Birthdate: 10/24/1966Family: Separated, 7 childrenEducation: Moscow State Academy of Law

Roman Arkadievich Abramovich was born in Saratov, Russia, in 1966. His mother, Irina, died 18 months later. His father, Arkady Nakhimovich, worked for the Syktyvkar National Economic Council and died when Roman was 4. He was raised by relatives in Komi and Moscow. After his compulsory service in the Soviet Army, Abramovich enrolled in the Moscow Road Transport Institute and soon dropped out to work as a mechanic. He later earned a correspondence degree from Moscow State Law Academy.

Abramovich sold plastic toys from 1989 to 1991. In the years that followed, he created several companies that traded petroleum products, minerals, cement and fertilizers in Russia and elsewhere. He was questioned by police, in 1992, for the theft of government-owned diesel fuel. The case was dismissed when the fuel was recovered.

Four years later, he used a personal connection he made with Boris Berezovsky — a confidant of then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin and a broker in the privatization of state-owned assets — to acquire a 50 percent stake in Siberian Oil Co. (Sibneft) for about $100 million. He later acquired a controlling stake in the company through subsequent auctions. Abramovich made investments in aluminum, automobile manufacturing and Russian airline Aeroflot. He merged his aluminum assets with Siberian Aluminum, to create Russian Aluminum (Rusal) in 2000 and, in 2003 and 2004, sold a 50 percent stake in Rusal to fellow billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, for more than $2 billion.

Abramovich began to sell his energy and metals assets and refocus his investments in 2003. Gazprom bought Sibneft for more than $13 billion in 2005, of which Abramovich received about $10 billion. The billionaire had already collected about $6 billion in dividends and stock sales. The proceeds were part of a lawsuit brought against him by Berezovsky, who said the $2 billion Abramovich paid him from 1995 to 2002 was not enough to compensate him for the stake in Sibneft he claims to have owned. Abramovich said the payment was only for access and “krysha,” or political protection. A judge ruled in Abramovich’s favor in August 2012.

He parlayed some of his windfall into a collection of cars, planes and yacht Eclipse, the world’s second largest private yacht. He also bought artworks by Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, and London’s Chelsea Football Club.

The billionaire has been a supporter of Russia’s Chukotka region, where he began serving as governor in 2000. He resigned as chairman of the local duma, Chukotka’s legislature, in July 2013. Since 1999, through personal and corporate taxes, as well as other funding he and his companies have donated more than $2.5 billion for schools, hospitals and infrastructure, and have helped reduce the region’s budget deficit.Milestones

  • 1966 Roman Abramovich is born in Saratov, Russia.
  • 1989 Starts trading products — including rubber ducks — in Moscow.
  • 1999 Elected Chukotka representative to Russia’s national Parliament.
  • 2000 Co-founds aluminum maker Rusal with Oleg Deripaska.
  • 2003 Buys Chelsea Football Club for $98.5 million.
  • 2003 Completes sale of his stake in Rusal to Deripaska.
  • 2005 Sells Sibneft to Gazprom for more than $13 billion.
  • 2011 Sued by Boris Berezovsky in London for $7 billion; wins case in 2012.
  • 2013 Resigns post as chairman of Chukotka region’s Parliament.
  • 2017 Splits from third wife Dasha Zhukova.


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