Last year, Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believes the Russian president is “the richest man in the world” with a net worth of $200 billion.
Browder has some bona fides to back up his Russia connections; the financier’s firm was once the largest portfolio investor in Russia.
Celebritynetworth.com has a more conservative estimate: $70 billion, which matches the figure Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky gave the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2012.
Forbes, the universally accepted source of wealth information, has dubbed the former KGB agent “the world’s most powerful person” but does not give an estimate of his net worth.
A spokesperson for the publication told Town & Country earlier this year that’s because they haven’t been able to figure it out: “While Forbes has been able to track money tied to Putin’s allies, we have not been able to come up with a defensible, provable estimate of his net worth.”
“Everything that belongs to the territory of the Russian Federation Putin considers to be his,” exiled Russian banker Sergei Pugachev told the Guardian (Pugachev once earned the nickname “Putin’s banker.”)
He said that “any attempt to calculate [Putin’s net worth] won’t succeed. He’s the richest person in the world until he leaves power.”
Whatever the figure is, Putin himself certainly isn’t saying. When presented with links to stories cited above, a representative from the Press and Information Office of the President of the Russian Federation responded, “This information has no substance.
As you may know, the declarations of Mr. Putin’s income and property are published annually on http://kremlin.ru/structure/administration/income-reports.” [Editor’s note: Putin’s reported 2015 salary was 8.9 million rubles (about $137,000)]
The Kremlin representative signed off with a phrase familiar in Trumpworld: “We recommend you to use only reliable sources henceforward and not to believe fake news in 2018.”