The richest Russian oligarchs have lost almost $95bn this year amid strict sanctions imposed by western nations over the Ukraine war – shedding $330m a day since the Kremlin launched its invasion.
Roman Abramovich, the former Chelsea FC owner, was the biggest loser, with his fortune falling by 57% to $7.8bn this year, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.
Abramovich was one of the first oligarchs to be subjected to UK sanctions, after ministers accused him of having “clear connections” to Putin’s regime and being among a group of rich Russian business people who had “blood on their hands”.
The fortune of Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire energy investor and close friend of Putin, has reduced by 48% to $11.8bn, and Suleiman Kerimov, another of the Russian president’s allies, has lost 41%, dropping to $9bn, according to the index.
The UK government has frozen more than £18bn of assets belonging to oligarchs and other Russians, the first official total recently revealed. Sanctions have been imposed on 1,271 people – including Abramovich and the “Nickel King” Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s second-richest person – according to the annual review of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.
The government said the “most severe sanctions” ever imposed had resulted in the freezing of £18.4bn of Russian-linked assets, which is almost £6bn more than the assets held under all other UK sanction regimes.
In total, the two-dozen rich Russians tracked by the daily updated Bloomberg list have lost about $95bn in 2022.
However, their losses pale in comparison to those nursed by US tech billionaires this year. Elon Musk’s fortune declined by almost 50% to $138bn after a big drop in the value of shares in his electric car company, Tesla. He lost his crown as the world’s richest person in December to France’s Bernard Arnault, the majority owner and chief executive of the luxury group LVMH.
Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune declined by 65% to $45bn as the value of Facebook-owner Meta plunged. He has fallen 19 places on the Bloomberg index, finishing 2022 at 25th, his lowest position since 2014.
In total, the world’s 500 richest people lost almost $1.4tn in 2022.