Suleiman Kerimov is the emblem of controversial businessmen. He has been ranked as the 6th richest Muslim man and termed “Russia’s richest civil servant”. Here’s more about Kerimov…
He was born in Dagestan, where he grew up and was educated. He graduated from high school in 1993 and proceeded into the Civil Engineering Department at Dagestan Polytechnic Institute in 1984, which he had to terminate after a year to fulfil the mandatory military service for the Soviet Army. He resumed his formal education at the Dagestan State University after the completion of military service in 1986 and acquired a degree in financial accounting and economics in 1989.
A little after his graduation, landed a job as an economist at the Eltav electrical plant in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan where he was being paid 150 roubles (roughly $250 dollars) a month. He got promoted to Deputy Director General at Eltav and started investing during the fall of the Soviet Union.
From then on, he kept investing in numerous stakes and made a career of capitalising in troubled companies. He founded his own diversified investment company, Nafta Moskva, in 1992 and somewhat luckily for him, sold almost all of his Russian properties just before Russia’s economic crisis in 2008. Nevertheless, he still lost billions because he had borrowed heavily to buy stakes in Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank among others.
After the depression, he acquired loans from VTB Bank and resumed investing in the Russian market by purchasing a stake in Polyus Gold, Rostelecom, a leading telecom company; and billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev’s stake in Uralkali. The CEO of Uralkali was arrested in August 2013 for embezzling funds and abusing power and Kerimov was forced to sell his stake to billionaires Mikhail Prokhorov and Dmitry Mazepin.
Despite the numerous business controversies and investigations his entrepreneurial career has landed him into, this Muslim Billionaire also happens to be a prominent politician in Russia. He acquired a seat in parliament with the Liberal Democratic Party but not before becoming a member of the State Duma of the 3rd Convocation-the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia for 4 years (1999-2003) and, at the same time, a member of the State Duma Committee for Security. During his status as a member of the Committee for Security, he was also a delegate of the 4th Convocation and Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Physical Education, Sports and Youth. Currently, the Russian billionaire is serving as a member of the Federation Council of the Federation Assembly of the Russian Federation — the upper house of the Federation Assembly— and represents the Republic of Dagestan which he has been doing since 2008.
Kerimov has been described by Forbes Magazine as one of the most private Russian billionaires, probably due to the fact that he hasn’t granted a single interview to anyone for over 20 years in his entrepreneurial career.