Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism by the late Paul Klebnikov. I say “late” because an unknown party executed him in 2004 in Moscow, as he was leaving his employer’s (Forbes) offices.   During the 1990s western bankers, businessmen, and investors tried […]

     
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  • On The Money: Eying Russia’s Economy

    On The Money: Eying Russia’s Economy As the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum approaches, economists are assessing Russia’s prospects. Does Russia have an optimum growth strategy?  

     
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  • Tuscany Jumps Into Race for Russian Billionaires

    Tuscany Jumps Into Race for Russian Billionaires Italy is battling France to become the new playground for Russia’s billionaires as Europe‘s luxury destinations seek buyers of property and companies to weather the debt crisis.  

     
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  • The World’s Richest Teenager

    It’s the high life for Mark Dolan as he flies to Dubai to meet one of the world’s richest teenagers.  

     
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  • Russia Gets a New Richest Man

    Russia Gets a New Richest Man Viktor Vekselberg is now the richest man in Russia. The founder of Moscow-based Renova Group, a closely held conglomerate that controls investments in energy, construction and mining, added $1.5 billion to his net worth yesterday after OAO Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil and gas operator, agreed to pay $54.8 billion to acquire TNK-BP in the third-biggest oil acquisition ever.  

     
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