Who is Leonard Blavatnik?

The oil and metal magnate is one of the richest people in Britain, but he's still not a household name.

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Who is he?

You may well ask. At 48, the oligarch is Britain's sixth-richest resident, and one of Londongrad's dozens of Russian billionaires. Worth £4.7 billion, he even outbid his compatriot Roman Abramovich for a £41 million pad in Kensington Palace Gardens.

How did he make his billions?

At 21, a penniless Blavatnik left the Soviet Union for the US in 1978, taking an MBA at Harvard. Within a decade, he'd made a small fortune through his New York-based Access Industries and started acquiring Russian bargains. In 2003, he co-founded TNK-BP in a joint venture with the British energy giant and it's now Russia's third-largest oil firm. He also has interests in plastics, aluminium, telecoms and Kazakh coalmines.

The secret of his success?

Blavatnik quickly saw the commercial potential of post-communist Russia. He has kept a low profile compared to other rich Russians - his US staff have said he doesn't even travel with bodyguards. Let's hope he has a sushi-taster.

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