Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#353 Suleiman Kerimov $5.23B

Random fact: Crashed his Ferrari Enzo in Nice, France, in 2006.


Kerimov family owns 82.4 percent of Polyus, the biggest gold producer in Russia. The Moscow-based company had output of 2 million ounces in 2016 and has rights to more than 64.3 million ounces in proven reserves, according to its website. He also controls a stake in a Russian luxury fashion retailer Aizel.

As of Dec. 11, 2017:
Last change +$11.7M (+0.2%)
YTD change +$851M (+19.4%)
Industry Commodities
Biggest asset PLZL RX Equity
Citizenship Russian Federation
Age 51
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Suleiman Kerimov's net worth of $5.23B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Kerimov's fortune is derived from the money he made selling industrial assets. He's collected about $7 billion since 2008, according to data complied by Bloomberg, including about $4 billion for a 21.8 percent stake in Uralkali, a potash producer. 

He collected almost $1 billion selling an additional 5.3 percent stake in Uralkali to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in December 2013, and probably acquired the stake in August of that year, according to people familiar with the details of the transaction who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The cost of the shares was derived using the stock's average price in August 2013.

Kerimov's son, Said, controls 82.4 percent of publicly traded Polyus, according to the company's July 2017 prospectus. Polyus is Russia's biggest gold producer, according to a March 2016 survey conducted by Metals Focus, a research firm. Said Kerimov holds his stake through Jersey-based Polyus Gold International.

Kerimovs pledged 50 percent of Polyus, according to an July 30, 2017 article in the Russian daily Vedomosti. These shares are removed from the valuation.

Kerimov also owns real estate assets valued at $42 million, according to local press reports, and has a 41 percent stake in Russian luxury fashion retailer He declared in April 2013 that he would give all of his dividends to the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation.

Kerimov did not respond to requests seeking comment on his net worth.


Birthdate: 3/12/1966
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1989, Dagestan State University, Bachelor's Degree

Suleiman Kerimov was born in Derbent, in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia, in 1966. When he was 18, a year after enrolling at Dagestan State Technical University, he joined the Soviet army and served for two years, graduating in 1989 with a degree in economics. He took a job as an economist at Dagestan-based Eltav electrical plant, which made transistors and semi-conductors for television manufacturers. He moved to Moscow in 1993, and began working at Fedprombank, which was established by the plant to work with its business contractors.

Within four years, Kerimov had acquired a controlling stake in Vnukovo airlines, one of Moscow's three major airlines, and built a controlling stake in Fedprombank, which he sold in 1994. In 1998, he bought a controlling stake in Nafta Moskva, a near-bankrupt and former state-run oil trader that was later named by the United Nations for unlawfully profiting from the oil-for-food program. Kerimov was elected to Russia's State Duma, the country's main legislative body, in 1999.

Kerimov began pursuing hostile takeovers, winning control of the businesses owned by Andrey Andreyev, a former Soviet police officer who controlled a collection of assets. Among the assets was an insurance company, Avtobank, Ingosstrah, and the Novotroyitsk steel plant, one of Russia's ten biggest steel facilities. He began selling the assets in 2008, offloading some to billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a founder and co-owner of United Co. Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer. Kerimov later sold Deripaska his interests in Moscow-based property developer SPK Razvitie, which he acquired in a hostile takeover.

The billionaire's biggest strikes came in the Russian stock market. He began buying Gazprom in 2003 using loans from Russian state banks. The company's market capitalization quadrupled during the next three years. He also bought shares of Sberbank, Russia's largest state-run bank. That investment increased 12-fold. After repaying the original loans, he started a new round of financing that he used to increase his positions and by 2006 held almost 6 percent of Sberbank and more than 4 percent of Gazprom. He sold most of his interests in both before the 2008 global economic crisis, building a fortune said to be worth as much as $18 billion, according to local media reports, much of which he lost in the market crash that followed.

He was investing again by 2009, this time using loans from VTB bank, Russia's second-biggest bank, acquiring a 17.2 perecent stake in Uralkali, Russia's largest potash producer, and a 40 percent stake in Polyus Gold International, Russia’s biggest producer of the metal, as well as minority stakes in a number of other Russian companies. The billionaire sold his stake in Uralkali for about $4 billion in 2013.

Kerimov is married and lives in Moscow.

  • 1966 Suleiman Kerimov is born in Derbent, the Republic of Dagestan, Russia.
  • 1983 Enrolls in Dagestan State Technical University.
  • 1984 Begins a two-year stint in the Soviet Army.
  • 1989 Graduates from Dagestan State Technical University.
  • 1989 Starts working as an economist at Eltav electrical plant in Dagestan.
  • 1999 Elected deputy in the Russia's Duma, the main legislative body.
  • 2006 Gets in a near-fatal car crash in Nice, France.
  • 2008 Appointed to the Council of the Federation in the Russian Parliament.
  • 2008 Sells controlling stake in Polymetal for about $1.8 billion.
  • 2013 Belarus seeks Kerimov's arrest, alleging abuse of office.
  • 2017 Detained in Nice on suspicions of laundering money.