Friday, November 4, 2011

Yelena Baturina

Yelena Nikolayevna Baturina (born 8 March 1963) is a Russian oligarch, Russia's richest woman and the only Russian woman worth more than a billion dollars. She is the joint 993rd richest person in the world currently, after tumbling from a much higher wealth. Her husband, Yuriy Luzhkov, was mayor of Moscow from 1992 to 2010.

Baturina is a Moscow native who began working at the Fraser plant (where her parents worked) after graduating from high school. She soon left for the Institute of Economical Problems of All-Around Development of the National Economy. She later got a degree, graduating from the Moscow-based State University of Management. Baturina met her future husband, Yuriy Luzhkov, in 1987 when they were both serving on the Mosgorispolkom, a Soviet-era municipal commission. They married in 1991. The next year he became mayor of Moscow. In 2010 he was sacked by President Medvedev amidst accusations of corruption and mismanagement voiced on state run television. Yuriy himself had at one time been tipped to run for president, though he never did.

In 1991 Baturina founded her company, Inteco ("Inteko" (Интеко) in Russian), which focuses on construction though it began as a plastics business. After Luzhkov became the mayor of Moscow in 1992, Inteco grew quickly, and he was accused of corruption because he awarded municipal contracts to his wife's company. For instance, Inteco was controversially awarded the contract to produce 85,000 seats for Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow's largest stadium, in 1995. At one point Inteco was said to control 20% of construction in the capital. It is now being restructured away from building projects. In 2005 Inteco sold its cement works and DSK-3, a producer of prefabricated buildings, for $1.1 billion. Baturina then bought shares in Gazprom and Sberbank.According to Forbes magazine, Baturina's net worth was $4.2 billion in 2008, up from $3.1 billion in 2007, $2.3 billion in 2006 and $1.1 billion in 2004. According to magazine Finans, her wealth fell during the credit crunch to just $1 billion in February 2009, causing her to ask the Russian government for a bailout for Inteko. Her wealth, as of 2011, was listed as $1.2 billion.

Baturina has a diverse portfolio. She owns hotels in the Black Sea tourist resort of Sochi, over 72,000 hectares of agricultural land in the Belgorod Oblast, and also a factory that produces a million cans of sweetened condensed milk each year.

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