Rank : 3 Worth : £10,300m
Roman Abramovich was born on 24th October 1966 in Saratov on the Volga River in Southern Russia. His mother died when he was 18 months old and his father was killed in a construction accident when Roman was age 4. He was adopted by his father’s brother and lived for a time in Moscow, and then with his grandparents in the Northern region of Komi.
Roman was drafted into the Soviet army and after service finished concentrated his business activities on trading oil products out of Russia’s largest refinery in Omsk, western Siberia. In 1992 he was investigated and cleared for alleged misappropriation of 55 railroad wagons full of diesel fuel from the Ukhtinsky petroleum processing plant. Undaunted his business empire grew, incorporating a controlling interest in Russian oil giant Sibneft, as well as shares in national airline Aeroflot, and a television company, among other holdings, through Millhouse Capital, registered in Britain.
Roman founded the charitable foundation Pole of Hope, which sends children to summer camps and sends shipments of food aid to Chukotkan villages. Possibly this led to him being elected a member of the Durma (Russian Parliament) representing that remote region of Chukotka, and in 2001 was elected governor of that area.
By 2003 Forbes magazine listed Roman as the 49th richest person in the world, with a new worth of $5.7billion (£3.42bn), while the Sunday Times claim he is worth £3.8bn. In July of the same year he agreed a deal with Chelsea owner Ken Bates to buy his majority shareholding in the Barclaycard Premiership club for £29.6million and also agrees to underwrite their substantial debts of Chelsea Village. Rivals nickname the football club ’Chelski’, but they now face a future debt free, and can concentrate on what matters, the beautiful game.
A £155m divorce settlement was small change for Abramovich, 40, whose split from his second wife Irina.. Abramovich, who spends most of his time in Britain, started in Moscow making cheap plastic products. His career took off when he bought the Sibneft oil company with Boris Berezovsky (qv) in 1995 for about £120m. Ten years later Sibneft was sold to Gazprom, earning Abramovich and his partners about £7.5 billion. The vast majority of that went to Abramovich.
He has another £1 billion of holdings in other areas of Russian industry including pharmaceuticals. Dividends and sales of stakes in his other operations, such as aluminium holdings, add another £2 billion. Football fan Abramovich, who has spent £500m-plus since acquiring Chelsea in 2003 , can relax on three yachts — and there’s another under construction.
In June 2003, he became the owner of the companies that control Chelsea Football Club in the United Kingdom. His wealth often allows the club to purchase players virtually at will although that has changed in recent years. He did however sanction the transfer of Andriy Shevchenko for a then British record transfer fee of around £30 million.
In the year ending June 2005, Chelsea posted record losses of £140 million and the club is not expected to record a trading profit before 2010, though this did decrease to reported losses of £80.2 million year ending June 2006.
In January 2011, Spanish footballer Fernando Torres completed his move to Chelsea on a five-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee reported to be £50 million, which set a new record for a British transfer and made him the fourth most expensive footballer in history.
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