Russia's so desperate to get its billionaires and their massive wealth back that it just threatened to seize the assets of an oligarch worth $13 billion


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Andrey Melnichenko

Andrey Melnichenko is worth $13 billion.Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

  • Russia filed a lawsuit against oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, who is worth $13 billion.

  • The lawsuit alleges Melnichenko’s purchase of power plant operator Sibeco five years ago was corrupt.

  • The state is looking to seize Sibeco amid Putin’s call for Russian tycoons to invest at home.

Russia appears to be going ham on its billionaires lying low overseas as Moscow grapples with supporting its economy amid the war in Ukraine.

Authorities have filed a lawsuit against Andrey Melnichenko, an oligarch now based in the United Arab Emirates, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The lawsuit — filed earlier this month in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk — alleges Melnichenko’s purchase of power plant operator Sibeco five years ago was corrupt, the FT reported.

In 2018, he bought the company for 36 billion rubles, or $571 million, from a former government minister who was later arrested in 2019 for embezzlement and fraud at another unnamed company.

Russian state prosecutors are now planning to seize and nationalize Sibeco, per the FT. Melnichenko’s representative confirmed to the FT that he received the lawsuit and that a legal team is working on the case. A hearing is scheduled for early September.

The lawsuit against Melnichenko comes as the Kremlin pushes to get rich Russians to transfer their assets back home amid an exodus of high-net-worth individuals following the Ukraine war.

At a gathering of business leaders in March, Putin called on those present to invest in Russia, Reuters reported.

“A responsible entrepreneur is a real citizen of Russia, of his country, a citizen who understands and acts in its interests,” Putin said, per Reuters’ translation. “He does not hide assets offshore but registers companies here, in our country, and does not become dependent on foreign authorities.”

The ninth richest person in Russia, Melnichenko — who has been sanctioned by the European Union and the US — is worth $13 billion as of Monday, according to Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index. His wealth is largely derived from majority stakes in fertilizer giant Eurochem and coal company Suek.

In March 2022, Melnichenko — whose mother is Ukrainian — told Reuters in an interview that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “truly tragic.”

Melnichenko did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider sent via his foundation outside regular business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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