A foreign investor and former Putin supporter pegs the Russian leader's worth at $200 billion, says he was stealing for years.
Bill Browder is the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, an investment fund and asset management firm with offices in the UK and Russia. He formerly was Russia's largest foreign investor - and he formerly supported President Vladimir Putin.
But now he says Pres. Putin is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $200 billion. To put that in perspective, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is believed to hold that title, with $76 billion to support it. Or, to put it another way, Putin, according to Browder, is worth more than the Koch Brothers ($80 billion), Warren Buffet ($58 billion) and GOP political campaign financier Sheldon Adelson ($38 billion) combined.
How did the Russian President amass so much wealth? Browder on Saturday told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that "the first eight or 10 years of Putin's reign over Russia, it was about stealing as much money as he could. And some people, including myself, believe that he's the richest man in the world, or one of the richest men in the world, with hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth that was stolen from Russia."
Asked by Zakaria what Putin's net worth is, Browder replied, "I believe that it's $200 billion. After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn't been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank - Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies."
Browder says the "power is very simple in Russia - whoever has the power to arrest people is the person in power. And so what Putin does is he has a bunch of guys around him who have the power to arrest people. And so it doesn't matter how rich you are, if you can be arrested, put in jail and have your money taken away, the guy who can do that to you is the most powerful person in Russia."
This is one more reason why the LGBT community in Russia is in so much danger.
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