- Alisher Usmanov is among the Russian oligarchs hit by Western sanctions after the country invaded Ukraine.
- Usmanov founded USM Holdings, had a 30% stake in Arsenal, and owns a $600 million (R9 billion) superyacht.
- But his wealth dropped after he was sanctioned. The EU says he's one of "Putin's favorite oligarchs."
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Alisher Usmanov is one of Russia's richest people and believed to be a close personal ally of President Vladimir Putin.
But his wealth has started plummeting following a series of sanctions against Russia's elite in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine. According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Usmanov's net worth has fallen by nearly a quarter since 22 February, as a fresh batch of Western sanctions on Russian banks and entities began to shake the country's economy.
Usmanov said that the sanctions were based on "false and defamatory allegations" and that he would use "all legal means" to protect his reputation.
Who is Alisher Usmanov?
Usmanov first started amassing his fortune before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when he set up a business selling plastic bags, which were in high demand.
He's since founded, invested in, or served on the board of dozens of companies. He was general director of Gazprom Investholding from 2000 to 2014. He bought Russian business newspaper Kommersant in 2006 and owns real-estate developer Khimki Group.
Usmanov owns 49% of USM Holdings, which he founded in 2012 "to streamline and consolidate" some of his projects. The investment group has interests in metals, mining, and telecoms, and owns Metalloinvest — which claims to be Russia's largest iron ore producer — as well as the Russian telecommunications company MegaFon.
Usmanov sold a 30% stake in English soccer club Arsenal in 2018. USM Holdings sponsors Everton's training ground and paid £30 million for the naming rights for its new stadium. Everton is owned by Farhad Moshiri, the chairman and a shareholder of USM Holdings.
Usmanov is one of 'Putin's favorite oligarchs'
The EU said Usmanov has "particularly close ties" to the Kremlin, calling him one of "Putin's favorite oligarchs." It added that former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had previously made "personal use" of properties controlled by Usmanov and that the Kommersant took a "manifestly pro-Kremlin stance" after Usmanov bought it.
The EU also said Usmanov "actively supported" the Russian government's policies of the destabilisation of Ukraine.
Usmanov owns a 512-foot yacht, Dilbar, which the US Treasury says is one of the world's largest superyachts. The vessel has two helicopter pads and a 82-foot swimming pool said to be the largest on any yacht, and the US Treasury reports its estimated value was between $600 million (R9 billion) and $735 million (R11 billion).
Usmanov has also been linked to another yacht worth around $300 million (R4.5 billion) which is currently docked in Sri Lanka. Usmanov bought the yacht — which has reportedly been known as Lady Gulya, Tis, and Alaiya — while Dilbar was being repaired, according to Superyacht Fan.
Usmanov also owns an Airbus A340-300, which the US Treasury says is one of the largest privately owned planes in Russia and is believed to have cost between $350 (R5.2 billion) and $500 million (R7.5 billion). According to the UK Government, Usmanov owns a 32,500-square foot house in London, worth an estimated £48 million (R942 million), as well as a 16th-century manor house.