22:45 | 02/03/2022 Print
|Top 100 Richest Ukrainians 2022|
The assets of Ukrainian billionaires and millionaires have evaporated since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Before the war broke out, the number of millionaires and billionaires in Ukraine increased dramatically.
The top 100 richest Ukrainians list includes several newcomers from the IT industry, whose fortunes amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
76 participants of the first hundred have increased their wealth over the year. Their wealth surged by 42%, to USD 44.5 bln. Hence, the entry ticket to the TOP 100 went up by a third, to USD 125 mln.
In addition, the list is 21%: 14 participants entered the TOP 100 for the first time, while seven returned after a while. Among the newcomers, the highest representation is in IT and energy businesses.
Three other Ukrainian-born billionaires based outside the country—Vlad Yatsenko, founder of U.K.-based fintech Revolut, and Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn, cofounders of grammar checking tool Grammarly—have also yet to comment on the events in their birth country. Yatsenko lives in London, while Lytvyn and Shevchenko are both Canadian citizens. A spokesperson for Grammarly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For much of the last eight years, the argument for Ukraine remaining in Russia’s orbit was largely an economic one. That was already changing as businesses moved to the West, but Russia’s bombing of Ukrainian cities likely ended any kind of public support for stronger ties with its eastern neighbor, both among billionaires and the general public.
At the top of the ranking, like in the last year, comes Rinat Akhmetov, whose fortune is valued at $11.5B (to put this into context: last year, Akhmetov’s wealth was estimated at nearly just half as much, $6.6m). The top 5 also include Viktor Pinchuk ($2.6B), Vadym Novynskyi ($2.44B), Petro Poroshenko ($1.52B), and Kostyantyn Zhivago ($1.497B).
The son of a coal miner, Akhmetov got his start buying up mining assets during a wave of privatizations in Ukraine in the 1990s. While visiting Mariupol last week, the billionaire revealed he hadn’t visited his hometown of Donetsk since it was taken by Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
While Akhmetov still makes a lot of money in Russia—Metinvest’s Russian arm, Metinvest Eurasia, has branches or sales offices in 11 Russian cities—he has increasingly turned towards Europe and Western markets in recent years, mirroring Ukraine’s national politics. Past tensions between him and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, seem to be easing. In January, two months after Zelensky claimed Akhmetov and other oligarchs were plotting a coup against him, the Ukrainian government repaid Akhmetov’s renewable-energy company more than $100 million in debt for power the firm had produced.
Ultimately, Akhmetov may have a lot to gain from Ukraine deepening its realignment towards the West and away from Russia, especially in the realm of renewables. While Ukraine is home to pipelines that transport Russian natural gas to Western Europe, its flat plains make it ideal for wind energy. Akhmetov’s largest asset in the sector is DTEK Renewables, which operates six wind and solar power plants in Ukraine, including Ukraine’s largest wind farm, on the shores of the Sea of Azov, west of Mariupol.
Still, Akhmetov’s assets in Russia could be under threat now that war has broken out. “Russia can confiscate any assets belonging to Ukrainian tycoons on its territory,” Berezovets said. “They can do it very easily, even without any court decisions, just by a simple decree.”
Pinchuk, 60, whose assets span from steelworks to media, saw his net worth almost double over the past year from $1.4 billion to $ 2.6 billion. Interpipe, his main business asset which produces steel pipes and railway wheels, is worth $500 million.
Pinchuk also owns Star Light Media Holding, which controls nearly 20% of Ukraine’s television market.
The most pro-Russian of Ukraine’s oligarchs, Novinsky presented a draft resolution to the Ukrainian parliament on February 21 that proposed negotiations with members of Russia’s parliament to de-escalate the crisis and guarantee sustainable peace between Russia and Ukraine.
The resolution proposed formulating a common position to prevent further escalation and reduce military tensions, including the establishment of a representative group of Russian and Ukrainian legislators. It also called for Ukraine to work with its international partners and urge them to return their diplomats to Kyiv. The U.S., the U.K., Germany, and several other Western countries temporarily relocated their embassies to Lviv, a city near the western border with Poland, over the past week.
As recently as late January, Novinsky had cast doubts on the prospect of a Russian takeover of Ukraine, including the veracity of a British intelligence report that cited a potential Russian coup that would replace Ukraine’s elected authorities with a government led by pro-Russia lawmaker Yevhen Murayev. In an interview with the Financial Times, Novinsky called those reports “complete nonsense,” adding that “the only way there’s going to be a puppet government is if there’s an invasion.”
Known as the “chocolate king” for founding Roshen, Ukraine’s largest confectionery group, Poroshenko was elected president in May 2014, two months after Russia annexed Crimea. He emerged as one of Russia’s fiercest critics and built closer ties with the West, signing a long-delayed association agreement with the European Union a month after taking office.
The country’s fifth president, currently a lawmaker and leader of the 27-member European Solidarity faction in parliament, owns Roshen, the country’s top confectionery company. Poroshenko is also the official owner of the opposition TV channel “Pryamy.”
The majority owner of London-listed Ferrexpo ore mining group, the 47-year old cannot set foot on Ukrainian soil. In 2019, the Prosecutor General’s Office declared him internationally wanted for embezzling $90 million through his bank Finance and Credit. Since then, the businessman has run affairs remotely. In 2020, Ferrexpo’s earnings increased by 46% to $859 million.
Halyna and Oleksandr Gerega are co-chairmen of the political party «Za Konkretni Spravi», founded in 2015. The head of the political force is Volodymyr Povovroznyk, a former police chief and mayor of Horodok, Khmelnytskyi region.
According to the official declaration, Gerega family has 37.25 hectares of land in Novosilky village, Kyiv region, and 13 sq.m. of land and a mansion (240 sq.m) in Mala Oleksandrivka village, Boryspil district, Kyiv region
Apart from that, they own three mansions and 45 sq.m. of land in Spain, another 14.5 sq.m. of land, two houses, and three apartments (888 m2, 302 m2, 189 m2) in Kyiv, and one in the Horodok, Khmelnytskyi region. Halyna has two cars: BMW and Porsche.
One of the first oligarchs to push Ukraine in a pro-European direction, Kolomoyskyy—an oil baron who first made his fortune in banking—reportedly spent millions funding and equipping volunteer military battalions to help stop Russian troops in 2014. He also agreed to become governor of his native Dnipro region, serving in the role from March 2014 until March 2015, when he was fired by Ukraine’s then-president, fellow billionaire Petro Poroshenko.
But five years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Kolomoyskyy apparently had a change of heart. He began urging Ukraine to switch its allegiance to Russia, accusing the West of providing insufficient economic and military support to Ukraine. “We have to improve our relations,” he told the New York Times in 2019. “People want peace, a good life, they don’t want to be at war. And [Americans] are forcing us to be at war, and not even giving us the money for it.”
Once seen as one of the most powerful figures in the nation, he’s since been drawn into court cases in Ukraine, the U.S., and the U.K. over allegations of corruption while he was governor of Dnipro, as well as financial misconduct at PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, which he co-founded in the 1990s with fellow billionaire Henadiy Boholyubov. “He’s sort of a persona non grata at this point,” said Harvard’s Channell-Justice.
Vlad Yatsenko cofounded and runs U.K.-based financial services firm Revolut alongside fellow billionaire Nik Storonsky. Revolut offers current accounts and debit cards through an e-money license in the U.K.; a U.S. license is pending.
The company became the U.K.'s most valuable fintech in July 2021, with an investor-led valuation of $33 billion. Yatsenko, who has dual Ukraine-U.K. citizenship, is Revolut's chief technology officer; he previously built software at UBS, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse.
Gennadiy Bogolyubov is a Ukrainian-born international businessman and entrepreneur. He also created and funds the Bogolyubov Foundation, a privately-run charity that caters to a wide array of Jewish projects around the world.
His interests have long stepped over the borders of Ukraine and spread to the whole world. The Ukrainian crisis, which began in 2014, crippled the state of national financial leaders. Today, according to the rating "TOP-100. The richest people in Ukraine, ”published by Focus magazine in April 2016, G. Bogolyubov is in third place. Its total capital is estimated at $ 1,400 million. Since 2014, he managed to avoid losses and failures but failed to increase capital.
Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who made a fortune in the natural gas trade, is perhaps the most enigmatic figure in the scandal that has played a key role in President Donald Trump's impeachment.
A billionaire with alleged ties to the Russian mob, Firtash is facing bribery-related charges in the U.S. and fighting extradition from Vienna. He once attempted to buy and redevelop the famous Drake Hotel in New York with the now-incarcerated Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman. And he's seen by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and Western governments as a corrupt instrument of Russia.
Exactly why the money was sent to the wife of Parnas — the former Trump donor and Rudy Giuliani associate who has since turned on the president — is unclear. But Firtash provided key documents that Giuliani used to further his discredited claim that former Vice President Joe Biden engaged in wrongdoing in Ukraine.
Richest Ukrainians With Billions in The Ukraina - Russia War
It was just last week that Ukrainian billionaires Rinat Akhmetov and Vadim Novinsky traveled to the frontline city of Mariupol to tell Metinvest Group mining and steel-making employees they were getting bumps in pay.
“We believe in Mariupol, we believe in Ukraine,” said Akhmetov, the country’s richest person, whose holdings include the mining conglomerate headquartered there. “We’ll continue working, we’ll continue building, we’ll continue investing.”
Mariupol was under heavy shelling Thursday as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an attack on Ukraine. Putin had previously telegraphed his interest in Mariupol, a port city home to nearly half a million people after Russian troops invaded eastern Ukraine’s separatist regions, Donetsk and Luhansk. Mariupol sits on the Sea of Azov, inside the larger borders claimed by the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.
Much of the world’s focus has been on the Russian oligarchs and their potential losses due to international sanctions. Already, on Thursday, Russian stocks have plummeted. But Ukraine’s half-dozen or so billionaires have as much and likely more to lose from armed conflict. According to Forbes Ukraine, the value of any assets held in the separatist-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk had likely tumbled by as much as 40% in the days leading up to the attack, while holdings elsewhere in the country had lost at least 20%. By Thursday, the situation was much direr.
While some Ukrainian billionaires initially fled the country, they returned in recent days to show their support. “They realized that Putin presents a clear threat to all of Ukraine, and their assets as well,” said Taras Berezovets, a Ukrainian political analyst and TV host. “He doesn’t care about Ukrainian oligarchs or to what extent they have been loyal to him. Everybody understands that any Ukrainian now, including tycoons, are enemies of Putin's regime.”
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