Born January 3, 1961 in Moscow. In 1983 he graduated from the faculty of economics in the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) as "economist-foreign affairs specialist". His classmates were Andrey Brezhnev (grandson of the Secretary General of the Central Committee of CPSU Leonid Brezhnev) and Alexey Mitrofanov (vice-president of party LDPR). He can speak French and English.
From 1983 to 1990 he worked in State structures of foreign trade. Since August 1983 he worked as engineer, and then and the senior engineer of department "Urea" in "Fertilizer" company.
In 1988-90 worked as the senior engineer of the company "Ore" in the same organization.
Since 1990 — President of external economic association "Interros". Opening the account of Association Interros in the International Bank of Economic Cooperation (IBEC) Potanin got acquainted and became very intimate with Mikhail Prokhorov.
In 1992-1993 he held a post of the vice-president, then the president of the bank «International financial company» (IFC) founded together with Mikhail Prokhorov.
In 1993 Potanin became president of AKB «ONEKSIM Bank», simultaneously remaining the chairman of board of directors of IFC bank. In the summer of 1996 structures under control to Potanin got share holding "Svyazinvest" (Potanin was included into structure of board of directors of AO in January, 1998).
From August 1996 till March 1997, Potanin worked as the First deputy of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation. Supervised the economic issues and coordinated work of the Ministry of Economics of the Russian Federation, State Committee of the Russian Federation on an Antimonopoly Policy, State Committee of the Russian Federation on Management of the State Property, Russian Fund of Federal Property, Federal Management on Affairs about an Inconsistency (bankruptcy), Federal Commission on Securities Market, Federal Power Commission of the Russian Federation.
During his work in the Government of Russia he headed about 20 federal, governmental and interdepartmental commissions including the governmental commission on financial and a monetary and credit policy, operative commission at the government of the Russian Federation on perfection of system of payments, interdepartmental commission of the Russian Federation on cooperation with the international financial and economic organizations and «Group of seven». Held posts of the managing director from the Russian Federation in the International bank of reconstruction and development and in Multilateral agency on guarantees of investments.
In the autumn of 1997 Potanin created holding ZAO "Prof-media" for management of all mass-media under control of «ONEKSIM bank» including such popular Russian editions as “Izvestia", «Komsomolskaya Pravda», "Afisha" and "Bolshoi gorod".
In 1998 Potanin became President and Chairman of the board of directors of the holding "Interros" founded on the basis of financial industrial group "Interros", «Norilsk nickel» and «SIDANKO».
In the beginning of 2007 Potanin declared partition of business with Mikhail Prokhorov. Vladimir Potanin is actively engaged in charity and social activity. In 1999 he founded the noncommercial charitable organisation «Vladimir Potanin Foundation» for implementation of long-term projects in the sphere of domestic education and culture.
In December 2001, Potanin was included into Council of trustees of Solomon Guggenheim’s fund (New York).
In April 2003 he headed the Board of guardians of the State Hermitage in St.-Petersburg.
Member of board of guardians of MGIMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia;
Member of Council on competitiveness and business at the Government of the Russian Federation; Member of Bureau of board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs; Chairman of National Council on corporate governance (NCCG).
In November 2005, Potanin became a member of Public chamber and next year was elected as the chairman of the commission on development of charity, mercy and volunteering. Besides Potanin was a member of Social council at the Ministry of Defense of Russia, a member of scientific and advisory council at the State Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, a member of presidium of Council at the president of the Russian Federation on development of physical training and sports, the sports of records, preparation and carrying out of XXII winter Olympic and XI Paralympics games of 2014, a member of the Board of guardians of Russian geographical society.
The head of RAO "UES" Anatoly Chubais, ex-vice-premiers Boris Nemtsov, Alfred Koch and Jacob Urinson, the head of «Renaissance IFC» Boris Jordan, the ex-deputy minister of finance Andrey Vavilov, top management of newspapers «Komsomolskaya Pravda» and "Izvestia" are especially close to Vladimir Potanin. Enemies and competitors:
Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Rem Vyakhirev, TV presenter Sergey Dorenko.
Vladimir Potanin's hobbies: traveling, badminton, mountain skiing, water sports, dominoes and chess.
Vladimir Potanin is married, has three children.
In 1990 a criminal case against Potanin concerning road incident in which motorcyclist Titenkov Maxim Leonidovich and Vladimir Potanin participated was opened (article 211 of CC of RSFSR). The court at first recognized Potanin guilty of road accident but stopped the trial within non-rehabilitating base - in connection with change of conditions. But right after a sentence by the initiative of Office of Public Prosecutor case again was directed for investigation; then criminal case concerning Potanin was stopped because of rehabilitative reasons - in connection with absence of crime in his actions, and motorcyclist Titenkov was made guilty and case was stopped by non-rehabilitative reasons.
Source: FreeLance Bureau, 6/21/2000
In the mid-nineties Potanin had problems with the Chechen criminal group: in "ONEKSIMBANK" there was created the structure involved in operations of "Russian State Arms Export Company", realisation of Yakut diamonds, etc. Potanin became the competitor of Chechen criminal group in illegal trade of the diamonds received from representatives of the company «Diamonds of Russia – Sakha» (on some sources Diamonds of Yakutia). Within 1994 Chechens carried out a series of threats, including grasped car with Potanin's personal driver-bodyguard.
Potanin had to pay contractual interest to Chechens for each transaction.
Source: Internet resource Corruption.Ru, 6/7/2001
Potanin was the author of idea of carrying out scandalous mortgaging auctions – in 1995 he offered the government the bank credit in 9 billion rubles on the security of share holdings of large joint-stock companies. During mortgaging auctions «ONEKSIM bank» and IFC controlled by Potanin got the state share holdings of the oil company OAO «SIDANKO», RAO «Norilsk nickel», OAO «Novorossiysk sea shipping company», Novolipetsk metallurgical industrial complex and OAO «Northwest shipping company». Subsequently on a post of the first vice-premier Potanin lobbied exclusively interests of "ONEKSIMBANK" having concentrated more than 60 percent of the state budget in it. Potanin’s bank received for service the accounts of customs and a number of others enterprises related to Potanin - contracts connected with service of debts of Iraq and Ukraine, restoration of the Chechen economy. Thus Potanin encroached even on Victor Chernomyrdin's business interest; that’s why, according to some information; he was deprived of the governmental post. Besides, at this time "ONEKSIM-bank" was considered as one of the banks through which «party’s gold» was laundered.
Sources: «Noviye Izvestia», 1/17/2006, Сompromat.ru, www.lobbying.ru
In 1996 Potanin was the initiator of the beginning of bankruptcy procedure of AO "Autovaz". The Chairman of board of directors of AO "Autovaz" Vladimir Kadannikov then declared that he saw new repartition of the property in Potanin's actions. After dialogue with the government "Autovaz" then managed to avoid bankruptcy procedure.
Source: "Kommersant" № 209 (1167), 12/5/1996
Vladimir Potanin was written to have the mistress - Kozhevnikova Irina Sergeevna who was in charge of HR operations in "ONEKSIMBANK" and was the head of some structures belonging to Potanin (Inros holding, Interros invest, Swift, Inroscapital, Slavinvest, VL holding).
Source: Internet resource Corruption.Ru, 6/7/2001
In 1997 the assistant to the Public prosecutor of Russia Mikhail Katyshev opened criminal case upon plunder of 237 million dollars of budgetary funds in which the former vice-premier Vladimir Potanin and the first deputy minister of finance Andrey Vavilov were presumably involved. Money intended on manufacturing of planes MiG-29 and their export to India. As a result of transactions manufacturers of planes did not receive money, and India did not receive planes. At the same time, the profit was received by the commercial banks under Potanin’s control through which the large budgetary sum was transferred.
Source: "Kommersant" № 108 (1290), 7/11/1997
In 1997 there was a collision of interests of Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky with Vladimir Potanin in struggle for 25 % package of All-Russia telephone monopoly "Svyazinvest". As a result, the package got to Potanin – with the help of Alfred Koch who being the head of the State Property Committee signed the special order that competition results were considered valid while there was a number of gross infringements. From this point there was a “divorce” between Potanin and group Gusinsky-Berezovsky.
As some mass-media wrote, in 1998 Potanin's strategy was connected with acquisition of blocking packages of the industrial enterprises and extortion of controlling stock at holders in exchange for absence of actions of “Interros” disorganizing work process. Besides, Potanin was engaged in withdrawal of actives of some large enterprises from creditors. For example, in Potanin's interests RAO «Norilsk nickel» refused the rights for working out of deposits and transferred the actives to urgently created «Norilsk mining company».
Source: «Novaya gazeta» № 46, 7/3/2000
In the autumn of 1998 Potanin's group began absorption of the power plant engineering enterprises of Petersburg which during that moment were supervised by "Energomashcorporation". In the end of 1998 they were put under "Interros" control. In 2001 on their base "Power machines" was created.
The parties in the conflict to Potanin were Alexander Stepanov and Alexey Pleshcheev
Potanin was spoken about his frauds connected with an establishment of the control over the company «Norilsk nickel» - in auction for «Norilsk nickel» Potanin competed with his bank IFC and unknown OOO “Reola”. The Share holding got to Potanin.
Source: «Novaya gazeta» № 62, 25-27.08.2003
Vladimir Potanin was accused of that making state money work he did not pay taxes and did not charge in state’s favor the interest for five and a half billions roubles kept by him. Besides, in 1995 there was an active accumulation of the capital to AOZT «International financial company»; the part of incomes was hided from the taxation by their understating.
Source: Database of Security Group "Bridge", 1997
Vladimir Potanin co-operated with the head of Security service of the President Alexander Korzhakov. In 1992 last protected Potanin from criminal structures and attacks of government officials. In turn Potanin aspired to establish the control over export of arms from Russia; he had the confidential information about the situation in "Russian State Arms Export Company" and assisted Korzhakov in elimination of some heads of "Russian State Arms Export Company" and replacement of Vladimir Shumeiko from this business.
Source: Database of Security Group "Bridge", 1997
In the summer of 1997 Vladimir Potanin was involved to the conflict between the team of the newspaper "Izvestia", its editor-in-chief Igor Golembiovsky and the main shareholder of OAO «Edition of the newspaper Izvestia" company "Lukoil". The newspaper published the data about Victor Chernomyrdin’s incomes; investors were dissatisfied with such fact. To exceed "Lukoil’s" share holding in OAO purchase of shares from employees and private persons was carried out. As a result, Potanin supported Golembiovsky’s team; "ONEKSIMBANK" and OAO "SIDANKO" became owners of 51 percent of shares of "Izvestia". Subsequently Golembiovsky and his supporters separated and with Vladimir Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky's money founded the newspaper "Noviye Izvestia". Potanin created holding of ZAO "Prof-media" for management of all mass-media under his control - «Komsomolskaya Pravda», “Russian Telegraph”, “Izvestia”, "Antenna", “Express-gazeta”, “Expert”.
Cooperation with Oleg Boiko (“Convent" and AO "Olbi-diplomat") and Andrey Zelenin ("Microdin") seriously destroyed Potanin’s business – the structures created by Potanin became connected with commercial structures of mafia character, Solntsevskaya and Dolgoprudnenskaya criminal groups (illegal capitals were greenwashed). Doubtful structures for criminal business were created also under Potanin's personal initiative. For example, company "Litset" through which frauds with taxation avoiding were carried out. The company came in police view in connection with illegal export of nickel from RAO «Norilsk nickel».
Potanin used the private security enterprise "Fort"; one of its leaders the former employee of KGB in Moscow and Moscow region Vladimir Kotenko communicates with representatives of the Odintsovskaya group and under Potanin's instructions provided them with special tasks, such as: creation and maintenance of activity of channels for an illicit transportation of currency and other values through border, cooperation with officials of the Government. Commercial structures created by heads of «ONEKSIMBANK» were used as the payment.
Besides, in management of security of the bank there is a fighting group consisting of the former employees of "Alpha". They also complete special tasks, for example, they helped to get released from a former management in the shipyard got by bank in Murmansk – the shipyard was under control of local criminal group; as a result of the conflict two members of the group were killed. Potanin's special division was also involved in elimination of the head of department of the real estate of "ONEKSIMBANK" Jury Polivanov who handed confidential information to Potanin's competitors.
In the mid-nineties the state monthly under received in Fund of obligatory reservation 15-20 million dollars which were underpaid by "ONEKSIMBANK". Besides, Potanin and its bank were at that time involved in illegal deliveries of the Russian weapon to countries of Persian Gulf. It was written that about 50 million dollars were paid by cash; there were problems with money collection and Potanin had to transport money to Estonia and then transfer it through Hansa-bank. Potanin tried to achieve repayments of a debt of Iran to Russia by indemnification of debts with material values. Potanin's competitor was "Alpha bank" involving relations of Petr Aven into struggle for the Iranian debt.
Source: Database of Security Group "Bridge"
Vladimir Potanin tried to receive blocking share holding of Novolipetsk metallurgical industrial complex, bought a number of the offshore companies – shareholders of NMIC - at British Trans World Group (TWG). He managed to collect 34 % that did not allow Potanin to carry out the control over industrial complex and had to sell shares of company "Renaissance-capital" which were got in Vladimir Lisin's interests. One more conflict between Potanin and Lisin happened in October, 2000 when NMIC declared sale of 100 % of shares of factory of refrigerators "Stinol" for 119.3 million dollars to Italian Merloni Elettrodomestici. "Interros" promised to appeal against the transaction and applied to the head of Federal Commission on Securities Igor Kostikov with the request to nullify through court release of additional issue of shares by "Stinol" as some actions of NMIC regarding the sale of the factory of refrigerators "Stinol" were made with violations of current legislation.
Source: "Kommersant" № 122 (2007), 7/7/2000, www.art.thelib.ru
Vladimir Potanin was involved in scandal in 1996 when the Minister of Economics of the Russian Federation Evgeny Yasin recommended to prime minister Victor Chernomyrdin to cancel competition for RAO «Norilsk nickel», and 4 years later the State Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation suggested Potanin to indemnify a loss for illegal reception of the company at amount of 120 million dollars. Nevertheless, criminal case was not preceded.
Source: MFD-INFO CENTER, 11/4/2002
In mass-media the conflict between Vladimir Potanin and Vladimir Vinogradov (former owner and president of Inkombank) for the control over the ship-building enterprises of St.-Petersburg and other actives was described. Besides, Vladimir Potanin clashed with Vladimir Kogan for banking services – Industrial Construction bank SPb belonging to Kogan Banking house "St.-Petersburg" were opponents to BALTONEKSIMbank which in second half of 90s belonged to Potanin.
It was written about Potanin's interest in getting control over the enterprises recycling non-ferrous metals, in particular Kyshtymsky copper anode factory, "Karabashmed", Chelyabinsk anode-zinc factory, Oskolsky electrometallurgical industrial complex, Lebedinsky MCC, Mikhailovsky MCC, Novosibirsk and Novocherkassk electrode factories.
Source: Agency of Conflict situations, 17.11.03
In 2003, Vladimir Potanin got financial business of Alexander Smolensky - group of OVK banks, STB-Card, "Inkahrana" and other companies. Mass-media wrote that it was the largest absorption of one financial holding by another for all history of the Russian bank system.
Source: "Kommersant”, № 132 (2735), 7/29/2003
Vladimir Potanin's interests have converged with Mikhail Mirilashvili's companies "PetroMir" and Vladimir Kogan's Banking house “St.-Petersburg". Branch of "Interros" - the company «Open investments» - was obliged to carry out reconstruction of the Kirov stadium with carrying it over to another place, and free site was planned to use for construction of elite habitation. "PetroMir" and Banking house "St.-Petersburg" also had plans for these projects. Nevertheless, the government of Petersburg refused to Potanin and the project passed to "Gazprom".
Source «Moscow news» 22.10.04, "Kommersant" № 220 (3059), 11/24/2004
In 2004 of the newspaper wrote about preparing arrest of Vladimir Potanin. He was repeatedly called to the State Office of Public Prosecutor for interrogations on criminal case about nonpayment of taxes. The information about Potanin's arrest provoked sharp falling of stock quotes of "Norilsk nickel» in the share market.
Source: www.newsru.com, 4/29/2004
In 2005 the structures close to the head of the state pushed Vladimir Potanin to sell out "Norilsk nickel» to diamond state company "Alrosa".
Source: «Time of news», 1/19/2005, "Vedomosti", 1/19/2006
Department of Internal Affairs of Yamal-Nenets autonomous region opened the case concerning company "Norilskgazprom" controlled by Vladimir Potanin regarding over limit extraction of gas condensate on Yamal by company "Norilskgazprom". In 2005 the enterprise contrary to the license agreement extracted condensate and then realized it, having got more than 100 million roubles from sale.
Source: URA.ru, 14.08.06
Vladimir Potanin's name was mentioned in connection with Mikhail Prokhorov's arrest when last was detained by the French police during spot-check on struggle against prostitution and spent several in the slammer. Potanin was written to use resort scandal to start partition of business and getting control over "Nornickel". During business partition both partners accused each other of lie, treachery, and default of arrangements, larceny and other dishonorable actions.
Source: "Newspaper", 01.02.07, "Vedomosti", 8/24/2009
In January 2007, Vladimir Potanin made an official statement that his partner Mikhail Prokhorov left structure of shareholders of "Interros", Potanin redeemed the share of "Norilsk nickel» belonging to Prokhorov; in exchange "Interros" consolidates the power and hydrogen actives into the independent company and the share of "Interros" in it will be transferred to Prokhorov. In the end of 2007 Prokhorov concentrated blocking package of the company in the hands, became its largest shareholder and sold a company block package to the strategic investor – to Oleg Deripaska, having broken thus the promises made to Potanin.
Source: www.rian.ru, 1/20/2009
After sale of a blocking package of "Norilsk nickel» to Oleg Deripaska Potanin tried to unite actives of "Nornickel" with Alisher Usmanov's holding "Metalloinvest". Potanin met Vladimir Putin and discussed variants of merge of "Nornickel", "Metalloinvest" and "Rusal". At the same time, the head of state corporation "Rostechnology" Sergey Chemezov told to journalists about the plans on creation of the world's largest mining-metallurgical company and achievement of preliminary arrangements with Potanin and Usmanov about consortium creation.
Potanin as a result built relations with Deripaska and left idea to unite business with Usmanov.
Source: Kommersant, №71 (3888), 4/25/2008, www.flb.ru, 8/24/2009
In October 2007, there was a conflict between Potanin and Prokhorov regarding joint actives of «Pole gold». Prokhorov achieved displacement of Potanin’s colleague Pavel Skitovich from a post of the general director of the company appointed his person to this post. In several months Potanin arranged extraordinary meeting of shareholders for re-election of board of directors and modification of the charter limiting the rights of the general director and board of directors; then he began to buy up shares in the market and equaled with Prokhorov the share in the company. In March, 2009 Potanin sold shares of OAO «Pole Gold» to structures of Suleiman Kerimov.
Source: www.rb.ru, 1/17/2008
In July, 2008 Prokhorov submitted the claim to Potanin about protection of business reputation to the Moscow arbitration court. The reason of the claim was Potanin's interview to newspaper The Moscow Times in which he accused Prokhorov of infringement of business arrangements and stated doubt in Prokhorov's business qualities. The Moscow arbitration court satisfied Prokhorov's claim having obliged United Press to publish in Moscow Times a refutation of Potanin’s words. The court decided to collect from Potanin and United Press one thousand rubles of compensation of court costs.
In February, 2010 Vladimir Potanin announced that all his fortune would be transferred to the charitable purposes instead of his successors. Potanin intends to create special fund in 10 years where he will transfer all savings.
Source: The Financial Times, 02.02.10