Russia makes up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.
Donald Trump JR, speaking in Moscow in 2008 about the Trump
In 1992 Rybolovlev went on a business course in the capital. He returned to Perm, set up an investment bank, and applied what he knew about privatization to the region’s Soviet-era chemical factories. He acquired a stake in Uralkali, Russia’s biggest producer of potassium-based fertilizer. By 1996 he had control.
Rybolovlev would insist that unlike other tycoons he received no leg up from the state. Apparent proof of this came the state. Apparent proof of this came the same year, when he spent eleven months in jail, accused of murdering a rival factory executive. After getting out, exonerated, he joined his family in Switzerland and the safety of Geneva. Uralkali expanded. So did Rybolovlev’s fortune.
In 2007 Uralkali floated on the London Stock Exchange. BAy the spring of 2008, according to Forbes, Rybolovlev was the world’s fifty-ninth richest man. he was worth $12.8 billion. He was considerably better off than Trump.
It was at this point, in July, that Rybolovlev purchased Trump’s Palm Beach mansion for a staggering $95 million. The mansion has seventeen bedrooms, Greek fountains, a hundred-foot swimming pool, a cavernous underground car park, and a jacuzzi overlooking the ocean.
Even so, the purchase raised eyebrows. First, the Florida property market had been cooling for some time. Second, the house had been on the market for two years. Third, Trump had paid $41.1 million for it less than four years earlier. Fourth, subsequent renovations were modest. Fifth, Rybolovlev had never set foot on the estate… He eventually demolished it.
By Luke Harding