Vladimir Putin Is World’s Richest Person – Investment Firm Claims Russian Leader Usurped $200 Billion

The title of the world’s richest person might have to be conferred on Vladimir Putin, suggested Bill Browder, CEO of the investment firm that was the single largest foreign investor in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin could be the world’s richest person with a stolen $257 billion fortune, claims Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder. The Russian President allegedly managed to amass such a wealth by stealing billions from his country’s coffers and hiding it in overseas accounts.

“I believe (Putin’s net worth) is $200 billion. After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn’t been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank — Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies,”

If the statements pan out to be true, the fortune would make Putin more than twice as wealthy as Bill Gates. Currently, the world’s richest man Bill Gates, has a net worth of $78.6 billion.

While it is quite common for the population, news media, and even CEOs to make such seemingly outrageous claims, Browder’s words cannot be taken lightly. Browder was once a strong supporter of Vladimir Putin. This was when Hermitage Capital Management was the single largest foreign investor in Russia. The firm virtually oversaw any and all major deals in Russia and managed the flow of foreign wealth and investment in the country.

However, the scenario suddenly changed in 2005, when the investment firm was abruptly declared a “threat to national security” and barred from operating in the country. The company was officially expelled from Russia. According to Browder, the company’s successful run was cut-short primarily because he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were stealing from the state-run companies in which he was investing. That’s when Vladimir Putin turned on him and banned his company from Russia.

In a tell-all book, “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice”, the former “shareholder activist” reveals exactly how Vladimir Putin managed to amass such wealth.

Browder claims Putin had a very simple trick – blackmail and extortion of wealthy family-managed Russian companies. The CEO says Putin made a “deal” with wealthy oligarchs, promising to spare them jail time for “stealing profits from companies” if they shared their wealth with him.

Vladimir Putin’s involvement in three Russian oil and gas companies has been exposed in the past. Hence the claims of the vast fortune he has amassed, do not seem farfetched.

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]