Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev is the largest shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus, with a 9.9% stake in the company.He may have slept better this weekend when European officials announced that Cypriot banks would get a much-needed bailout, but on the condition that they accept a one-time tax on all deposits.
A lot of those deposits are held by Russian citizens, or Russians who’ve become Cypriot citizens.
But of course, very few of them are as fabulously wealthy with as much at stake as Rybolovlev, who caught Wall Street’s attention last year when he bought ex-Citi CEO Sandy Weill’s $88 million penthouse apartment for his 23 year-old daughter, Ekaterina.
According to Forbes, Rybolovlev is the 119th richest man in the world. He started out his career as a doctor, but abandoned that in 1990 to start Uralkali, a fertiliser company.
In 1996 he was accused (and acquitted) of plotting to kill a business partner and spent 11 months in jail — a slight rough patch. He sold his stake Uralkali in 2010 for $6.5 billion, but still has an investment fund comprised mostly of industrial holdings.
Rybolovlev is also holding a $300 million for a Monaco penthouse called La Belle Epoque, a Hawaiian villa he bought from Will Smith for $20 million, and Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion, Maison de L’Amitie, which he bought for $95 million in 2008.
In 2011 he and other investors bought two-thirds of the Monaco football club, AS Moncao. He also owns a yacht called ‘My Anna’ worth $111 million.Of course, with more money, as we know, there can also be more problems. In 2008 Rybolovlev’s wife filed for one of the most expensive divorces in history.
Elena Rybolovleva also sued her husband in a New York Court and when he bought Weill’s apartment, according to Bloomberg.
She alleged that her husband fraudulently transferred property he got during their marriage to buy the $88 billion penthouse in violation of a Swiss divorce Court order. She is also suing him for the Trump mansion in Florida.
At the same time, there have been conflicting reports for months about whether or not Cyprus and Russia have been working on a way for Rybolovleva, and other shareholders in the Bank of Cyprus, to increase their holdings and secure a $6 billion Russian loan for Cyprus in the process.Rybolovleva would have to get special permission from the Cypriot Central Bank to increase his stake above 9.9%.
The Russian Finance Ministry at first denied these reports (which started getting attention in July of last year).
However, by the end of January 2013, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, the head of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus, was openly asking his Russian counterpart to convince Vladimir Putin to give Cyprus another loan — this one for $3.4 billion, says Bloomberg.
Maybe now Rybolovleva will get on board with the message, if he hasn’t already. At Davos Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the country would be on board to help out “when our European partners also give something.”
Looks like the Europeans figured out how to take something instead.
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