Is Putin secretly the world's richest man?

Russia's president earns less than $200,000 a year on the job. But there are signs that he may be far wealthier than he lets on.

By Kim Peterson Sep 17, 2013 6:05PM
Vladimir Putin earns less than $200,000 a year as Russia's president. At least, that's the official line.

There is new speculation, however, that Putin could be ridiculously rich -- perhaps even the richest man in the world. Putin isn't admitting anything, though, and few others know many details about his fortune.

This is a man who reportedly has a watch collection worth $700,000. He's given away pricey watches as gifts, such as the $10,500 Blancpain he gave to a Siberian boy he met while on vacation in 2009, ABC News reports.
You don't have a $700,000 watch collection without some serious wealth. But how rich is Putin?

Many estimates refer to a 2007 interview by Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky claiming that Putin controlled 37% of oil company Surgutneftegaz and 4.5% of energy company Gazprom, Bloomberg reports. Based on those holdings alone, Putin's wealth was estimated at $40 billion at the time.© Maxim Shemetov/AP
Vladimir Putin

How much has his fortune grown since then? Enough to surpass that of Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT), who is thought to be the world's richest with $72 billion? (Microsoft owns and publishes moneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)

Belkovsky returned to the subject last year, estimating that Putin's wealth had likely grown to as much as $70 billion, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Even if Putin's fortune had not grown at all since then, the figure would put him on par with Gates. But it's very likely that Putin did increase his wealth over the last year.

Putin has flatly denied any suggestion that he is wealthy. But others have documented how Putin's friends and family members have become fabulously rich during his time in office, writes Leonid Bershidsky this week in Bloomberg.

"He has the whole country at his beck and call," writes Bershidsky. "It is enough for Putin to snap his fingers, and state-owned companies will cede assets to his friends at bargain-basement prices. A whisper from him, and wealthy private businessmen will chip in for the lavish refurbishment of a presidential residence."

More on moneyNOW

Tags: MSFT
Sep 17, 2013 7:00PM
Funny how it is the politicians get super wealthy watching out for us and we go broke because of them directing our business and spending our money.....something wrong here!
Sep 17, 2013 7:23PM
He is a crooked **** like 95% of all politicians in the USA...I hope they ALL rot in Hell 
Sep 17, 2013 7:05PM

The man is a thug plan and simple. He has raped Russia for decades just like the Romanovs. He will do anything to get ahead including, but not limited, to murdering of his fellow states man. He is quite possibly the worst thing that could have ever happened to Russia. He will never leave power and/if when he does he will run over anyone and everything to take his miss-gotten and stolen wealth with him. He is a criminal and should be held accountable. He is a living example of what is wrong with this world. His level and greed (for power and money) is interminable and bottomless.

Sep 17, 2013 6:52PM
I am russian, and I believe Putin scrimped and saved 3 1/2 years just to buy that watch collection.  If I ever change my mind on this, may I be imprisoned and tortured!  Really, Im pretty sure I will be.     
Sep 17, 2013 6:27PM
Now that's how crony capitalism is supposed to work!
Sep 17, 2013 7:04PM
He is former KGB "Lieutenant Colonel" highly connected to  Russias Corp/Gang /Security /Military structure,Gas, and Oil interests ... still waters run deep ....suffice it to say he is very very Rich
Sep 17, 2013 7:54PM
Don't forget his Superbowl ring collection
Sep 17, 2013 6:23PM
how can this be? comrade putin the richest man in the world? i thought russia was the USSR? you mean socialism is a farce?
Sep 17, 2013 6:40PM
all that  money and he can't afford a shirt for his horseback riding
Sep 17, 2013 7:27PM
Nostradamus... the man in the Blue Turban with a secret stash of weapons of mass destruction under ground. Could it be Putin? I don't see where the blue turban comes in but the seer saw glimpses, so is there some bizarre photo of Putin in a funky blue hat there? As for the weapons-- who more likely? Once this envisioned man is uncovered, war happens and after it-- a thousand years of peace. As for being worth as much as speculated-- given the $1 quadrillion or more in world currencies with cash as one, debt instruments and derivatives being coursed as well... is a Trillionaire out of the question? It's a fact that Goldman Sachs had their Top Racketeer Con Artist Conference in Russia not too long ago. It was where our former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen- former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who did the T.A.R.P. scam on us while supposedly only making a Geithner-like wage... appeared at that Russian Con-ference and announced he was selling $500 million in GS shares he wasn't supposed to own.  As long as the world tolerates financial corruption the possibilities are endless in the Global Economic Domination that enslaves the rest of us. I don't like it... I'd rather Eat the Rich... they've been Prime-Fed while we all were GMO'd.
Sep 18, 2013 12:50AM
Funny how the top Communist could actually be the top Capitalist. The ultimate irony when USA is quickly passing thru socialism heading toward communism.
Sep 17, 2013 8:07PM

that ugly stupid commie is running commie Russian like a mafia thug

American should NEVER EVER Trust any commie like Putin

 and on trhat Syria thing he is freakin playing the American BIG TIME

And laughing all the way ho his many banks in Commie Russia..

Sep 17, 2013 7:08PM
Putin's son-in-law owns an oil trading company in Geneva.   All REBCO sales now must pass through that company.    Nothing gets doen in the oil and gas business in Russia without the approval of Putin.    
Sep 17, 2013 9:44PM
obama needs to call putin over to negotiate the debt ceiling. probably get a positive result with putin. just sayin.
Sep 18, 2013 2:37AM

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”


With all the money, fame and power a human can accumulate, it won't buy you another breath when it is your time...

Sep 17, 2013 7:31PM
I don't know if he is rich but I would say Obama owes hom for bailing him out of the Syria mess he created with his dopey red line comment.
Sep 17, 2013 10:06PM

NOT ONLY DID HE EAT OBAMA'S LUNCH, HE ALSO TOOK HIS LUNCH MONEY AND HIS MAO LUNCH BOX.                                                                                                                                                    RUMOR HAS IT PUTIN USES THE LUNCH BOX TO STORE ALL THE SUPER-BOWL RINGS  HE LIFTED.
Sep 17, 2013 6:25PM
The guy probably is a very rich man. He certainly is one smooth and quite guy unlike the likes of many we know that are rich.  So, we will never no the truth.
Sep 17, 2013 7:31PM
....yeah, and everybody else is just lazy and
Sep 18, 2013 3:00AM

Are Obama's caretakers (msnbc) scared Putin is going to be liked better than Obama? Every time we turn around now it's Putin this and Putin that, mean old Putin. The only interest we have in Putin right now as Americans is whether the deal he made bails out our incompetent President on his red line blabbering for the sake of staying out of WWIII. Are we going to favor one over the worry, most Americans these days have no use for either. Tell us what is going on with Obama and let the Russians worry about their own shirtless wealthy smooth talker. When we say tell us about Obama we don't want to hear about the dogs, his wife's hairstyles or how he did on the golf course, but for example how he is going to help us with Obamacare when salaries are cut in half and premiums double? Maybe Obama should become better buddies with Putin because he may have to loan us some of that money because China is going to get tired of waiting for theirs. There are many more things we want to hear about, but we will go to other news sources because some things you guys just can't comprehend.

Do we get to see a picture of Putin's wife's arms to compare to our First Lady's? We've already seen a picture of her feeding the needy lasagna to compare to the lunch menus Michele is starving our kids with ...the 850 calorie meal..

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