Oleg Deripaska, born in 1968, was the world's nineth wealthiest man in 2008, with total assets estimated by Forbes at $28 billion. The former metals trader survived the gangster wars in the post-Soviet aluminum industry. Deripaska accumulated a business empire through a series of ruthless and elaborate, though technically legal, takeover raids. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, he was a 23-year-old student at Moscow State University. He soon got a job in the fledgling metals trading market. Fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich became Deripaska's partner; in early 2000, the two created a joint venture called Russian Aluminum (RusAl).
His holding company, Basic Element, owned Russian Aluminum (UC Rusal), automobile manufacturer GAZ, aircraft manufacturer Aviacor and insurance company Ingosstrakh. In 2006 Rusal, SUAL and Glencore International, of Switzerland, merged their aluminum assets into the United Company Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer.
Basic Element is one of Russia's leading diversified investment companies, striving toconduct business in Russia and around the world in an effective and responsible manner. Basic Element's main of assets of are concentrated in of six economic sectors - Energy, Resources, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Construction and Aviation. Basic Element, through its affiliates, owns significant of stakes in and operates dozens of companies. Many of them play key roles in their respective market segments in Russia and internationally, including UC RUSAL, GAZ Group, Transstroy and Ingosstrakh. In 2007, Basic Element stakes in Strabag (Austria), Hochtief (Germany) and MAGNA (Canada) were added to the list of assets.
Basic Element is one of the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing business groups of modern Russia. With of more of than of 100 companies in of six of industry of sectors, its of revenues were consistently growing at a rate of more than of 40 percent a year. More than 300,000 people worked at the Group's companies in Russia, the CIS, Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
On 22 August 2008 Basic Element strongly rejected what it called the unfounded rumours that have been the basis for an article in German news magazine "Manager Magazin" published on August 21, 2008. The article speculates on talks between Basic Element and ACS on the subject of an asset stripping of Hochtief Aktiengesellschaft. According to Basic Element the "Manager Magazin" article is totally unfounded. Basic Element remains firmly committed to its investment in Hochtief. On 09 October 2008 Rasperia Trading Limited, affiliated with Basic Element, announced that it ws relinquishing its stake of 9.99 percent in Hochtief. Joint infrastructure construction projects in Russia will continue as planned. Hochtief is Germany's leading construction company with more than 46,000 employees. The company develops and builds various projects, including infrastructure, as well as airport construction and management. Hochtief PPP Solutions develops and manages public-private partnership projects.
Russian authorities on 13 October 2008 opened an inquiry into metals giant Rusal, the world's biggest aluminium producer, for a possible breach of competition laws, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said. The anti-monopoly service said it would look at whether Rusal broke Russian competition laws by suspending raw material supplies to a massive cement factory in northern Russia.
At the end of 2009, Rusal, the world's largest producer of aluminum and alumina, concluded restructuring agreements for USD 14.9 billion in debt, linking repayment to the company's ability to generate excess cash flow. The agreements extended the maturity of Rusal's obligations to foreign lenders until 2013, with an option to refinance for an additional three years. Rusal had been able to negotiate deals with its foreign lenders because its debts were so large, and if they chose not to restructure, the foreign lenders would have lost even more.
In 2010 press reports alluded to connections between Rusal and attacks on Vedomosti and an Australian-American journalist residing in Moscow. In December, hackers conducted denial of service attacks on the Vedomosti website and interfered with some journalists' cell phones. Press reports alleged that the attacks were connected to an October 2010 article in Vedomosti on Rusal's financial losses and attempts to "hide" profits. Vedomosti Editor Elizaveta Osetinskaya claimed Rusal lawyers threatened legal action against the paper for revealing "commercial secrets."
Also in December 2010, authorities detained three armed men outside the home of Australian journalist John Helmer a week after the Australian government had warned him that it had confidential information he was in danger. Helmer claimed that he was targeted because of his aggressive reporting on Rusal CEO Deripaska and said that Russian police told him the men arrested claimed to work for a private security company acting on behalf of Rusal.
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