Early Life and Education (1960-1983)
Andrey Guryev, born on March 24, 1960, in Lobnya, Moscow region, hails from an ordinary Soviet family. Little is known about his childhood and parents, except that he had an interest in kettlebell lifting and martial arts from a young age. He completed his schooling in 1978 and enrolled at the State Central Institute of Physical Education. Military conscription briefly interrupted his studies, but he returned to complete his education in 1983, earning a diploma in physical education.
Entry into Entrepreneurship (1985-1990)
In the mid-1980s, Andrey Guryev ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. Initially serving as the secretary of the Komsomol organization at Dynamo SO, he quickly climbed the ranks, becoming the head of the secretariat of the Frunzensky district committee of the Komsomol by 1987. The early ’90s saw the rise of cooperatives post the collapse of the communist regime, and Guryev, with his entrepreneurial spirit, entered this new landscape.
Business Ventures and MENATEP (1990-2001)
In 1990, Andrey Guryev began managing the charitable foundation “Pravoporyadok” and concurrently became associated with MENATEP, founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky. His role in MENATEP evolved, with positions ranging from deputy director to head of the investment department of Menatep Bank. During this time, he played a pivotal role in forming the real estate company Lars and eventually became part of the birth of the PhosAgro holding in 2001.
Details of MENATEP
Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky founded Menatep, one of the first privately owned banks in post-Soviet Russia. It was one of the first privately owned banks in post-Soviet Russia.
The company provides various banking services, including commercial lending, trade finance, foreign exchange, and documentary settlements.
Menatep’s total share capital was distributed among several individuals, with Mikhail Khodorkovsky holding a significant stake, along with other shareholders such as Leonid Nevzlin, Mikhail Brudno, Platon Lebedev, Vladimir Dubov, and Vasily Shakhnovsky.
The company was involved in various financial activities and faced challenges, including a collapse that caused damage to its depositors and creditors.
Brief about PhosAgro
PhosAgro is a Russian vertically integrated company that holds a leading position in the world in terms of the production of phosphorus-containing fertilizers.
The company has a quality resource base for the next 50 years and is constantly improving the efficiency of raw material processing and fertilizer production.
Phos Agro’s operations are based on a vertically oriented model covering all business segments, from raw material production to logistics and distribution of the finished product.
The company provides itself with phosphate rock at 100%, sulfuric acid at 87%, and ammonia at 90%, allowing it to control costs at each stage and ensure the competitiveness of its fertilizers on the market.
PhosAgro is also focused on sustainable development and contributes to global sustainability issues, including those related to food safety.
The company’s products are sold in more than 100 countries, with Russia being the priority market.
Interconnection between PhosAgro and Andrey Guryev
PhosAgro is closely linked to Andrey Guryev, the individual behind its establishment and a former Chief Executive Officer. As a Russian billionaire businessman, he accumulated wealth after the Soviet Union’s dissolution in the 1990s. His strategy involved acquiring formerly state-owned assets at notably discounted rates. Holding a prominent position in PhosAgro, Guryev is the company’s most significant shareholder, boasting a substantial 48.5% stake. Notably, PhosAgro is recognized as Europe’s largest producer of phosphate fertilizers, making Guryev’s role pivotal to the company’s success.
Political Careers and Legal Controversies (2001-2013)
In 2001, Andrey Guryev entered politics, representing the Murmansk region in the Federation Council of Russia. However, legal controversies marred his career. The initiation of a criminal case against Khodorkovsky in 2005 led to the sale of PhosAgro shares, and allegations of tax violations, property alienation, and the Apatita mine accident stained Guryev’s reputation. Despite legal scrutiny, he continued his political career and held various positions until his voluntary exit in 2013.
Timeline of the career of Andrey Guryev
|Andrey Grigorievich Guryev was born on March 24 in Lobnya, Moscow region.
|He completed his schooling and enrolled at the State Central Institute of Physical Education.
|He graduated with a diploma in physical education after a military conscription interruption.
|He entered entrepreneurship, starting as the secretary of the Komsomol organization. He climbed ranks, becoming the head of the Komsomol committee by 1987.
|He began managing the charitable foundation “Pravoporyadok” and became associated with MENATEP, founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
|He had various roles in MENATEP, including deputy director and head of the investment department.
|He played a pivotal role in forming the real estate company Lars and contributed to the birth of the PhosAgro holding.
|He entered politics, representing the Murmansk region in the Federation Council of Russia.
|Legal controversies arose with the initiation of a criminal case against Khodorkovsky, leading to the sale of PhosAgro shares.
|He voluntarily exited from politics, marking the end of his political career.
Wealth and Net Worth
Andrey Guryev‘s wealth primarily stems from his ownership of shares in PhosAgro, one of the largest producers of phosphate-based fertilizers. Over the years, his net worth has seen fluctuations, and he has consistently been listed among Russia’s wealthiest individuals.
|Net Worth (in billions)
Notably, his family actively engages in charitable activities, supporting cultural and spiritual initiatives, including contributions to Russian cultural sites and the bringing of relics to Russian temples.
Family Life and Personal Interests
Andrey Guryev Jr., the son of Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev, is the Chief Executive Officer of OAO Phosagro, a prominent global fertilizer producer. His father, Andrey Guryev, ranks as the 28th richest individual in Russia, boasting a substantial fortune estimated at £2.6 billion. On a personal front, Andrey Jr is married to Valeria Guryeva, a former student at the London College of Fashion.
Valeria Guryeva has attracted attention through her Instagram posts, where she boldly claims to be ‘too pretty for work.’ Her social media presence showcased a lavish lifestyle, featuring images of her straddling a motorcycle and posing with a pistol strapped to her leg.
The Guryev family’s opulence extends to their residence in Witanhurst, situated in Highgate, north-west London. As the largest and most expensive private house in London, Witanhurst boasts 25 bedrooms and a 70-foot-long ballroom, with an estimated worth of £300 million upon completion of the refurbishment. The family’s wealth is intricately tied to the fertilizer business, and they are renowned for their extensive collection of classic and luxury cars.
Andrey Guryev Junior‘s mother, Evgenia Guryeva, reportedly earned £14 million in 2012, while Andrey Sr declared an income of £290,000 in the same year. The family’s affluence and connections have been the subject of speculation and scrutiny, especially concerning the mysterious registration of Witanhurst to a shell company in the British Virgin Islands, which was revealed after years of secrecy surrounding its ownership.
Later Years and Recent Developments
Guryev’s later years have been marked by his continued involvement in Phosgro’s management. However, his association with controversies, including Western sanctions due to his proximity to the Russian establishment, has impacted his assets. A recent episode involving the Alfa Nero yacht highlights challenges related to these sanctions. Despite legal and financial hurdles, Andrey Guryev remains a prominent figure in Russia’s economic and social landscape.
PhosAgro’s Dividend Controversy and International Scrutiny
In the midst of the ongoing economic crisis and sanctions, PhosAgro Group, a major Russian fertilizer producer, faced scrutiny as it paid multibillion-dollar dividends to its shareholders in early November. Notably, the Guryev family, major stakeholders in PhosAgro, were set to receive a substantial sum, approximately $800 million, drawing attention against the backdrop of a criminal case investigation in Latvia involving the company’s shareholders.
Reports suggest that Andrey Guryev, a key figure in PhosAgro, might be residing in a lavish London palace while receiving substantial dividends from the Russian business. Allegedly, sanctions may be aiding Guryev in bypassing certain restrictions imposed by UK residents Alexei Motlokhov and John Hall.
Amid these controversies, concerns have been raised about the flow of the company’s dividends to the United States, as structures called Purefert, purportedly exclusive distributors of PhosAgro, are registered in the U.S. This raises questions, especially given the U.S.’s stance on sanctions against the Russian chemical industry.
PhosAgro’s profitability has surged in the face of a growing food crisis and logistical challenges tied to sanctions on Russian products. The company’s success has contributed to the Guryev family’s increasing wealth, making them one of the few Russian families to see a rise in capital during the economic downturn.
However, not all individuals associated with PhosAgro have benefited. Former top manager Igor Sychev, who played a significant role in challenging tax claims against Apatit OJSC (a PhosAgro subsidiary), left the company feeling deceived. Recent revelations suggest Sychev may be facing threats to his life and health, potentially linked to an old conflict with PhosAgro.
The Guryev family’s history has been marked by legal disputes, including a 2021 case in the UK in which co-founder Alexander Gorbachev sought recognition of his right to PhosAgro shares. The controversies have raised questions about PhosAgro’s corporate practices, inviting legal scrutiny.
As PhosAgro continues to navigate these challenges, the unfolding scandals underscore the complex intersection of business, legal disputes, and international sanctions in the context of a turbulent economic landscape.
Sanctions on Andrey Guryev
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Andrey Guryev, a known close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in August 2022.
Australia, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland, and the UK also sanctioned him. The sanctions were imposed in relation to the Russo-Ukrainian War and were part of a broader effort to punish Russian individuals and entities in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The specific reasons for the sanctions were related to Guryev’s activities in the accounting and management consulting sectors of the Russian Federation’s economy.
|Place of sanctions
Andrey Guryev, born on March 24, 1960, in Lobnya, Moscow region, emerged from an ordinary Soviet background. His entrepreneurial journey began in the mid-1980s after completing his education in physical education. Guryev played a crucial role in the formation of the PhosAgro holding in 2001, leveraging his association with MENATEP, founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
PhosAgro, a leading global producer of phosphorus-containing fertilizers, has become Guryev’s primary source of wealth, with a net worth fluctuating over the years. His political career started in 2001, representing the Murmansk region in the Federation Council of Russia. Legal controversies, including a criminal case against Khodorkovsky, impacted Guryev’s career, but he remained active until voluntarily leaving politics in 2013.
Guryev’s family, particularly his son Andrey Guryev Jr., is involved in managing PhosAgro. The family’s opulent lifestyle, including a residence in Witanhurst, London, has drawn attention. Recent controversies surround PhosAgro’s dividend payments and international scrutiny, with Guryev facing sanctions from the U.S., UK, EU, Canada, Switzerland and Japan in 2022-2023 due to his associations and activities in Russia’s economy. These challenges underscore the complex intersection of business, legal disputes, and international sanctions in a turbulent economic landscape.