Russian Oligarchs

Andrei Skoch: Richest Russian Billionaire Biography

Andrei Skoch is a prominent Russian billionaire entrepreneur, renowned for his significant role as a partial owner of the renowned steelmaker, Lebedinsky Mining. Recognized by the esteemed U.S. Forbes Magazine, Skoch stands tall among the wealthiest individuals in Russia and secured a coveted spot on the World’s Billionaires list in 2012.

Early Life and Military Service

Life of Andrei Skoch
Life of Andrei Skoch

Andrei Vladimirovich Skoch was born on January 30, 1966, in the village of Nikolskoye, Balashikha district, Moscow region. His father, Vladimir Nikitovich Skoch, was a respected worker at the Moscow machine-building plant “Salyut.” Andrei Skoch’s formative years were influenced by his father, who served as a moral example and friend. After completing secondary education, Skoch joined the Soviet army, serving in a reconnaissance airborne company.

Education and Entrepreneurial Ventures

In 1988, Andrei Skoch graduated from the psychological faculty of the Moscow State Correspondence Pedagogical Institute, later renamed the Moscow State Humanitarian University. His entrepreneurial journey began in the late 1980s when he, alongside Lev Kvetny, established a bakery cooperative. Later, they transitioned to selling computer components and subsequently entered the oil refining and petroleum products market.

Interfin Services and Metalloinvest

In 1995, Andrei Skoch, along with partners Lev Kvetny and Alisher Usmanov, founded the Interfinservice company, later renamed Metalloinvest. The venture involved acquiring metallurgical assets, including shares in the Oskol Electro-Metallurgical Plant and the Lebedinsky Mining and Processing Plant. Metalloinvest continued to expand its holdings, incorporating Ural Steel in the early 2000s and acquiring Metalloinvest from Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2004.

Brief details of Metalloinvest


Metalloinvest is a prominent global producer and supplier of hot-briquette iron (HBI) and iron ore products, coupled with a regional prowess in delivering high-quality steel. Its inception in 1999 gave rise to a corporate entity structured around a mining division, featuring stalwarts like Lebedinsky GOK and Mikhailovsky GOK, alongside a robust steel division encompassing the Oskol Elektrometallurgical Plant (OEMK) and Ural Steel.

Nestled in the heart of Moscow, Russia, Metalloinvest’s ownership narrative unfolds under the aegis of USM Holdings, where Alisher Usmanov emerges as the principal beneficiary, commanding a substantial 60%. Andrei Skoch’s entities contributed a notable 30%, while Farhad Moshiri held sway over the remaining 10%. This collaborative ownership is emblematic of Metalloinvest’s strategic alliance.

Diversifying its portfolio, Metalloinvest’s product repertoire spans iron ore, steel, and an array of steel products. As a bastion of industry, the company shoulders a considerable workforce, boasting 42,730 dedicated employees, according to the latest available data. This workforce forms the backbone of Metalloinvest, contributing to its operational prowess and sustained success in the global market.

Brief Details of Lebedinsky Mining

Lebedinsky Mining
Lebedinsky Mining

Lebedinsky Mining and Processing Plant, also known as Lebedinsky GOK, is the largest plant for the mining and beneficiation of iron ore in Russia and the CIS, producing high-quality iron ore and raw materials.

The company provides mining of iron ore, offers dried and crude iron ore concentrate, as well as fluxed and non-fluxed pellets, and serves customers worldwide.

Located in the Kursk Oblast in western Russia, Lebedinsky GOK represents one of the largest iron ore reserves in Russia and the world, with estimated reserves of 20.2 billion metric tons of ore grading 35% iron metal.

It is 100% owned by Russian steelmaker Metalloinvest and is the only ‘hot briquetted iron’ (HBI) producer in Russia.

Political Career

Political roles of Andrei
Political roles of Andrei

Andrei Skoch entered the political arena in 1999, becoming a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation from the Belgorod region. His political journey spans multiple convocations, with continuous re-elections up to the eighth convocation in 2021. Skoch has been an active member of the United Russia party and has contributed to various legislative initiatives, particularly focusing on social development, higher education, and healthcare.

Charitable and Humanitarian Initiatives

Andrei Skoch is also a sponsor of the Debut Prize, a literary award for Russian writers under the age of 25, and has been involved in funding the restoration of military graves, memorials, and monuments.

Additionally, he regularly organizes a charitable international youth seminar called “New Generation.”

These activities demonstrate Skoch’s commitment to making a positive impact through philanthropy.

Pokolenie (Generation) Foundation

In 1996, Skoch founded the Generation Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting various humanitarian causes. Initially focused on aiding children with congenital heart disease, the foundation expanded its scope to include healthcare, education, culture, and support for veterans and large families. The foundation has provided substantial financial assistance, including the allocation of funds for medical equipment, the establishment of medical centres, and aid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knowledge Fund

Andrei Skoch initiated the “Knowledge Fund,” an educational project providing free online courses for residents of the Belgorod region. The platform promotes learning and self-development, reflecting Skoch’s commitment to educational initiatives.

Debut Literary Prize

Since 2000, Skoch’s foundation has sponsored the independent literary prize “Debut,” recognizing young authors in various literary genres. The prize has contributed to the publication of works by emerging writers, fostering talent in the literary world.

Best Student of the Year Scholarship Program

Andrei Skoch has been actively involved in supporting higher education through the “Best Student of the Year” scholarship program in the Belgorod region. The initiative recognizes and rewards hardworking and enterprising students, emphasizing Skoch’s dedication to educational projects.

Parental Records

The “Parental Record” competition, organized by Skoch’s foundation, celebrates responsible and deserving parents with many children. Initially local, the competition has grown to a national scale, providing financial support to families committed to raising children with integrity.

Awards and Recognitions

Andrei Skoch‘s contributions to politics, charity, and society have been acknowledged with several awards, including the Order of Honor, Order of Alexander Nevsky, medals of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” (II degrees), and the UNESCO Five Continents medal.

Personal Life and Hobbies

Elena Likhach with her Daughters
Elena Likhach with her Daughters

Andrei is married to Elena Likhach.

The family remains a central aspect of Andrei Skoch‘s life. In his leisure time, he engages in charitable activities, spends time with his family, and enjoys reading.

Details of Elena Likhach

Elena Likhach is known to have been previously married, and from her first marriage, she has a daughter named Daria. Elena, a delightful hostess, enjoys creating new dishes, although she doesn’t always succeed in cooking them herself. This is not a concern, as her personal chefs and other staff efficiently handle culinary responsibilities at the family’s spacious mansion.

Currently, Elena is a devoted mother of four children. Three of them are from her second marriage. She resides in a large house that accommodates individual rooms for each family member. The family shares a harmonious relationship, often enjoying time together on the expansive and picturesque veranda.

Timeline of Andrei Skoch’s career

1966Born on January 30 in Nikolskoye, Moscow
1980sJoined the Soviet army, served in reconnaissance airborne company
1988Graduated from the Moscow State Correspondence Pedagogical Institute
Late 1980sCo-established a bakery cooperative
Early 1990sTransitioned to selling computer components
1995Founded Interfinservice (later Metalloinvest) with Lev Kvetny and Alisher Usmanov
1996Founded the Generation Foundation
1999Entered the political arena and became a deputy in the State Duma
2000Initiated the “Debut” literary prize
2000sEntered the political arena and became a deputy in the State Duma
2000sInvolved in funding the restoration of military graves and monuments
2000sEstablished charitable international youth seminar “New Generation”
2004Acquired Metalloinvest from Bidzina Ivanishvili
2010sExpanded Generation Foundation’s scope to include healthcare, education, and support for veterans and large families
2020Initiated the “Knowledge Fund” educational project
2021Re-elected to the State Duma for the eighth convocation
OngoingEstimated net worth fluctuates, reported at $6.3 billion by Bloomberg (Feb 2021), $8.6 billion by Forbes (Feb 2021), and $7 billion by another source.

Andrei Skoch’s Net Worth

Andrei Skoch, a prominent Russian tycoon and member of the State Duma, boasts a substantial fortune, with his financial standing subject to varying estimates from reputable sources. As of February 2021, Bloomberg reported his net worth at an impressive $6.3 billion. However, Forbes took a broader view, considering his family’s wealth, which they estimated to be $8.6 billion in the same year, securing him the 288th spot on the prestigious list of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Another source places Skoch’s net worth at $7 billion, underlining the dynamic nature of evaluating the assets of such influential figures. Skoch’s financial portfolio is notably diversified, showcasing his involvement as part owner of the renowned steelmaker Lebedinsky Mining and as a co-owner of USM Holdings. USM Holdings exercises control over a spectrum of assets, including prominent iron ore producer Metalloinvest and telecommunications giant MegaFon.

Skoch’s trajectory in the business realm, coupled with his strategic investments, exemplifies the multifaceted nature of his wealth accumulation. As with any financial profile, the exact figures may fluctuate, reflecting the complexities of global markets and the intricate web of ventures under his purview.

YearNet Worth (in billions)
20148.2 Billion
20155.7 Billion
20165.3 Billion
20176.9 Billion
20184.9 Billion
20195.2 Billion
20206.3 Billion
20218.6 Billion
20224.7 Billion
20237.9 Billion

MegaFon and Skoch’s association with Alisher Usmanov

Andrei Skoch’s association with Alisher Usmanov, a prominent Russian billionaire and shareholder in MegaFon, links him to the company. Skoch and Usmanov have been long-time associates and business partners. The companies, along with Lev Kvetnoi, made their first purchases in the mining and steel production sectors, including Lebedinsky Mining, in 1995.

Additionally, Skoch’s partnership with Usmanov has been highlighted in the context of Usmanov’s business activities, including the $2.1 billion London flotation of MegaFon, a mobile operator, in which Usmanov is involved.

The relationship between Skoch and Usmanov has drawn attention due to Usmanov’s significant business interests, including his involvement in MegaFon, and the controversies surrounding some of their associates.

Brief about MegaFon


MegaFon is a prominent Russian telecommunications operator, holding leading positions in the telecommunications market in Russia and the world.

It is the second-largest mobile phone operator and the third-largest telecom operator in Russia.

The company operates in all segments of the telecommunications markets in Russia and is known for its extensive subscriber base, with more than 76.8 million people by the end of 2015.

MegaFon is involved in the provision of 2G GSM, 3 G UMTS, and 4G LTE services and has been active in the development of new technologies such as LTE-A and 5G.

In 2021, the company’s revenue amounted to 313 billion rubles.

MegaFon has also been involved in hardware production under the “MegaFon” brand, including fixed and mobile phones.

The company is facing sanctions, having been sanctioned by the US in April 2023 based on its association with USM, which belongs to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

Sanctions on Andrei Skoch

Andrei Skoch has faced significant scrutiny from the U.S. government. This is mainly because of his close associations with Russian organized crime groups and his official role within the Russian Federation. On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made an important decision to designate Skoch as a Specially Designated National (SDN) because of his position as a deputy of the State Duma.

On March 24, 2022, the situation took a major turn when OFAC, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, decided to extend its sanctions to include Skoch and other members of the Duma. The U.S. government’s recent move highlighted its strong dedication to ensuring that individuals are held responsible for their participation in activities that go against international standards.

A significant event occurred in August 2022 when the U.S. Department of Justice obtained a warrant to seize an Airbus A319-100 that is owned and controlled by Skoch. It was claimed that the aircraft could be seized and forfeited due to strong evidence of violating federal anti-money laundering laws. This indicates a deliberate attempt to disrupt illegal financial activities.

In April 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implemented stricter measures to limit Russia’s access to the global financial system by tightening the screws. The list consists of 25 individuals and 29 entities, including Andrei Skoch, as well as their businesses operating in 20 different locations. The purpose of these actions was to reduce the power of individuals and organizations connected to Skoch and to strengthen the determination to stop the flow of illegal money.

The approach taken by U.S. authorities is comprehensive and shows their strong commitment to not only dealing with Skoch’s actions but also addressing the wider network of people and organizations involved in activities that go against international norms and peace.

Controversies related to Andrei Skoch

Andrei Skoch’s Alleged Role as a Key Financial Backer of the Putin Regime

Russian State Duma deputy Andrei Skoch, a member of the United Russia party, found himself entangled in controversies ranging from alleged connections with organized crime to using legal mechanisms like the “right to be forgotten” to cleanse his online image. As of mid-2021, Skoch had utilized the “right to be forgotten” law to remove links to materials about himself from at least one search engine, a move that attracted attention but faded into obscurity.

But Skoch’s name resurfaced amid sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States against individuals allegedly linked to financing the Putin regime. Notably, Skoch found himself on these sanctions lists as one of the perceived “wallets” of the Russian President. This revelation led to the exposure of Skoch’s connections with organized crime figures, including Andrei Kochuykov and Zakhary Kalashov, also known as Shakro Molodoy.

Skoch’s involvement in the “Shootout on Rochdelskaya Street,” a high-profile criminal incident in Moscow in 2015, added another layer to the controversies. While officially refuting any direct involvement, Skoch sued media outlets for reporting on his alleged connections to the incident. The shooting incident, involving the Budantsev group, resulted in a double murder and a subsequent corruption scandal in the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

Skoch’s ascent from the Solntsevo organized crime group in the early ’90s to becoming a State Duma deputy in 1999 was marked by connections with influential figures like Alisher Usmanov and Kenes Rakishev. The nature of these connections, rooted in the murky world of Russian business and politics, remained shrouded in mystery.

Legal battles also played a role in shaping Skoch’s public image. In 2019, he won a lawsuit against media outlets over an investigation by Novaya Gazeta, which alleged financial transactions related to the release of Shakro Molodoy’s associate, Andrey Kochuykov. The legal victories contributed to Skoch’s transformation into a respected member of society, a successful businessman, and a philanthropist.

However, Skoch’s inclusion in sanctions lists put a spotlight on his financial activities. A significant portion of his wealth, earned in Russia, came under scrutiny by international financial monitoring entities. His close association with Alisher Usmanov, who faced asset seizures due to sanctions, added to the complexity of the situation.

The Interpol dossier on the Solntsevskaya organized crime group included an order listing Skoch as a member, suggesting deep-rooted ties that went beyond mere business partnerships. Ongoing investigations into Skoch’s connections to organized crime groups by foreign law enforcement agencies have raised questions about the veracity of his sanitized public image.

Skoch’s attempts to shield his assets, including a $135 million yacht, from sanctions indicated the potential financial ramifications of his inclusion in the sanctions lists. The complexity of his financial holdings, involving family members and offshore entities, posed challenges to investigators attempting to trace the full extent of his wealth.

As the international community closely monitored the impact of sanctions on Russian oligarchs, Andrei Skoch found himself at the centre of a storm of controversies, where his past associations and alleged connections with organized crime came under heightened scrutiny. The evolving narrative surrounding Skoch underscored the intricate web of politics, business, and crime in Russia’s power circles.


Andrei Skoch, born in 1966, embarked on a multifaceted career, beginning with military service and later venturing into entrepreneurship and politics. Co-founded Metalloinvest in 1995, he played a pivotal role in acquiring metallurgical assets. Skoch entered politics in 1999, serving in the State Duma, and actively contributed to legislative initiatives.

His philanthropic efforts include the Generation Foundation, which supports healthcare and education. Amid controversies alleging ties to organized crime, Skoch faced U.S. sanctions in 2018 and an extension in 2022. Legal battles and attempts to shield assets added complexity. His wealth, estimated at varying billions, reflected diverse business interests, while his sanctioned status placed him at the intersection of international politics and finance.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris - The Digital Bloodhound Alexander isn't your typical investigative journalist. He thrives in the digital world, scouring the web for hidden connections and leaked documents. An expert data analyst and coder, he builds intricate digital trails to expose fraud, cybercrime, and government overreach. Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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