According to Forbes at least 15 Russian billionaires found a way to get in on the 2018 World Cup, which begins in their homeland on June 14. They either received state contracts — just 6 of them control the companies that collected nearly $7 billion to construct or repair facilities and transportation infrastructure — or invested money to do things like run ticketing systems and provide internet availability in stadiums.
An estimated 1.2 million soccer fans will travel to and from 11 host cities for the month-long event. And while watchdog NGOs are calling this period the worst human rights crisis in Russia since the Soviet era due to Kremlin-sanctioned crackdowns on human rights defenders, migrant workers and the LGBTQ community, Putin’s billionaire pals will fare just fine. As the dollar figures alone indicate, in Russia, the same old cronies are getting richer yet again.
Net worths are Forbes estimates as of June 8, 2018.
Viktor Vekselberg, aluminum baron tied to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
Net worth: $13.6 billion
Vekselberg, who reportedly had ties to an investment firm that paid $500,000 to an LLC owned by Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, was sanctioned earlier this year for his alleged role in promoting Russia’s subversive agenda abroad. Back at home, his firm Airports of Regions spent $560 million to renovate airports in four World Cup host cities: Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don and Samara.
Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s onetime judo-partner
Net worth: $2.6 billion
No one landed a bigger payday. Rotenberg runs contractor Mostotrest, which owns a subsidiary that received over $4 billion in state contracts for a 425-mile highway connecting St. Petersburg and Moscow. But the highway won’t be finished in time for the sporting event. His company also received just another $1 billion to renovate three airports
Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Alexei Kuzmichev, Pyotr Aven, tied to the “Trump Dossier”
Net worths: $13.6 billion, $8.8 billion, $6.8 billion, $4.7 billion
Fridman, Khan and Kuzmichev were former college classmates who in 1989 founded Alfa Group, a diversified outfit that controls Alfa-Bank, the largest non-state owned bank in Russia. Aven joined later in 1994 as President of Alfa-Bank. With 745 offices and branches throughout Europe, Alfa-Bank is a sponsor of the event and will support FIFA on all ticketing sales in exchange for billboard advertising during matches.
In late 2017 Fridman, Khan and Aven sued Fusion GPS, the Washington D.C.-based opposition research firm behind the “Trump Dossier,” for defamation. The dossier claims the three billionaires worked with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 presidential elections. Fusion GPS filed a motion to dismiss the case in January, claiming the research it conducted was not defamatory. The case is still pending.
Aras Agalarov, met with Trump when Miss Universe was held in Moscow
Net worth: $1.7 billion
His Crocus Group was awarded $580 million in state contracts to erect two stadiums in host cities Kaliningrad and Rostov-on-Don. Agalarov also has a Trump connection: he met with Trump in November 2013 when the Miss Universe competition was hosted in Agalarov’s Crocus City Hall in Moscow. The developer’s son told Forbes there were plans to build a Trump Tower in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential elections, but the Trump Organization denies this.
Gennady Timchenko, sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014
Net worth: $16.6 billion
Timchenko is the majority shareholder of engineering-and-construction firm Stroytransgaz, which received $530 million in state contracts to construct 45,000-seat stadiums in two cities hosting matches: Volgograd, in southern Russia, and Nizhny Novgorod, seven hours east of Moscow. Timchenko was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014 at the height of the Crimea annexation crisis due to his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alisher Usmanov, controls one of Russia’s largest phone companies
Net worth: $13 billion
Usmanov, who made his first fortune producing plastic bags in the former Soviet Union, is a main shareholder of USM Holdings, which controls telecommunications provider MegaFon. The telecom company received $680 million in state contracts to provide internet and communications infrastructure to all 11 stadiums and all training camps for the 32 teams descending upon Russia for the games.
Leonid Fedun, former military man turned oil executive
Net worth: $7.3 billion
Fedun is president of FC Spartak Moscow, known as the “people’s team,” one of Russia’s most popular soccer clubs. Fedun spent a reported $500 million to renovate the team’s home stadium in Moscow, where World Cup matches will be hosted. He owns nearly 10% of energy conglomerate Lukoil, which he helped privatize in the 1990s.
Dmitry Kamenschik, airport billionaire
Net worth: $3.4 billion
Kamenschik owns Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, which invested $690 million on renovations in preparation for the World Cup. The airport will have a special service system for athletes and officials traveling through the airport during the international sporting event, including separate boarding and resting areas for athletes only.
Alexander Ponomarenko, Alexander Skorobogatko, construction partners
Net worths: $3.3 billion, $3.3 billion
The two Alexanders first partnered on a small perfume factory in Ukraine. They moved on to banking and sea ports before winning a tender in 2013 to develop Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, which had the most passenger traffic (nearly 41 million) of all Russian airports in 2017. They invested a reported $680 million on airport renovations for the influx of soccer fans, including a new passenger terminal and a multi-level parking garage.
Roman Trotsenko, owns 14 airports in Russia
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Trotsenko founded Aeon Corporation in 2007; it manages the Moscow Steamship Line, several river ports and 14 airports around the country. His airport holding company, Novoport, invested $190 million in renovating airports in Volgograd and Kaliningrad, both of which are World Cup host cities.
Dmitry Pumpyansky, controls pipe conglomerate
Net worth: $1.6 billion
The construction subsidiary of his Sinara Group spent $190 million to renovate Ekaterinburg Arena, a 65-year-old stadium that will host matches during the World Cup. Pumpyansky started as a trader before teaming up with billionaires Sergei Popov and Andrei Melnichenko to acquire pipe conglomerate TMK in the early 2000s. He bought out the other two in 2006 and counts Gazprom, the state-owned energy company with the world’s largest natural gas reserves, as one of his customers.
African most Passion-Driven Social Entrepreneur
Allow us present to you the African most Passion-Driven Social Entrepreneur. Iamafropreneur team with intense focus on her gathered the most in a unique interview with Mrs Fotabe Elmine. Our goal is to have you motivated, encourage and intensify you taste and hunger towards influencing and impacting the lives of the African communities through your entrepreneurial skills.
Who is Fotabe Elmine, how did you start your career, what kind of education did you have ?
Fotabe Elmine is a passion-driven Social Entrepreneur, lecturer and corporate trainer who believes that young people and women with the right training are the future of the African continent. Elmine was born in Kumba, South West Region of Cameroon, where she grew up and attended most of her primary and secondary school. Elmine’s father was a businesses man, and her mother a civil servant/Politician.
Elmine began her professional career as a teacher of Entrepreneurship in 2008 and has since then taught over 5000 students, courses like Human Resource Management, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Business Leadership, Personal Branding and more. She has also trained hundreds of corporate employees all over the country. In 2009, she founded Job Shop, a human resource consulting and placement agency.
In 2011, Job Shop became a partnership and grew to serve clients, not only in Human Resources Management, but also in Finance. The firm expanded that same year and the partners created a Higher Institute of Learning. When the vision of the Organization began derailing from her initial vision, Elmine took the bold step of leaving an organization she created and worked hard to nurture for six years! A few months later, in December 2014, Elmine founded Fotabe University College, which later became Fotabe Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy. In 2015, she founded an association called “Association for the promotion of decent work for women and girls (ASSPRODEC).” That same year, she founded and Fotabe Universal Higher Institute of Cameroon. In 2016, Elmine founded a web platform to enable young people from all over the country have access to FREE examination preparation lessons and materials. Fotabe Elmine holds two Masters Degrees. One in Human Resource Management and another in Marketing and Communication from Rome Business School. She also holds an Associate degree in Business Administration, and honours group Diploma in Mnagement
and Administration, a Certificate in Psychology and Mental health, and is currently undertaking and MBA in Finance. This Mbo native from the Kupe Muanenguba Division of the South West Region of Cameroon spends her free time talking to neighbours about he kingdom of God.
You are one of the most outstanding women in Cameroon with different portfolio what is your secret?
My secret is my appreciation for the creator’s gift of intelligence, my passion for the things I believe in, and my desire to work hard in order to bring out the best in others. I am very convinced that Cameroon has the potentials, not only in terms of natural resources, but most especially in terms of Human capital, to emerge.
3- What are your challenges and successes?
Well, the greatest challenge I deal with is not having the financial means to touch all the lives I’d love to touch. Besides the financial constraint, I am also seriously challenged by the mentality of the young people and the families I try to support. Many of them plainly do not believe an individual like myself can bring any meaningful and lasting contribution to their existence. They trust the government to do it. However, staying consistent to our mission is gradually changing their mindset of many. I’ve had many successes I’m thankful for. Top amongst them is the fact that I’ve been able to share my passion, knowledge and experience with thousands of young people and corporate entrepreneurs. I’m happy to
have helped small businesses to grow and thrive. Even though the current crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon have slowed down our work, I’m particularly happy I led the initiative called “Kansas Hill” aimed at making Bamenda the most Socially Responsible city in the Country.
We provided a FREE internet-equipped space for young people to enable them develop their knowledge and passion in social Entrepreneurship. I’m also happy to have helped women and young people discover their full potential. But most especially, I’m thankful I am lending my little contribution to encourage women and girls to take back their dignity by raising my voice against illegal migration to some Middle Eastern countries and to other countries in the world where women’s rights are not respected.
You are the initiator and organiser of FELA’s Entrepreneurial leadership forum, what are your objectives?
Simply to inspire and train young people to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. I believe that Africa needs to focus on raising more entrepreneurial leaders.
I want every young person who attends the forum to understand that and to put it into
use. And so far, the almost 400 youths who have passed through the forum are creating
great impact in their communities.
What advice do you have for our readers and the young girls who want to follow your path?
My advice to young girls: “You have enormous potentials. Work hard, do what you’re
passionate about. Keep your dignity and do not be afraid to stand up for what is right. And
remember the most successful woman is the woman who helps other women to be successful.”
To young people all around the country, be responsible, law abiding and daring. We have a country to build. If not us, who? If not now, when?
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