Born June 14, 1957 in Moscow;
Attended Moscow Institute of Transport Engineers, but did not graduate it (he left after the fourth grade); Victor Vekselberg was Blavatnik’s fellow student.
In 1978 he emigrated together with his family from Russia to the USA; Received masters in computer science from Columbia University and MBA degree from Harvard Business School;
Married with American lady; Constantly residents in New York.
In 2007 Forbes listed him at the 45th place in the list of the richest Americans estimating his condition in $7,2 billion.
Member of the board of directors of "SUAL-HOLDING"; Member of the board of directors in OAO "Siberian Ural Aluminum Company".
In 1986 he founded the company "Access Industries" investing various industries.
Since 1991 he has been one of the co-founders and the partner of Russian-American joint investment enterprise "Renova".
In different years he obtained key positions in companies "Arthur Andersen and Co.", "Macy's Department Stores", "General Atlantic Partners", TNK, "Deeside Aluminum", "Access Industries (Eurasia)", "EnergiBolaget i Sverige AB";
He maintains relations to political elite of Russia, in particular, with Anatoly Chubais and Sergey Stepashin. In 1999 he sponsored Stepashin's visit to Washington, organized a dinner in his honor at which Washington politicians were present.
It is known that Blavatnik carries out considerable donations in selective funds of congressmen of Republican Party from the State of New York (the head office of Blavatnik’s company is located in New York).
Since 1996 Blavatnik has been developing his business in Kazakhstan. IHe organized PR program for Kasym-Zhomart Tokaev in the USA and sponsored his visits.
Since 1998 Blavatnik has stired up the activity in Russia, in particular, through preparing options of strategic partnership between "Access Industries" and RAO "UES". In 1999 being in Kazakhstan Anatoly Chubais declared possible creation of fuel and energy company with participation of three power stations, RAO "UES" and "Access Industries" in Pavlodar area.
The basic income of Blavatnik came from the purchase of 50 % of shares of TNK half-and-half with Vekselberg. In 2003 each of them earned almost $2 billion from sale of the share of TNK to the British BP. Under the informal data, Blavatnik’s share in "Renova" is about 30%.
Access Industries by Leonard Blavatnik bought up the British division of Mel Gibson’s rolling company Icon and collection of more than 500 films, among which there are «Driving Miss Daisy», «Dances with Wolves», "Stiletto" and «Passion of the Christ».
Since the end of 90's years Leonard Blavatnik for many years was in the center of the grandiose international scandals connected with oil business, in particular, with extracting company "Chernogorneft".
In 1991, "Chernogorneft" and Cyprian Nawsco Weil Servicing Ltd. created by the Canadian founders founded AOZT "Corporation Jugraneft" with an authorized capital stock in $2 million. Canadians owned 60% of shares, "Chernogorneft" — 40 %. In a year the authorized capital stock was increased approximately to $12 million; the contribution to authorized capital stock was granted by Nawsco (later renamed in Norex Petroleum) as intellectual property for the sum $5,8 million.
After the privatization "Chernogorneft" was transformed to OAO and became a part of the oil company SIDANKO managed by well-known British-American company BP. In the beginning of 1999 Norex through the meeting of shareholders of "Jugraneft" made a decision to recognize the biggest part of the payment of "Chernogorneft" to an authorized capital stock of the company as void and lowered its share from 40 % to 1.45 %. However in the autumn of the same year "Chernogorneft" was recognized as bankrupt by Blavatnik’s initiative and its property was sold to TNK.
Journalists paid attention that the former vice-president of the government of the Russian Federation Alfred Koch actively helped Blavatnik and his partners in his struggle for oil actives.
Sources: newspaper «Kommersant» № 35 (2404) from 2/28/2002, "Vedomosti" from 12/23/2002
In this connection Leonard Blavatnik appeared in the scandal centre for the first time. In November, 1999 the Federal district court of the State of New York accepted the claim of American company TPT to consideration (a part of group "Sputnik" headed by Boris Jordan. Created for management of contributions of American and other foreign investors to SIDANKO) against «Tyumen oil company» (TNK) and some of its partners. TNK, Blavatnik and companies Access Industries and Renova headed by him acted as respondents under claim of TPT. Renova owned 50 % of shares of ZAO "New holding" which owned a controlling interest of TNK. They were incriminated with illegal actions which they admitted at bankruptcy of the extracting enterprises of oil company SIDANKO — companies "Condpetrolium" and "Chernogorneft", bank frauds for theft of the income for the sold oil extracted by these enterprises, manipulation with the list of creditors of "Chernogorneft" for their advantages and other illegal actions.
ТРТ conducted approach to TNK not only in the USA. In November, 1999 courts of various Russian regions upon request of "friendly" shareholders of "Chernogorneft" give out not less than ten court orders and definitions.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 217 (1861) from 11/24/1999
However, despite actions of ТРТ TNK successfully absorbed "Chernogorneft", and then it decided to return the lost share of "Chernogorneft" in "Jugraneft". In this connection in 2002 there was the new international scandal; Leonard Blavatnik became its central figure again.
In 2000 by the initiative of Blavatnik’s environment the arbitration court of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area recognized decisions of shareholders’ meetings of "Jugraneft" as void and seized a part of share holding (50.29 %) belonging to Norex. Lawyers of TNK found the original approach to opponents: intellectual payment of Norex seemed to them "raising the doubts from the point of view of Russian legislation". In January, 2002 the arbitration court of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area recognized the transaction on adding up know-how by Norex Petroleum to the authorized capital stock of "Jugraneft" as void. The Judgment changed a parity of forces in "Jugraneft": "TNK-Nizhnevartovsk" became the owner of 80 % of shares of corporation, and Norex — 20 %.
After that Norex also applied to the district court of New York. In brief the claim reason is like that: co-owners of TNK — Access Industries, Renova, "Alfa group" which includes company Crown and other legal persons had the agreement on violent capture of "Jugraneft". Capture was carried out "by means of a fake of the shareholders’ meeting report, physical threats, extortion, non-payment of taxes and money greenwashing". Citizens of the USA Leonard Blavatnik and Simon Kukes as well as Elliot Spitz, Joseph Bakaleinik, Victor Vekselberg realized this plan. All of them were the high-ranking employees of companies "Alfa group" and Access/Renova.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 35 (2404) from 2/28/2002
The conflict continuation surprised the majority of onlookers. The transaction on foundation of joint venture of British-American company BP and TNK - TNK-BP in which shareholders of TNK — "Alpha groups", Access Industries and "Renova", on the one hand, and BP — with another, owned 50 % of shares each came to the end in summer of 2003.
Source: Magazine "Dengi" № 50 (455) from 12/22/2003
In the summer of 2004 the British newspapers wrote that Leonard Blavatnik paid 75 million dollars at auction for the house on prestigious Kensington Palace-gardens. It is curious that the owner of "Chelsea" Roman Abramovich participated in auction as well, however the rate of Mr.Blavatnik was above.
Source: "Izvestia" from 7/7/2004
In February, 2004 the court rejected the claim of Norex having considered it out of the jurisdiction and suggested to transfer the trial to Russia. Norex submitted the petition for cancellation of this decision to federal appeal court of the USA which having considered Russia as an inadequate place for consideration of claim of Norex, on July, 21st, 2006 complied request of Norex and send the case for the following consideration.
In December, 2005 company Norex Petroleum submitted the added claim to federal court of Southern district of New York in which it expanded a number of accused persons. Now company BP, TNK-BP, the chairman of its board of directors lord John Brown, the president of TNK-BP Robert Dadly and the councilor of directors of TNK-BP Robert Sheppard were included in a list of respondents.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 242 (3326) from 12/23/2005
In 2004 Leonard Blavatnik appeared in the center of opposition with Federal anti-monopoly service of the Russian Federation. FAS accused "United trading company» (UTC), trading caustic soda and polyvinylchloride (PVC). UTC was under control to Access/Renova group; its co-owners are Victor Vekselberg and Leonard Blavatnik. UTC dared at open buying up almost all production of factories-manufacturers within one branch for its subsequent resale. FAS considered actions of UTC as real monopolization of chloride branch and applied to the court with the requirement of liquidation of the company.
On October, 28th, 2005 FAS confirmed the agreement of lawsuit between Federal antimonopoly service and OAO "United trading company" which transferred over 20 million rubles to the budget.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 87 (2926) from 5/18/2004, № 135 (3466) from 7/26/2006
In the summer of 2005 it became known about problems of Blavatnik had been due to his participation in OAO "Svyazinvest". He began solving the problems with assistance of Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation which then was headed by Herman Gref. In particular Ministry of Economic Development and Trade declared that it would inspect consequences of adding up of amendments into the charter of OAO "Svyazinvest" for the purpose of expansion of the rights of minority shareholders. Earlier representatives of MEDT and Ministry of Communication and Informatization of the Russian Federation already declared necessity of restoration of the rights of holding minorities which were partially lost with an adoption of law "On joint-stock companies" in 1999. At that period "Svyazinvest" had only one minority shareholder — company Mustcom which Leonard Blavatnik bought in 2004 for $625 from George Soros.
A bit later it became clear why it was needed by Blavatnik. In the autumn of 2005 he declared that he intended to participate in privatization of Russian telecommunication holding "Svyazinvest". Then 75 % of shares of "Svyazinvest" were exposed at the auctions.
Besides, journalists paid attention that Blavatnik was actively helped to get control over "Svyazinvest" by the Minister of Communications of the Russian Federation of that time Leonid Reiman.
Sources: newspaper «Kommersant» № 104 (3188) from 6/9/2005, Magazine "Money" № 40 (545) from 10/10/2005
In February, 2006 Leonard Blavatnik initiated a proceeding between TOO "Bogatyr Access Coal" (affiliated company of Access Industries of Leonard Blavatnik; TOO then owned one of the world's largest cuts "Bogatyr" with capacity of 50 million tons of coal per year; it also rented a cut "Northern" and power station "Youth" belonging to RAO "UES") and RAO "UES".
In the claim of "Bogatyr" it was mentioned that in terms of the contract on surface use the company spent 1.7 billion rubles for mountain-spadework. Besides, "Bogatyr" specified TOO had expenses on acquisition of property for the RAO "UES" for more than 545 million rubles. Thus RAO "UES", as it was said in the claim, did not invest a cut at all and did not meet a condition of the agreement on rent.
In the end of 2006 it became known about the agreement of lawsuit between the structure of Blavatnik and the RAO "UES" upon this dispute.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 227 (3558) from 12/5/2006
In 2006 Blavatnik had serious disagreements with oligarch Victor Vekselberg. As the press informed, the disagreements concerned strategy of development of holding SUAL in which Blavatnik and Vekselberg were co-owners.
Referring to sources in Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, there were some assumption that Blavatnik's position could be explained by the fact that exactly at the time he "divorced" business with the old partner Victor Vekselberg and wished to receive money for the share in SUAL during IPO campaign as soon as possible. The opinion was expressed that Victor Vekselberg could push the partners having suggested them to redeem the partner share. For this purpose he would need at least $1.5 billion.
Thus, the reason of the disagreements in detail was not clear. At that period Blavatnik owned 30 % of SUAL, businessman Vladimir Kremer supporting him in the conflict to Vekselberg — about 10 %. The conflict between billionaires came so far that journalists began to write that Victor Vekselberg confirmed officially the information on preparing merge of the company to OAO "Russian aluminum" ("Rusal") and aluminum actives of Swiss Glencore. However the businessman said that alternative plans on public placing the shares of SUAL also in the end of 2006 remained actual.
Sources: newspaper «Kommersant» № 171 (3502) from 9/14/2006, Magazine "Money" № 37 (593) from 9/18/2006
On October, 10th, 2006 owners of "Russian aluminum" ("Rusal"), SUAL and Glencore signed the tripartite agreement on creation of the company "Russian aluminum" having estimated it in $25-30 billion, and share of SUAL — in 22 %. Besides SUAL itself including factories on manufacture of primary aluminum shareholders of SUAL contributed a share to "Komi Aluminum" and Leonard Blavatnik transferred also coal cuts in Kazakhstan. Nevertheless it was found out that the price of the repayment of actions at minorities was underestimated. In this connection minorities declared claim preparation in London court.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 191 (3522) from 10/12/2006
A bit later the American company RSM Production accused the head of "Alfa group" Mikhail Fridman and owner of Access Industries Leonard Blavatnik of participation in arrangement to the purpose of deprivation of the company of the exclusive right on investigation and an oil and gas recovery on a shelf of Grenada. RSM demanded indemnification at a rate of $500 million. However, the lawyers interrogated by journalists assured that the claim could be made for PR purposes only.
It was stated in the claim that in 1996 Grenada gave out to RSM the exclusive right on conducting investigation and extraction of hydrocarbons on the marine territory. However the parties agreed to delay the entry of the agreement into force till the moment when Grenada, Venezuela and Trinidad would settle the sea borders. To accelerate dispute settlement RSM initiated the international trial. However it did not come to the end for a long time that disturbed to cancellation of force-majeure circumstances and realization of rights of RSM. According to claimants, negotiations were blocked personally by mister Bowen pursuing own mercantile interests, and Fridman and Blavatnik paid for his efforts.
In the claim it was said that Fridman and Blavatnik, "without having knowledge of the Caribbean geology and geophysics spoke on behalf on behalf of themselves and general director of BP John Brown and BP itself which conducted scale activity in oil and gas recovery and gas manufacture in frontier area of Trinidad and Tobago".
It was not informed about the end of this process that confirms assumptions of a scandal PR component.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 207/B (3538) from 11/7/2006
Then, in the end of 2006 Blavatnik and his business partners had conflict with the first persons of "Gazprom". Mass-media wrote that the State Office of Public Prosecutor suggested withdrawing the license at affiliated structure of TNK-BP "Rospan International" on gas production in Yamal-Nenets autonomous region. According to official figures — for regular infringement of the ecological and license legislation. However branch experts were sure that thus the authorities wished to convince co-owners of the Russian share of TNK-BP to share Kovyktinsky gas-condensate field with stocks of 2.1 trillion gas cubic meters with "Gazprom" on a gratuitous basis. Otherwise from TNK-BP could be taken away resource base in volume of 3 trillion gas cubic meters.
Journalists wrote that all claims to TNK-BP were connected with the fact that Russian owners of 50 % of shares of the company Victor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman, Herman Han and Leonard Blavatnik did not wish to concede the control over Kovykta to "Gazprom" for free and demanded to buy from them a share at the market price. It was a question, by different estimations, of about $0,5-1,5 billion
By spring of 2008 the conflict was solved — affiliated structures of TNK-BP and "Gazprom" — "Rospan International" and "Mezhregiongas" — created the joint venture on sale of the gas extracted by "Rospan" at Novo-Urengoy and East Urengoy deposits.
Sources: Magazine "Dengi" № 45 (601) from 11/13/2006, newspaper «Kommersant» № 55 (3872) from 4/3/2008
In July, 2008 Blavatnik appeared in the center of a large conflict regarding requirements of the Russian councilors of directors of TNK-BP Limited to change the management of affiliated company TNK-BP headed by general chief executive Robert Dadly.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» № 119 (3936) from 7/11/2008
The joint-stock conflict pushed owners of TNK-BP to apply to the British court. ВР, supervising half of oil company, applied to the London High court of justice demanding from the Russian partners, consortium AAR, $352 million as indemnification for additionally charged taxes of TNK-BP. AAR did not recognize the claim considering that it owes to British $50 million maximum.
Shareholders of TNK-BP actually were at war. Disagreements between them were connected with strategy of development of the company. AAR (Leonard Blavatnik, Victor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman, Herman Han) wished to spend IPO of TNK-BP to develop it in the international markets and achieved parity in management of the largest affiliated structure — "TNK-BP holding". The British disagreed to change existing structure.
Nevertheless, in the end of November 2009, shareholders of TNK-BP agreed. They confirmed the vice-president of the company Maxim Barsky to the post of the head of the company.
Sources: newspaper «Kommersant» № 115/P (3932) from 7/7/2008, № 217 (4272) from 11/20/2009
And in June, 2009 journalists wrote that Blavatnik appeared in the center of the new scandal initiated by him. He declared plans to bring an action against bank JPMorgan Chase.
As Reuters informed, Leonard Blavatnik accused bank of bad management of investment means of industrially-holding company Access Industries belonging to him. Lawyers of mister Blavatnik accused worker of JPMorgan Ted Afferfilge advising Access Industries, of loss of $98 million company on risky transactions with mortgage securities. Representative of Access informed that JPMorgan bought mortgage securities for the company «when the bank itself refused similar tools». In turn, Press Secretary of JPMorgan declared that the bank intended «to be protected resolutely in this issue». «We believe that this claim is reprehensible and obvious attempt to win back the losses which became the reason of unprecedented recession of the market», she told.
By April 2010 there were no any messages regarding development of this conflict.
Source: newspaper «Kommersant» from 6/22/2009