Hard times for Russian billionaires: for a long time they were welcome partners and investors in Europe. That changed abruptly with the Ukraine war. The case of what was once the richest Russian, Alexey Mordashov, shows how badly the sanctions hit them.
Billionaire Alexey Mordashov, the richest man in Russia before the war, has complained about heavy losses from Western sanctions. "We at Severstal lost a little more than 400 million dollars - they got stuck in Europe, were confiscated as goods and cash reserves," said the 57-year-old. At the same time, he complained that it was very difficult to return export earnings to the country.
Before the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Mordashov topped the Forbes list of Russian billionaires. Because of his interests in a bank and a media holding, both of which are considered to be close to the Kremlin, Mordashov was one of the first to be put on the western sanctions lists. The "Forbes" magazine therefore downgraded him to fifth place in April. His estimated net worth is said to have fallen to $13.2 billion from $29.1 billion last year.
The billionaire described the sanctions against him as unfair and sees himself far from politics. In Germany, before the war, Mordaschow was the largest single shareholder in the tourism group TUI, with a stake of 34 percent. Because of the sanctions, he ceded 29.9 percent to a company owned by his wife Marina Mordashova.
In addition to Severstal's assets, Mordashov's personal belongings in Europe were also confiscated, including a luxury yacht. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen demanded that Russia and the Russian oligarchs compensate Ukraine for the consequences of the war and pay for the reconstruction of the devastated neighboring country.