Hedge fund manager Bill Browder, once the largest foreign investor in Russia, estimates Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth at $US200 billion — which would make him by far the richest man in the world.
When asked to estimate his net worth by Fareed Zakaria of CNN, Browder said: “I believe that it is $US200 billion.
“After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn’t been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on — all that money is in property, Swiss bank accounts, shares, [and] hedge funds managed for Putin and his cronies.”
Bill Gates is considered the world’s richest man with a net worth of $US79 billion.
Putin, a former KGB lieutenant colonel, became Russian prime minister in August 1999 and president in May 2000.
Browder notes that the “first eight or 10 years about reign over Russia was about stealing as much money that he could.”
From 2001 to 2007, the Russian economy made average gains of about 7% per year, and its GDP grew six fold.
“Soon after taking over, [Putin] made it clear that he intended to remove the Yeltsin-era elite and to put a new elite in its place — mostly from St. Petersburg, equally corrupt, but loyal exclusively to him,” Anne Applebaum in wrote recently in The
New York Review of Books.