Viktor Vekselberg is a Russian businessman and a self-made billionaire. He is the owner, as well as the president of Renova Group, which is one of Russia’s largest corporations. Vekselberg is currently the 4th richest person in Russia and the 52nd richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
Even though some reports indicate that Vekselberg was born in Lviv, some irrefutable reports indicate that he was born in April 14, 1957 in Drohobych, Ukraine. He later joined the Moscow Transportation Engineering Institute, where he graduated from in 1979. Afterward, he was employed at a state-owned pump manufacturer where he worked as a research manager and engineer.
Today, Vekselberg is the owner and president of Renova Group, which is a strategic investor in Swiss companies and one of the largest corporations in Russia. Vekselberg is also ranked among the wealthiest people in Russia with an estimated net worth of $15.1 billion. According to Forbes, He is the 4th richest person in the country, and the 52nd richest person in the world.
Vekselberg founded NPO Komvek in 1988, soon after restrictions on private businesses were removed by the Gorbachev administration. Two years later, he co-founded Renova Group with Leonard Blavantnik, who was his classmate in college and friend. Vekselberg’s company, Komvek, owned about 67% of Renovo, while Blavantnik’s company, Access Industries, owned the remaining share.
In 1993, Vekselberg gained financial benefits from the privatization of the aluminium industry in the country under the Yeltsin administration. Three years later, he co-founded Siberian-Urals Aluminium through the merger of the Irkutsk and Ural Aluminium plants. SUAL was later incorporated into United Company RUSAL, which is the world’s largest aluminium company.
Using monies generated by his aluminium business, Vekselberg bought a minority interest in Tyumen Oil (TNK), which is one of the largest oil and gas corporations in Russia. In 1997, he acquired a controlling interest in the company (Tyumen) and was appointed a member of the board of directors. One year later, he was appointed the Chairman of the Board.
Vekselberg is currently running a massive reorganization of his assets: the incorporation of several telecommunications and electricity investments, the merger of Revona’s aluminium possessions with those of Oleg Deripaska, as well as the division of property with Leonard Blavatnik.
Vekselberg is married to Marina, and together they have a son and a daughter. Besides being a businessman, Vekselberg is an avid art collector. He is the world’s largest owner of 15 Faberge eggs, 9 of them being from the Forbes publishing family. He confessed that he spent more than $100 million on the purchase of the 9 eggs.
In 2009, Vekselberg was put under a criminal investigation by the Swiss Federal Finance Department after it was alleged that he had violated security laws. The Swizz authorities fined Vekselberg $38mln in accordance with those allegations. In 2008, Vekselberg was involved in the sale of the former Hungary embassy building to the Russian government. Investigations showed that the there were several invalid and backdated documents that suggested a collusion. However, a criminal investigation against Vekselberg was opened only recently (August 2013).
Interesting Facts about Vekselberg
He shares his birthday (April 14) with Anderson Silver (UFC middleweight Champion) and Da Brat (female rapper). He was born the same year (1956) as Mel Gibson, Randy Jackson, David Caruso and Tom Hanks.
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