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Victor Vekselberg

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Victor Vekselberg

Viktor Vekselberg
Born April 14, 1957 (1957-04-14) (age 57)
Western Ukraine
Ethnicity Jewish father; Russian mother
Citizenship  Ukraine,
Alma mater Moscow Transportation Engineering Institute
Occupation Owner and president of the Renova Group
Net worth Increase US $ 15.1 billion
(March 2013)[1]
Religion Russian Orthodox[2]
Spouse(s) married
Children two
Website

Viktor Felixovich Vekselberg (Russian: Виктор Феликсович Вексельберг, Ukrainian: Віктор Феліксович Вексельберг; born April 14, 1957, Drohobych, Ukraine, Soviet Union) is a Ukrainian-born Russian business oligarch. He is the owner and president of Renova Group, a large Russian conglomerate.

Early life and education

Victor Vekselberg was born in 1957 to a Jewish father and a Russian mother[3][4] in Drohobych, Ukraine (although some reports state that he was born in Lviv).[5] In 1979, he graduated from the Moscow Transportation Engineering Institute.[5] Thereafter, he worked as an engineer[6] and research manager at a state-owned pump manufacturer.[5][6]


Career

In 1988, after the Gorbachev administration relaxed restrictions on private business, he founded NPO Komvek which did work for the Irkuksk Aluminum Plant[5] and in 1990, he co-founded Renova Group with college classmate,[5] Leonard Blavatnik.[7] KomVek owned 67% of Renova and Blavatnik’s company Access Industries owned the remainder.[7] He benefited financially from the privatization of the aluminum industry in Russia under the Yeltsin administration in 1993.[5] In 1996, he co-founded the Siberian-Urals Aluminium Company (SUAL) via a merger of the Ural and Irkutsk Aluminum Plants.[7] (SUAL would later be incorporated into United Company RUSAL, the largest aluminum company in the world). Using revenues generated from his aluminum business, he purchased a minority interest in Tyumen Oil (TNK), one of Russia's largest oil and gas companies.[6][8] In 1997, he secured a controlling interest in Tyumen and was appointed to the Board of Directors; in 1998, he was appointed Chairman of the Board.[7] Later, he integrated those and other assets under the umbrella of Renova Group, delegating operating responsibilities to managers.

In 2003, the Renova Group, along with Access Industries (owned by Leonard Blavatnik) and the Alfa Group (owned by Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, and Alexei Kuzmichov) announced the creation of a strategic partnership to jointly hold their oil assets in Russia and Ukraine, forming the AAR consortium. In the same year, they merged AAR with British Petroleum's Russian oil assets in a 50-50 joint venture named TNK-BP, the largest private transaction in Russian history.[9] Acting as a chairman of the executive board of TNK, Vekselberg was instrumental in negotiating and closing the transaction.

Vekselberg is now overseeing a vast restructuring of his assets: the division of property with partner Leonard Blavatnik, the merger of Renova's aluminium assets with those of Oleg Deripaska, and the integration of various electricity and telecommunications investment.

Art Collection

In February 2004, Vekselberg purchased nine of the Fabergé eggs from the Forbes publishing family in New York City.[10] The collection was transported to Russia and exhibited in the Kremlin and in Dubrovnik in 2007. Vekselberg is the single largest owner of these eggs in the world, owning 15 of them (11 Imperial, two Kelch, and two other). In a 2013 BBC Four documentary, Vekselberg revealed he had spent just over $100 Million purchasing the 9 Fabergé eggs.[11] He claims never to have displayed them in his home, saying he bought them as they are important to Russian history and culture, and he believed them to be the best jewelry art in the world. In the same BBC documentary Vekselberg revealed he plans to open a museum which will display the eggs in his collection.[11]

In September 2006, he agreed to pay the approximately $1 million in expenses to transport the Lowell House Bells from Harvard University in the United States back to their original location in the Danilov Monastery and to purchase replacement bells. The historic bells returned to Moscow September 12, 2008, with the assistance of the U.S. Director of the organization, Edward Mermelstein.

Viktor Vekselberg paid £1.7 million for Odalisque, a nude said to be the work of Russian artist Boris Kustodiev but soon after the purchase in 2005, experts working for Mr Vekselberg's arts fund, Aurora, began to cast doubt on the picture's authenticity. They claimed Kustodiev's signature, dated 1919, was done in aluminium based pigment not available until after the artist's death in 1927. Mr Vekselberg sued Christie's and in July 2012 the judge ruled he was entitled to recover the £1.7 million he paid for the painting and Christie's was also ordered to pay around £1 million in costs.[12]

Family

He is married to Marina and has two children, a daughter and a son.[13] Although his father is Jewish, he does not identify with being Jewish[4] and practices the Russian Orthodox faith.[2]

Controversies

  • In April 2009, Swiss Federal Finance Department initiated a criminal investigation against Vekselberg in connection to alleged violations of securities law.[14] As a result of the investigation, Vekselberg was fined $38mln by Swiss authorities.[15]
  • In 2008, Vekselberg proxied a deal between Russian and Hungarian governments, buying the former embassy building from Hungary for $21mln and immediately selling it to the Russian government for $116mln, while the market price of the building was estimated at $50mln. Investigation of the paper trail by Alexey Navalny and the Rospil project has found several invalid and backdated documents,[16] thus suggesting a collusion (e.g. the tender held by the Hungarian side was totally fictive, as the building was already sold by that time). Hungarian officials responsible for the deal (Tátrai Miklós, Marta Horvathne Fekszi and Arpad Szekely) were detained in February 2011.[17] On the Russian side, a criminal investigation was only started in August 2013. [18]

References

External links

  • Forbes:Viktor Vekselberg
  • RENOVA
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