Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have been fighting to become the world’s richest person. But the true winner might actually be Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yes, according to the Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder, Putin is richer than both Mr Gates and Mr Bezos combined.
Browder told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as per reported by The Atlantic, “I estimate that Putin has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains from these types of operations over his 17 years in power. He keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation.
Browder’s firm Hermitage Capital was one of the largest investment advisers in Russia with more than $4 billion invested in Russian stocks from 1996 to 2005.
July 2003-The Year That Changed Everything
In July 2003, Putin’s administration arrested Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Seeing this other businessman, oligarchs (in Russia rich business leader normally designated as oligarch) went to Putin and asked him what he needed to do a compromise.
Putin answered: “Fifty percent.” What it meant was 50 percent for Vladimir Putin personally. From that moment on, Putin became the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world.
Browder further said: “There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who is given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property.”
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