What are they stealing and where are they
What would you do if luck smiled on you and you found yourself in possession of several billion dollars? Buying a football club, a yacht, expensive real estate and – most desirable of all status symbols – a personal jet perhaps?
Russian oligarchs have a particular fondness for personal jets, and University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney follows them on a Twitter feed, Russian Oligar Jets (@RUOligarJets).
Following them is one thing, finding out anything about the planes of these oligarchs is another. Photos of their interiors and first-hand reports are almost non-existent. Pilots, cabin crew, and even Instagram-loving guests are keeping silent, and considering how their owners got to where they are today, silence is prudent. (Although you can take a look at Boeing’s own interior designs for the 787 Dreamliner in the photo gallery above)
So far, it appears that none of their planes have been seized. Several oligarchs have several nationalities and this complicates the sequestration of their assets. Most cultivated personal relationships and contributed generously to various Western politicians. Some might suggest they bought political protection, and unlike a luxury yacht or a London mansion, a jet plane is a fast target. Many have been relocated to Russia or to less demanding jurisdictions, such as the Gulf States.
Several oligarchs have been careful to hide the actual ownership of the planes they fly. Some are owned by the companies the oligarchs themselves own, some are leased, some are held in an aviation trust. But for now, at least some members of the oligarchy are going to be limited where they can go as they come to terms with the fact that no one really loves them.
Roman Abramovich, the man with the most
Why stop at just one personal jet plane? That seems to be the thinking of Roman Abramovich, the most visible of the Russian oligarchs thanks to his majority stake in Chelsea Football Club, despite the club currently being up for sale due to the invasion of Ukraine.
According to ForbesAbramovich owns a Boeing 767-33A/ER, worth $180 million (A$240 million), a Boeing 787 Dreamliner worth about $250 million, a Gulfstream G650, the same model than that of Kim Kardashian, and a Bombardier BD700 worth $250 million. 40 million US dollars.
His workhorse for several years has been the Boeing 767, with a gold banquet hall that can accommodate 30 people and an anti-missile system identical to that used on board Air Force One. In late 2021, it went on sale, at an asking price of $100 million, after Abramovich acquired his own Dreamliner. The Gulfstream G650 has been on an intriguing jaunt of late, followed by Tel Aviv – Abramovich is Jewish with Israeli citizenship – to Istanbul, Luxembourg and finally Moscow. The Bombardier was last seen in late February in Riga, Latvia.
After cutting his teeth as a street entrepreneur and factory mechanic, Abramovich capitalized on opportunities that presented themselves in the collapse of the Soviet Union, taking control of oil producer Sibneft, paying a fraction of its real value in a fake auction.
Ten years after buying a half-share of Sibneft for $100 million, he sold it to the Russian government for $13 billion. Later interest in the Russian aluminum industry was only slightly less lucrative. According to US intelligence, Abramovich is Vladimir Putin’s bagman. He owns No 16 Kensington Palace Gardens, worth an estimated £125million and a mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side created from four townhouses. Abramovich’s net worth halved in 2022 to $7.1 billion
Metalloinvest magnate Alisher Usmanov
Alisher Usmanov’s four-engine Airbus A340-300 private jet is worth somewhere north of $400 million, considered the second most expensive private jet in the world. Known as Burkhan after his father, and a regular fixture at German and Swiss airports, the plane left European territory in late February in favor of Tashkent in Usmanov’s state of Uzbekistan, where he has a modern palace.
Described by the EU as “one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarchs”, with a net worth of just under $20 billion, the Uzbek businessman made his fortune in metals and mining with some smart investments along the way, including a majority stake in Russia’s second-largest group. mobile phone operator. He owns Beechwood House, a sprawling 4.5 hectare villa in London’s Highgate, bought for £48m in 2008, now valued at £82m.
Vagit Alekperov, the Baku billionaire
Nominally owned by Lukoil, the Russian oil and gas producer, Alekperov travels in a Dassault Falcon 900EX, a three-engine business jet. The plane has a list price of around $40 million. More recently, the plane was tracked flying between Moscow and Kogalym, a town in the Lukoil company.
After working on an oil rig in the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijani-born Alekperov soon became Deputy Minister of Oil and Gas Industry of the USSR in 1990. In 1993 Lukoil was born, with Alekperov as chairman and president. Within a decade, he owned more than 10% of the company. Besides mansions in Moscow and Ukraine, Alekperov also has a house in Switzerland, but it is not going well. His net worth, estimated at $26 billion just a few months ago, was hit hard by sanctions announced following the invasion of Ukraine and Alekperov is now down to just $7.19 billion. .
Sir Leonard Blavatnik – call me “Len”
Blavatnik’s people carrier is a Boeing 777-212ER, nominally owned by his company, Access Industries, and which previously flew in Singapore Airlines livery. For those personal and family occasions, he drives around in a small but elegant Gulfstream G600. Said to be fitted in a 9-seat configuration, the aircraft has a maximum range of 12,223 km and a list price of just under $60 million. GlobalAir has a 2019 model for sale at $54.7 million. At the end of March, the G600 was tracked in New York, London and Palm Beach.
Sir Leonard Valentinovich Blavatnik is a Ukrainian-American-British businessman, founder of Access Industries and current holder of the title of “the richest guy in the UK”. After the implosion of the Soviet Union, he bought up state-owned companies at ridiculous prices, with more recent investments in the entertainment industry and biotechnology. Knighted in 2017 for his services to philanthropy, his net worth is estimated at £23billion and his home at 5 Kensington Palace Gardens is valued at £200million. His Manhattan residence is valued at $200 million. Although his planes are followed on the Russian Oligar Jets Twitter account, Blavatnik has always refused to be called an “oligarch” on the grounds that his personal and business activities are unrelated to the Russian government.
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