Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s third-richest man, said he’ll give $17 billion of his $18 billion fortune to charity if he defeats Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and three other candidates to win the presidency next month.
“I’ll sell everything, all my assets when I become president and donate almost all of the money to charity,” Prokhorov said during a talk show with fellow candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky that was broadcast on state-run television late.
Prokhorov, who owns the New Jersey Nets basketball team in the U.S. and stakes in Russian metals companies United Co. Rusal and Polyus Gold International Ltd., said he’d need the remaining $1 billion for personal expenses after life in the Kremlin.
“I’ll need something to live on,” Prokhorov, 46, said.
Putin, the clear favorite in polls, is seeking to garner more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff against the second-place finisher in his bid to return to the presidency after four years as premier. He was elected president in 2000 and 2004 and stepped down in 2008 in favor of his protégé, Dmitry Medvedev, to comply with constitutional term limits.
A Jan. 28-29 poll of 3,000 likely voters showed Putin winning 46 percent of the March 4 poll, followed by Zhirinovsky and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov at 9 percent, Prokhorov at 5 percent and former Putin ally Sergei Mironov at 3 percent, the Moscow-based Public Opinion Foundation, known as FOM, said on its website today, without giving a margin of error.
“My main objective is to make it to a second round,” Prokhorov said on a campaign stop in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on Jan. 27, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news service.