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Roman Abramovich
Early life and career

Abramovich lost his mother at the age of 18 months and his father, who was killed in a construction accident, at the age of four. He was raised by his paternal uncle in Komi and later by a second uncle in Moscow, both were very harsh and taught him how life is.

Abramovich attended the Industrial Institute in the city of Ukhta before being drafted into the Soviet Army. He began his business career selling plastic ducks from a grim Moscow apartment but, within a few years, Abramovich's vast wealth spread from oil conglomerates to pig farms, and secured his place within Yeltsin's inner circle.

Post-Soviet Privatization, New Wealth and Political Career

Abramovich started his commercial activity in the late 1980s when Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms permitted the opening of small private businesses, known as co-operatives. In 1992-1995 Abramovich founded five companies that conducted resale and acted as intermediaries, eventually specializing in the trade of oil and oil products.

In July, 1992, the Moscow deputy prosecutor approved the questioning of Abramovich under article 90 of the Russian criminal code. This case was sent to Ukhta, Komi republic for further investigation. He was accused of stealing diesel fuel from an Ukhta enterprise worth 4,000,000 rubles. The investigation determined that this fuel was transported to Riga using forged documents (which said that the fuel was supposed to be delivered to the Army) and sold there. Abramovich was later cleared of wrongdoing.

Abramovich obtained the majority of his wealth thanks to assets acquired cheaply during president Boris Yeltsin's program of privatizing state companies in the mid-90's. With the help of his then-partner Boris Berezovsky, he became the majority shareholder in Sibneft, a major oil company. He later acquired aluminium assets from private owners and merged them with the metals assets of Oleg Deripaska to form Russian Aluminium, the world's second-largest aluminium producer.

Abramovich and Berezovsky acquired half their shares in Sibneft through the so-called "loans for shares" program, in which the state mortgaged and later sold shares in several major enterprises to obtain loans for the government. The other half of the company was privatized through a series of auctions in the mid-1990s.

In 1999 Abramovich was elected to the State Duma as the representative for the impoverished Far East region of Chukotka. He started the charity Pole of Hope to help the people of Chukotka, especially children, and in December 2000 was elected governor of Chukotka, replacing the corrupt Alexander Nazarov. Since then he has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Chukotka, for example building a college, a hospital, a pre-school and hotels in Anadyr, renovating the airport, and funding new or renovated schools in many small towns and villages. He has also used Chukotka as a tax haven for Sibneft, though the company re-invested most of its tax savings in the region and has been exploring for oil there as part of the governor's drive to boost the local economy. Abramovich said that he would not run for governor again after his term of office expired in 2005, as it is "too expensive" - and he rarely visits the region. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin changed the law to abolish elections for regional governors, and on 21 October 2005 Abramovich was reappointed governor for another term. In 2006 Abramovich used his power as governor to help out the explorer Karl Bushby who was deported from the region for border violations after walking from Alaska into Russia during his attempt to walk round the world.

Roman Abramovich
Abramovich and European Football

In June 2003 he became the owner of the companies that control Chelsea Football Club in the United Kingdom. This immediately raised his profile in Britain where the tabloids noted the Russian connection by humorously dubbing the club Chelski. As soon as Abramovich took control, he poured massive investment into the club (estimated at GBP 440 million to January 2006), assuming the £80m debt burden and immediately making available substantial transfer funds. The club also embarked on an ambitious programme of commercial development, with the aim of making it a worldwide brand. The result was near-instant success: Chelsea finished their first season after the takeover in 2nd place in the Premiership (from 4th the previous year). The following season they moved into first place and also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. They are now one of the dominant forces in English football. It is argued that Abramovich's involvement with Chelsea has distorted the football transfer market throughout Europe, as his wealth often allows the club to purchase players virtually at will (frequently at inflated prices), without regard to the effects on the club's financial outturn. The spending has, however, also seen wealth re-distributed throughout the game, with the combined fee of £12.5m paid to West Ham United for Glen Johnson and Joe Cole helping to avert administration. In the year ending June 2005, Chelsea posted record losses of GBP 140 million and the club is not expected to record a trading profit before 2010 (Mosnews).

He is also present at almost every game Chelsea play, proving his love for the sport, instead of treating it as a "money-making factory", and visits the players in the dressing room following each match. He is also humble, as it is reported in the newspapers that he spends only GBP 100,000 on clothing a year, a small amount for a man who has an estimated fortune of $18.2 billion.

In March 2004, Sibneft agreed a three-year sponsorship deal worth USD 58 million (approx. GBP 30 million, €44.5 million, RUR 1.6 billion) with the Russian team CSKA Moscow. Despite the company explaining that the decision was made at management level, some viewed the deal as an attempt by Abramovich to counter accusations of being unpatriotic which were made at the time of the Chelsea purchase. UEFA rules prevent one person owning more than one team participating in UEFA competitions, so Abramovich has no equity interest in CSKA. Following an investigation, he was cleared by UEFA of having a conflict of interest. Nevertheless, he was named most influential person in Russian football in the Russian magazine Pro Sport at the end of June 2004. In May 2005, CSKA won the UEFA Cup, becoming the first Russian club ever to win a major European football competition. However, in October 2005, Abramovich sold his interest in Sibneft and the company's new owner Gazprom, which sponsors St. Petersburg team Zenit, cancelled the sponsorship deal.

Roman Abramovich
Relationship with Kremlin

Abramovich's close relationship with Boris Yeltsin and his family is well known, and some details have been provided by general Korzhakov. It is alleged that Yeltsin provided Abramovich with protection from any attempt of prosecution for criminal activities.

The proposed merger of Sibneft with Yukos was seen by most as a move to distance himself from Russia, at a time when the Kremlin appears to have decided to bring at least some of the oligarchs to account for their colourful past business practices. Abramovich was a close associate of controversial Boris Berezovsky who sold him his stake in Sibneft, although in July 2005 Berezovsky announced his intention to sue Abramovich in the British courts for pressuring him into selling most of his Russian assets cheaply to Abramovich after Berezovsky fled the country.

In 2005, he moved down to second place in the Sunday Times Rich List of UK residents, as the newspapers estimate of Lakshmi Mittal's wealth had more than quadrupled since the previous year. Abramovich is included in the list despite the fact that he retains residences in Moscow, Chukotka and a mulitimillion dollar mansion in Barbados.

In September 2005 Abramovich sold 72.663% of Sibneft to the Russian-government controlled Gazprom for $13.01 billion (€10.81 billion, £7.4 billion). The transaction is interpreted as indicating that he remains on good terms with President Vladimir Putin, unlike fellow-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkhovsky (The Khodorkhovsky-case has been a very controversial case, leading many to believe that he is a prisoner of conscience, or rather imprisoned for not co-operating with Putin) who was recently jailed for nine years. In addition the Kremlin press service recently confirmed that Abramovich's name has been sent for approval as governor for another term to Chukotka's local parliament, which confirmed his appointment on 21 October 2005.

Roman Abramovich
Other interests and activities

Abramovich is known as a fan of Formula One and is often seen in the paddock at races; in 2004, after the sport's owner Bernie Ecclestone was seen giving Abramovich a tour of the pitlane at the Monaco Grand Prix, rumours circulated that he was considering investing in or purchasing an F1 team.

He owns his own private Boeing 767-300 known as "The Bandit" due to its paint scheme.

Of Jewish background, Abramovich is a firm supporter of Jewish causes, seen his funding of several projects in the Abramovich neighbourhood in Jerusalem, Israel and in Tel Aviv.

He owns four superyachts and is building a fifth that will be the largest in the world. Le Grand Bleu, previously owned by Paul Allen of Microsoft, is 108.3 metres long and carries a 22 metre yacht on board, a helicopter, speedboat and jet skis. Pelorus is a 114.5 metre yacht made by the Lurssen yard, and Ecstasea is an 85.95 Feadship vessel launched in 2004.

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Comments
Excellent businessman
Written by Mathias on 2007-01-13 17:53:17
This guy is the most inspiring businessman out there.
admiration
Written by pat/vienna on 2008-07-30 09:19:00
everything happens for a reason-by the way i heard that in his private time he`s very kind and friendly! roman abramovich is more than just inspiring...cant describe it in words shalom
greatesst bussinessman
Written by onkabetse mosotho on 2007-12-11 01:30:33
roman abramovich is the most inspiring man who had a huge impact in russian politics and european soccer god bless as blesssed is a giving hand
no title
Written by johnson on 2008-02-24 13:05:16
god has been very kind to you an i know he is never wrong ,if he has given u this position then u are a very speical person for god . wish u all happiness in life john
I like this guy
Written by Respect on 2008-05-08 04:35:59
What can i say Roman is living his destiny and i have learnt a lot from him. He is an inspiration a great inspiration and i like this guy
no title
Written by Guest on 2008-05-24 10:37:27
to whom much is given, much is expected. You're an Idol, God bless you
your bright roman
Written by raymond jounior on 2008-07-02 00:00:18
Roman stay blessed.you have inspired me.am a poor guy but I realised that I can also work hard and be some one...our backgrounds dont matter much. you deserve even much more.
russian species
Written by dr.ogbakpan oscar on 2008-07-02 02:37:33
great attitude for a successful businessman
no title
Written by Dickson on 2008-07-04 13:26:06
His favoreds
 
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