Russian Oligarchs

Viktor Vekselberg : Biography And Controversies 2023

Who Is Viktor Vekselberg ?

Viktor Felixovich Vekselberg AKA Viktor Vekselberg (Виктор Вексельберг) is part of Russia’s new generation of Oligarchs. Vekselberg was the third wealthiest Russian and the forty-ninth wealthiest person in the world. In March 2017, Victor Vekselberg received a Cyprus passport.

Viktor Vekselberg : Early Life, Education And Family

Viktor Vekselberg was born on April 14, 1957 in Drogobych, Lvov Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, USSR [now Drohobych, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine].

His father Feliks Solomonovich Vekselberg was a Jewish. Mother Elena Evtropovna Morozova was a Ukrainian. Overall they were a Soviet Russian-Ukrainian family and language was Russian.

All of his fathers family members (17 in all ) were sent to the ghetto during the war. Since his father was away in the War he escaped it. Only her father’s cousin cousin survived as she was saved by Ukrainians who hid her in a forest dugout. After the war she managed to flee to New York ,America. She used sent small amounts of money to the Ukrainians who saved her. But their names were never made public as they feared beacuse they had hidden a Jewish girl during the war.

Viktor had said once that he did not knew that “Vekselberg” was a Jewish name. He only realized that in Moscow when the name didn’t allow him to be a student at Moscow State University. Hence in 1979 ,he went to the Moscow Institute of Transport Engineers instead, where he studied automation and computer science.

Viktor Vekselberg met his wife, Marina Dobrynina, when they were college classmates in Moscow.

Viktor Vekselberg and Marina Dobrynina
Viktor Vekselberg and Marina Dobrynina

The couple have a daughter, Irina and son, Alexander, born in 1979 and 1988 respectively.

Viktor Vekselberg - Wife Marina Dobrynina - daughter Irina and son Alexander
Viktor Vekselberg – Wife Marina Dobrynina – daughter Irina and son Alexander

Alexander Vekselberg (Alex) is a US citizen by birth. He attended Fieldstone High School in New Jersey. He graduated from Yale in 2012. Alex owns Ferrari car dealerships in Denver and Philadelphia. He bought the Denver Bentley, Ferrari and Lotus dealerships from Bill Stewart in 2014.

Alexander Vekselberg
Alexander Vekselberg

Irina Vekselberg, who graduated from Yale in 2005 and worked in Renova structures, is also a US citizen.

Irina Vekselberg
Irina Vekselberg

Irina Vekselberg lives in Moscow with her husband, an entrepreneur Salavat Rezbaev, the founder of the company New Age Capital Partners (in February, 2017 was renamed to Trilogy Capital Group). The company specializes in Russian-Chinese transactions, Rezbaev – chairman of the board of directors, Irina – his adviser. Before that, she worked as a financial analyst in Citigroup and engaged M&A in Renova.

Irina Vekselberg with her husband Salavat Rezbaev
Irina Vekselberg with her husband Salavat Rezbaev

Viktor Vekselberg Career

Viktor Vekselberg is a Russian oligarch, who in 1979 he graduated from the Faculty of Automation and Computer Engineering of Moscow Institute of Railway Engineers. He specializes in systems engineering. He continued his studies at the Computing Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

In 1998 he founded a company called KomVek (Kompanie Vekselberg) with friends , active in software development and import of used computers. From 1991 to 1996 he was Deputy Director General of ZAO Renova that he founded with Leonard Blavatnik. Two thirds of the shares are held by KomVek and one third is held by the investment fund owned by Access Industries Blavatnik.

In 1996 he participated to the creation of the Siberian-Urals Aluminium Company (SUAL). Conducted by Viktor Vekselberg, the company Renova started buying shares in oil companies, including a majority stake in TNK. A year later, he joined the board of Tyumen Oil Company (TNK), and in April 2002 he became President of TNK.

In January 2003 he was appointed chairman of the board of SUAL-Holding. In February 2006 he announced that the company SUAL is looking for a strategic partner. Negotiations began with its main competitor Rusal, owned by Oleg Deripaska. Rusal and SUAL merged in August 2006. Deripaska received a 75% stake in the new company, while Viktor Vekselberg got 25%. The merged group controls 100% of the Russian aluminum market and creates a monopoly. The new giant has a production capacity of over 4 million tons of aluminum per year.

In October 2006, Rusal and Sual merge with Glencore. The merger is finalized in March 2007 and gave birth to the number one of the aluminum in the world: United Company Rusal. The new group goes public a little over a year later. Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska became the main shareholder of the new company by receiving a 66% stake. SUAL acquires 22% and Glencore 12%. Vekselberg is chairman of the board of directors of the company.

In April 2007, Vekselberg decides to become the largest shareholder of the investment fund Pallinghurst Resources, operated by Bryan Gilbertson. The fund has acquired the legendary brand Fabergé in 2007. Vekselberg is obsessed with Faberge eggs. He is the biggest collector: in 2004 he bought nine Faberge eggs at an auction and received other items of Fabergé – brooches, snuff boxes… The collection was exhibited in the Kremlin and in Dubrovnik in 2007. Vekselberg made regular donations to foundations and cultural museums in Russia.

Today, the empire of Viktor Vekselberg continues to expand. Recently, the oligarch, who owns 13.7% of OC Oerlikon Zurich Group, announced plans to invest $ 300 million to create the largest hotel chain in Russia. He also manages mining projects in South Africa. According to Forbes, in 2011 th property of the magnate of energy and metallurgy sectors weighed 13 billion.

In March 2010, President Dmitry Medvedev chose Viktor Vekselberg to supervise the “Silicon Valley” near Moscow. This technology center is supposed to ensure the modernization and diversification of the Russian economy based mainly on the exploitation of oil and gas. The project would develop into five areas: energy technology, information technology, telecommunications, nuclear and biomedical technologies.

In March 2012, Viktor Vekselberg resigned as chairman of Rusal.

Vekselberg, founder of the Renova Group, a Russian conglomerate, was first sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2018 and again in March 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prosecutors say Vekselberg used a series of shell companies to buy six real estate properties in the United States between 2008 and 2017: two apartments on Park Avenue in New York City, an estate in the seaside community of Southampton, New York, and two apartments and a penthouse apartment on Fisher Island, Florida.

According to prosecutors, Vladimir Voronchenko, a close friend and business associate of Vekselberg and a U.S. permanent resident, retained a lawyer to help buy the properties and later manage their finances.

Voronchenko was indicted earlier in Jan 2023 on charges of sanctions violation and money laundering in connection with maintaining the Vekselberg properties.

Voronchenko fled to Russia last year and remains at large.

Last April, the Justice Department seized a 78-meter (255-foot), $90 million yacht owned by Vekselberg

New York Attorney Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Commit Money Laundering For Viktor Vekselberg

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A New York attorney pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to make approximately $3.8 million in U.S. dollar payments to maintain six real properties in the United States that were owned by Viktor Vekselberg, a sanctioned oligarch.

According to court documents, Robert Wise of Pelham, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit international money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Wise also agreed to forfeit more than $3.7 million and to be satisfied by a payment of $210,441. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6.

According to the allegations in the information filed in Manhattan federal court today and other public filings:

On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Vekselberg as a Specially Designated National (SDN) in connection with its finding that the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation in Ukraine constituted an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. On or about March 11, 2022, OFAC redesignated Vekselberg as an SDN and blocked Vekselberg’s yacht and private airplane.

Read More……Yakunin Vladimir: Controversial Russian Railways Leader and Putin Confidant in 2023

Prior to his designation by OFAC, between approximately 2008 and 2017, Vekselberg, through a series of shell companies, acquired six real properties in the United States, specifically, (i) two apartments on Park Avenue in New York, New York, (ii) an estate in Southampton, New York, (iii) two apartments on Fisher Island, Florida, and (iv) a penthouse apartment also on Fisher Island, Florida (collectively, the Properties). As of the date of this information, the Properties were worth approximately $75 million. 

Voronchenko, Vekselberg’s longtime associate, retained Wise, an attorney who practiced in New York, New York, to assist in the acquisition of the Properties. Wise also managed the finances of the Properties, including by paying common charges, property taxes, insurance premiums, and other fees associated with the Properties in U.S. dollar transactions from Wise’s interest on lawyer’s trust account (IOLTA account).

In particular, prior to Vekselberg’s designation as an SDN, between approximately February 2009 and March 2018, shell companies owned by Vekselberg sent approximately 90 wire transfers totaling approximately $18.5 million to the IOLTA account. At the direction of Voronchenko and his family member who lived in Russia, Wise used these funds to make various U.S. dollar payments to maintain and service the Properties. 

Immediately after Vekselberg’s designation as an SDN, the source of the funds used to maintain and service the Properties changed. The IOLTA Account began to receive wires from a bank account in the Bahamas held in the name of a shell company controlled by Voronchenko, Smile Holding Ltd., and from a Russian bank account held in the name of a Russian national who was related to Voronchenko. Between approximately June 2018 and March 2022, approximately 25 wire transfers totaling approximately $3.8 million were sent to WISE’s IOLTA account.

Although the source of the payments changed, the management of the payments remained the same as before: Wise used these funds to make various U.S. dollar payments to maintain and service the Properties, and he did so knowing that he was promoting sanctions violations. Additionally, after Vekselberg was sanctioned in 2018, Voronchenko, Wise, and others tried to sell both the Park Avenue apartment and the Southampton estate. No licenses from OFAC were applied for or issued for these payments or attempted transfers. 

Read More…… Vladimir Potanin Russian billionaire, asks Supreme Court to stop ex-wife’s divorce case

An indictment charging co-conspirator Vladimir Voronchenko, aka Vladimir Vorontchenko, who is a fugitive, was unsealed on Feb. 7. A civil forfeiture complaint was filed against the Properties on Feb. 24.

The FBI and Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case. The Justice Department’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs, and OFAC provided valuable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Greenwood, Joshua A. Naftalis, and Sheb Swett for the Southern District of New York are prosecuting the case.

The investigation was coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Announced by the Attorney General on March 2, 2022, and under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the task force will continue to leverage all of the department’s tools and authorities to combat efforts to evade or undermine the collective actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.

FAQs on Viktor Vekselberg

Q: Who is Viktor Vekselberg?

Viktor Vekselberg is a Russian oligarch and billionaire businessman. He is the founder and chairman of the Renova Group, a conglomerate with interests in metals and mining, energy, and telecommunications. Vekselberg is also a major art collector and philanthropist.

Q: What is Viktor Vekselberg’s net worth?

According to Forbes, Viktor Vekselberg’s net worth is estimated to be $13 billion as of March 2023. He is one of the richest people in Russia.

Q: What are Viktor Vekselberg’s most notable business achievements?

Viktor Vekselberg is known for his success in the metals and mining industry. He has built Renova Group into one of the largest metals and mining conglomerates in Russia. Vekselberg has also had success in the energy and telecommunications industries.

Q: What are Viktor Vekselberg’s philanthropic interests?

Viktor Vekselberg is a major philanthropist. He supports a variety of charitable causes, including education, culture, and healthcare. Vekselberg is also a major art collector and has donated millions of dollars to museums around the world.

Q: What are the controversies surrounding Viktor Vekselberg?

Viktor Vekselberg has been involved in a number of controversies over the years. He has been accused of corruption and cronyism. Vekselberg has also been criticized for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Q: Is Viktor Vekselberg subject to sanctions?

Yes, Viktor Vekselberg is subject to sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. The sanctions were imposed in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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 ".

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button