Russia Loses Half of Its Billionaires

Market woes, weak ruble have chipped away at fortunes
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2009 10:00 AM CST
Russia Loses Half of Its Billionaires
This is a Sunday, May 11, 2008, file photo of Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich. He has seen his fortune drop by nearly half over the past year.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The 10 wealthiest Russians have lost two-thirds of their fortunes in the past year, AP reports, based on the magazine Finans' annual list of billionaires. The ranks of billionaires have been cut in half, from 101 to just 49. Last year's richest Russian, Oleg Deripaska, has fallen to eighth on the list, after his fortune skidded 85% to a mere $4.9 billion. Roman Abramovich, who owns the Chelsea Football Club, kept second place, at $13.9 billion, but lost nearly half of his worth.

The billionaires can blame faltering stock markets and a drastically devalued ruble, as well as nosedives in once-inflated metals and oil prices. Even the new holder of the list's top spot, playboy banker Mikhail Prokhorov, has been hit hard by the slump. He lost a third of his fortune in the past year, bringing his total wealth to $14 billion.
(More Russia stories.)

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