Russian Oligarchs

Alexander Skorobogatko: Ukrainian-Russian Billionaire and State Duma Member

Early Life and Education

Alexander Skorobogatko, born on September 25, 1967, spent his childhood and youth in Ukraine, specifically in Horlivka. He was the first-born in a family with a mining background. From an early age, his father, with extensive experience in underground work, instilled in him the values of hard work, perseverance, and determination. Skorobogatko developed an interest in judo and sambo during his youth, achieving the rank of candidate master in these sports. In 1985, after completing secondary school in Horlivka, he entered military service for two years.

Life of Alexander Skorobogatko
Life of Alexander Skorobogatko

Upon returning from the army, Skorobogatko recognized the importance of higher education. In the late 1980s, he became a student at the Pedagogical Institute in Sloviansk, where he pursued a diploma in teaching physical education. Later, in 1996, he earned a Master’s in Economic Sciences from the Russian Economic University named after Plekhanov. Subsequently, in 1998, Skorobogatko defended his dissertation at the St. Petersburg Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, achieving the title of candidate of legal sciences.

Early Business Ventures

In 1987, Skorobogatko met Alexander Ponomarenko, who later became his long-standing business partner. They ventured into entrepreneurship during the late 1980s cooperative movement. Skorobogatko’s career began as the commercial director of the Kerch Research and Production Enterprise from 1987 to 1992. During this period, they engaged in various businesses, including the perfume trade, plastic bag production, and road transport.

Moving to Moscow and Business Expansion

In 1992, Alexander Skorobogatko and Ponomarenko moved to Moscow, where Skorobogatko held senior positions in commercial organizations such as Sandra, Century of Russia, and DELPHI. By 1994, he transitioned to the financial sector, later becoming a co-owner of the Russian General Bank (RSB). Two years before the millennium, Skorobogatko chaired the RSL committee of advisers, overseeing positive changes and improvements in the financial organization.

Entry into the Financial Sector

In 1998, Alexander Skorobogatko joined the board of Nikoil Bank, later renamed Uralsib. Simultaneously, he was active in various business areas and held shares of the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP). The early 2000s saw him and Ponomarenko acquiring small retail banks and forming Investberbank on the basis of RSB. In 2001, Skorobogatko joined the board of NCSP, making significant investments in the port and its infrastructure.

Brief about Nikoil Bank (Uralsib)

Nikoil Bank, also known as Uralsib, is a prominent Russian commercial bank based in Moscow, originating from the merger of Ural-Siberian Bank and Avtobank-NIKoil in 2005. Offering a comprehensive array of financial services, the bank covers investment, commercial, private banking, and insurance.

As of 2022, Nikoil Bank held a strong position among the country’s largest financial institutions, generating a substantial net asset value of around 530 billion rubles. Recognized as a principal member of major international payment systems such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Union Pay, and Russia’s own Mir system, the bank ensures a globally recognized standard.

In a noteworthy move, Uralsib successfully concluded its acquisition of Citibank’s retail loan portfolio on December 12, 2022, solidifying its presence.

Brief about Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port

Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port
Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port

Established in 1957 on the historic site of ancient coastal defence forts, the Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port has evolved into Russia’s giant commercial seaport operator and the third-largest in Europe. The port’s roots trace back to 1888 when the first vessel, a French ‘Mingreli’ filled with grain, inaugurated its operations. Rapid growth in the 19th century led to the opening of new berths by 1895, including West and East berths.

JSC Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP Group), managing the Port of Novorossiysk and Baltic ports, achieved a remarkable cargo turnover of 143.5 million tons in 2017, contributing to 18% of Russia’s total cargo turnover. Positioned in the Tsemes Bay on the Black Sea, the port boasts 89 berths with a length of 15,627 m and an annual capacity of 208,793 thousand tons. Specializing in handling diverse cargoes, including grain, coal, fertilizers, timber, oil, and containerized food, the port’s liquid bulk terminals accommodate tankers of up to 250,000 tons, ensuring year-round accessibility, except for occasional interruptions during winter due to northeastern broad wind.

Entrepreneurial Success and Wealth Growth

Investberbank’s success led to its acquisition by the Hungarian bank OTP in 2006, marking a turning point in Alexander Skorobogatko‘s fortune. His focus then shifted to Novorossiysk port, where he and Ponomarenko became controlling stakeholders. Subsequent years involved strategic moves in various business sectors, including active investments in commercial real estate.

Political Career

Parallel to his business ventures, Skorobogatko had a notable political career. From 1996 to 2007, he served in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, initially representing Zhirinovsky’s party and later United Russia. In 2002-2003, he was a member of the Federation Council, representing the Kaliningrad region. However, in 2016, Skorobogatko unexpectedly resigned as a deputy, signalling the end of his political career.

Involvement in Aviation and Real Estate

In 2013, Alexander Skorobogatko, along with Ponomarenko and Arkady Rotenberg, created TPS Avia, aiming to invest in Sheremetyevo International Airport’s infrastructure. This initiative led to the formation of Sheremetyevo Holding LLC, in which Skorobogatko remains an active board member. The businessman also ventured into commercial real estate, becoming a major shareholder in TPS Real Estate Holdings in 2012.

Sheremetyevo Holdings LLC

Sheremetyevo Holdings
Sheremetyevo Holdings

Sheremetyevo Holdings LLC, a non-state shareholder of joint stock company Sheremetyevo International Airport (JSC SIA), is owned by oligarchs and their family members. Engaging in commercial activities that significantly contribute to the Russian budget, Sheremetyevo Holdings played a pivotal role in the decisions made during the annual General Shareholders’ Meeting of JSC SIA on June 28, 2021.

At this meeting, shareholders approved the 2020 annual report, elected a new Board of Directors and Audit Committee, and endorsed the Internal Audit Commission, which comprises the same members. In addition, shareholders sanctioned Ernst & Young LLC as the auditor for JSC SIA in 2021. Notably, Sheremetyevo Holdings is actively involved in implementing crucial investment projects outlined in the Long-Term Airport Development Program. The program aims to enhance the airport’s capacity to accommodate up to 110 million passengers annually in the future.

TPS Real Estate Holdings

TPS Real Estate Holdings, headquartered in Moscow, stands as a prominent player in the Russian real estate landscape. This dynamic management company is wholly owned by TPS Group Holdings, established through a discretionary trust in 2005 by visionary entrepreneurs Alexander Ponomarenko and Aleksandr Skorobogatko. Specializing in the construction and operation of major shopping malls, TPS Real Estate has left its mark in key cities such as Moscow, Krasnodar, Sochi, and Novosibirsk.

At the heart of Moscow, TPS Real Estate manages two bustling shopping centres strategically located on Kutuzovsky Prospekt and Khoroshevskoye Shosse, boasting a combined area exceeding 250,000 square meters. In an ambitious move, Alexander Ponomarenko announced in October 2016 the company’s intention to double its presence in Moscow, aiming for a total of four shopping centres with a vast combined area of 300,000 square meters.

Reflecting its success and growth, TPS Real Estate reported a robust revenue of 11.1 billion rubles (approximately $181,818,000 USD) in 2015.

Timeline of the career of Alexander Skorobogatko

YearEvent
1967Alexander Ivanovich Skorobogatko was born on September 25 in Horlivka, Ukraine.
1985He completed secondary school in Horlivka and entered military service for two years.
Late 1980sHe met Alexander Ponomarenko, and they began entrepreneurship during the late 1980s cooperative movement.
1987-1992He served as the commercial director of the Kerch Research and Production Enterprise.
1992Skorobogatko and Ponomarenko moved to Moscow, where he held senior positions in commercial organizations.
1994He transitioned to the financial sector, becoming a co-owner of the Russian General Bank (RSB).
1996He earned a Master’s in Economic Sciences from the Russian Economic University.
1996-2007Alexander Skorobogatko served in the State Duma of the Russian Federation, representing Zhirinovsky’s party and later United Russia.
1998He joined the board of Nikoil Bank (Uralsib) and defended his dissertation, earning the title of candidate of legal sciences.
Early 2000sSkorobogatko acquired small retail banks and formed Investsberbank with Ponomarenko.
2001He joined the board of Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP).
2002-2003Skorobogatko was a member of the Federation Council, representing the Kaliningrad region.
2005Nikoil Bank (Uralsib) was formed through the merger of Ural-Siberian Bank and Avtobank-NIKoil.
2006Investberbank was acquired by the Hungarian bank OTP. Skorobogatko’s focus shifted to Novorossiysk port.
2012He became a major shareholder in TPS Real Estate Holdings.
2013Skorobogatko, along with Ponomarenko and Arkady Rotenberg, created TPS Avia to invest in Sheremetyevo International Airport’s infrastructure.
2016He resigned as a deputy in the State Duma, signaling the end of his political career.
2022Uralsib successfully concluded the acquisition of Citibank’s retail loan portfolio.
PresentSkorobogatko remains active in various business sectors, including aviation, real estate, and port management.

Alexander Skorobogatko’s Net Worth

The wealth of Alexander Skorobogatko has experienced significant growth, primarily concentrated in TPS Real Estate Holdings and Sheremetyevo International Airport. Forbes data reflects this growth over the years, with his net worth steadily increasing.

YearNet Worth (in Billions)
20142.3 Billion
20152.4 Billion
20162.3 Billion
20173 Billion
20183.4 Billion
20193.2 Billion
20203.3 Billion
20212.9 Billion
20222 Billion
20232.7 Billion

Personal Life and Family

Personal life of Alexander

“I think I am more proud to be the father of three fine young men than anything else have done.”

Alexander Skorobogatko, a private individual, is married with three children. Reports say his sons are studying in the UK at Harrow School.

“It isn’t easy to raise children, especially when you have a busy professional life, but you have to make them a priority. I was fortunate that my mother and father set such a strong example for me to follow.”

Hobbies and Interests

Skorobogatko enjoys various outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing. He is also interested in martial arts, holding the title of Candidate Master of Sports in judo and sambo. His passion for sports extends to his involvement in the boards of hockey clubs affiliated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Additionally, he has a keen interest in long-range shooting.

Philanthropy and Recognition

He engages in charitable activities, supporting medical and children’s institutions. His philanthropic efforts earned him the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh, III degree, and the Order of Friendship in 2011, recognizing his active participation in the legislative process and dedicated work.

Alexander Skorobogatko, a successful entrepreneur and State Duma member, is recognized for his discreet but impactful philanthropy. Despite preferring to keep his charitable endeavours private, he passionately supports healthcare and children’s institutions.

Skorobogatko, driven by a belief in doing what is morally right rather than seeking recognition, consistently and generously donates towards the treatment of severe diseases. His philanthropic efforts extend globally, with a focus on education and healthcare in Russia, Ukraine, and other regions.

Legal Controversies

Controversies surrounding Skorobogatko
Controversies surrounding Skorobogatko

While Alexander Skorobogatko‘s biography reflects a successful business and political career, some sources mention silent facts about his criminal past. In the late ’80s, he was associated with structures that had conflicts with the law, as highlighted in the book “Bandit Crimea” by Konstantin Chernetsov. The book mentions his involvement in structures with nicknames such as “Champion” and “Donetsk,” participating in activities that faced legal issues.

According to Chernetsov, they were participants in the notorious Crimean Salem gang, which was under the control of the local KGB and involved in various criminal activities on the peninsula.

Because of his estimated net worth of $1 billion or more, he has been named in a report included in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), though the report made it clear that it was not a sanctions list.

Sanctions on Alexander Skorobogatko

Alexander Skorobogatko, a Ukrainian-Russian billionaire and former member of the Russian State Duma, has been hit with sanctions. He was identified in a report under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as a “Russian oligarch” facing these restrictions. Skorobogatko has also been flagged as a politically exposed person with ties to various business dealings and director roles. Moreover, he’s been linked to the acquisition of a Gulfstream jet through an offshore company, financed by business profits.

Recent Years

As of the most recent information available, Alexander Skorobogatko remains active in his business pursuits, including negotiations for constructing Paveletsky Passage, a large shopping centre. In 2018, he was included in the “Kremlin list” and faced American sanctions due to his significant wealth and connections in political circles.

Summary

Alexander Ivanovich Skorobogatko, born in 1967 in Ukraine, has built a diverse and successful career spanning business, politics, and philanthropy. From his early days in entrepreneurship in the late 1980s to co-ownning Uralsib Bank and Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, Skorobogatko has played a pivotal role in Russia’s financial sector. His entrepreneurial success includes Investberbank’s acquisition of OTP in 2006.

Engaging in politics, he served in the State Duma and the Federation Council. Alexander Skorobogatko‘s interests expanded to aviation, real estate, and board positions in major entities like Sheremetyevo Holdings and TPS Real Estate. Despite his discreet philanthropy, he has been recognized for his charitable contributions. However, his career is not without controversy, with allegations of a criminal past and inclusion in the CAATSA report leading to sanctions. Skorobogatko’s net worth fluctuates, reflecting his diverse investments and activities.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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