From a first fortune made from manufacturing plastic bags, which were in short supply in the Soviet Union, Alisher Usmanov’s business dealings saw him rise to become one of the 100 richest people in the world, buying multimillion-pound mansions and stakes in English Premier League football clubs along the way.
Now the Uzbek-born billionaire risks losing some of the trappings of his extreme wealth after he was placed on the EU sanctions list, which named him as “one of Vladmir Putin’s favourite oligarchs”.
The 68-year-old metals magnate was ranked 99th on Forbes magazine’s 2021 billionaires list with an estimated fortune of $14.1bn (£11bn).
On Thursday night Usmanov was also added to the UK and US sanctions lists, meaning he is facing asset freezes on anything he owns in Britain or the EU, including his lavish UK property portfolio, leaving him unable to sell, mortgage or rent out his homes.
The US authorities took the step of including photos of his yacht and private jet on its press release, claiming “Usmanov’s Kremlin ties enrich him and enable his luxurious lifestyle.”
His Airbus A340 jet – named Bourkhan after his father and featuring a retro brown striped livery – is registered in the Isle of Man, and believed to have cost up to $500m. When used by commercial airlines, such a plane can carry around 300 passengers.
The US authorities added that the plane’s registration, M-IABU, which is displayed on its tail, “spells out ‘I’m Alisher Burhanovich Usmanov’.” One of the largest privately-owned planes in Russia, the jet reportedly left the EU in late February.
Usmanov’s $600m superyacht Dilbar, which is named after his mother and thought to be the largest in the world by gross tonnage, was reported on Wednesday night to have been seized by German authorities from a