Home/The list/Mikhail Fridman

Mikhail Fridman

Михаил Фридман
Date of birth
Israel, Russia
Net worth*
$12.6 BN

*Net worth according to Forbes Russia (billion USD)

Current global ranking
Real-time net worth
icon link
Go to source
Current global ranking
Real-time net worth
icon link
Go to source

Famous for

  • Founder of Alfa Group, one of the largest private financial and investment consortia in Russia, and Alfa-Bank, the country’s largest private bank.
  • Has spoken out publicly against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.


Alfa-Bank is Russia’s largest private bank. Fridman owns 32.9% of the shares. The bank holds assets totalling 6.2 trillion rubles (about $74.69 billion) as of 2023. It is part of the Alfa Group consortium.

Through the investment holding LetterOne, together with his business partners in Alfa-Bank, Fridman owns various assets with a total value of $18.654 billion (almost 1.250 trillion rubles) as of 2022, including:

  • German oil and gas company Wintershall Dea (33% stake);
  • Turkey’s largest telecom operator Turkcell (19.8% stake);
  • Telecommunications holding company VEON (56.2% stake);
  • British health food chain Holland & Barrett;
  • American pharmaceutical company Parexel;
  • BakeMark, one of the leaders in the US bakery industry;
  • DIA, a chain of supermarkets in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina and China.

Through Alfa Group’s subdivisions and alongside the same partners he owns a 48.7% stake in X5 Retail Group, one of Russia’s leading retailers. The company was valued at 645.5 billion rubles (approximately $6.65 billion) as of 2023.

Fridman owns a 49.9% stake in IDS Borjomi International, a leader in the bottled water market in Russia. The company was valued at $1.2 billion (about 81 billion rubles) in 2022.

Together with Alexei Kuzmichev and German Khan, he owns 90% of Rosvodokanal, Russia’s largest private water and wastewater operator.

Interests and hobbies

  • Fridman is fond of music. According to some media reports, he established a student music club while he was still studying at university. At his initiative, the Leopolis Jazz Fest, recognised by the Guardian as one of the best jazz festivals in Europe, has been taking place since 2011. Between 2014 and 2019, Alfa-Bank ran the international electronic music festival Alfa Future People.
  • Since 2012, he has regularly embarked on pilgrimage processions through the Israeli desert, coinciding with Pesach.
  • Numerous Russian media report that Fridman collects samurai swords and is fond of extreme off-road driving.

Professional history

Mikhail Fridman was born on 21 April 1964 in Lviv, Ukrainian SSR.

He graduated with honours from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in 1986.

During his studies he met his future business partners Alexander Kosyanenko (X5 Retail Group), Petr Aven (Alfa-Bank) and Vladislav Surkov (Russian government). He then worked for two years as a design engineer in a factory near Moscow.

In 1988 he founded the Courier cooperative, which specialized in food delivery.

A year later he founded Alfa-Photo, a hardware distribution company. He then opened the oil and metal export company Alfa-Eco, which became the first building block of the Alfa Group.

Fridman was already running businesses with German Khan, Petr Aven and Alexei Kuzmichev at this time. In 1990, the Alfa Capital cheque fund was established, followed a year later by Alfa-Bank.

From its establishment in 1995 until 1998, he was a member of the management of Russian Public Television, which operated Russia’s main television channel, Channel One.

From 1998 Fridman was one of the managers of Perekrestok, Russia’s largest hypermarket chain, which later became part of the X5 Retail Group.

In 1996, he joined the Board of Directors of Sidanko, one of Russia’s largest oil companies at the time, partly owned by British Petroleum (BP).

Between 2003 and 2012 he was a member of the Board of Directors of TNK-BP, an oil company owned by the Alfa Group.

From 2001 he was a member of the Board of Directors of VimpelCom (later VEON), one of Russia’s largest telecommunications operators, doing business under the Beeline brand. The company is owned by Alfa Group.

In 2013, together with business partners Petr Aven, German Khan, Alexei Kuzmichev and Andrey Kosogov, he founded the investment holding company LetterOne. The joint investments totalled $15.36 billion (about 491 billion rubles). The partners received this money for investments from the sale of the oil company TNK-BP.

In 2015, Fridman moved to the UK. He lived there in his own mansion worth £65 million (about 5.6 billion rubles at the time of purchase).

In 2022, Fridman was subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union and the UK. He subsequently resigned from his positions at Alfa-Bank, LetterOne, VEON and X5 Retail Group.

Fridman’s accounts in the UK have been frozen and his spending has been limited to $3,300 a month (about 220,000 rubles). He has also been sanctioned by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine and the US.

In 2023 he moved to Israel, where he holds citizenship. Following the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, Fridman returned to Moscow.

Deals and ventures

  • $14 billion received in March 2013 from the sale of his stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft.
  • Valued at €5.1 billion, the 2015 purchase of Dea was LetterOne’s first major acquisition. The German oil company’s main activities involve the extraction of ‘black gold’, or oil, in emerging markets. In 2017, the company won a tender to develop a large field in Mexico.
  • In 2019, the merger of two German companies, Dea and Wintershall, was completed. As a result, Wintershall Dea became the largest independent oil and gas company in Europe, with L1 and the BASF concern (the former owner of Wintershall) as its shareholders.


  • In 1997, Alfa-Bank, together with Len Blavatnik’s Access and Viktor Vekselberg’s Renova, acquired a 40% stake in the Tyumen Oil Company (TNK).
  • In 2003, British Petroleum (BP) bought 50% of the company for $6.75 billion.
  • In 2013, the Russian state company Rosneft sold 100% of the merged TNK-BP. The share of Alfa Bank’s co-owners in the company was about 25%. Together with the co-owners, Mikhail Fridman made $13.86 billion (almost 430 billion rubles) from the deal.
  • In 2001, Fridman’s organizations bought a 25% stake in VimpelCom (later VEON), one of Russia’s largest telecom operators, and a significant stake in its regional subsidiary for nearly $247 million (about 7.163 billion rubles).
  • In 2003, Alfa Group acquired a stake in another major player in the Russian communications market, MegaFon, for $300 million (about 9 billion rubles). In 2012, the stake in the company was sold at a premium of almost 1,600% at $5.2 billion (about 161.2 billion rubles).
  • In 2005, Alfa Group acquired a controlling stake in X5 Retail Group, which included Russia’s largest retail chains in Pyaterochka and Perekrestok. The transaction value exceeded $1 billion (over 28 billion rubles).
  • In 2013, Alfa Group Holding bought 55% of the bottled water producer IDS Borjomi from a Georgian entrepreneur for $230 million (about 8 billion rubles). After sanctions were imposed on Fridman and his business partners in 2022, some shares were donated to the Georgian government in order to reduce their stake to 49.9%.
  • In 2014, Fridman and his partners acquired one of Germany’s largest oil and gas companies, RWE Dea, for €5.1 billion (about 255 billion rubles). In 2019, the company merged with BASF’s Wintershall. The combined company became Europe’s largest oil and gas operator.


  • Businessman of the Year according to Forbes in 2012 and 2017.
  • In 2019 he was recognized as the richest resident of London by Forbes.
  • Recipient of a Commendation from the President of the Russian Federation for his active participation in organizing and conducting his election campaign in 1996.
  • One of the 25 business leaders who defined the new Europe in 2003, according to the Financial Times.
  • In 2010, he won the national Director of the Year award, which was organized with the support of PwC.

Criticism and conflicts

  • In the mid-1990s, Russian media published information about Fridman’s links to drug trafficking. This information was later republished by foreign publications. Fridman repeatedly went to court over the issue. He won a case against a German magazine in which the court said that the information in the article had not been verified by American investigators.
  • In 2006, Fridman lost a case against another billionaire, Boris Berezovsky, in a London court on grounds of honour and dignity. Fridman had previously claimed on Russian television that Berezovsky had threatened him. The court ordered the defendant to pay compensation of £50,000 (about 2.5 million rubles).
  • In 2019, Fridman was charged with corruption in Spain. Prosecutors alleged that the businessman had deliberately driven the local IT company Grupo Zed into bankruptcy in order to buy it at a below-market price. In 2023, the court ruled in Fridman’s favour.
  • In 2019, the widow of a former Moscow mayor and one of Russia’s richest women was put on a wanted list in connection with a defamation case. She publicly accused Fridman of extortion because her brother owes his organizations 3.2 billion rubles (about $50 million). Alfa Group representatives said the company was not involved in the case.
  • In 2020, Alfa Bank shareholders Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Petr Aven won a lawsuit in a London court over the publication of the ‘Trump dossier’ in BuzzFeed. It claimed that Fridman was advising Vladimir Putin on relations with the US. The judge ordered that the contents of the report be corrected and that Fridman and Aven each be paid $22,800 (about 1.8 million rubles).
  • In 2021, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office attempted to recover $104.5 million (about 7.63 billion rubles) from-Alfa Bank as proceeds from corruption in connection with a case against convicted ex-minister Mikhail Abyzov. The parties subsequently reached an amicable settlement and the bank donated the funds to charity.

Attitudes to Russian–Ukrainian conflict

“I was born in Western Ukraine and lived there until I was 17 years old. My parents are Ukrainian citizens and live in Lviv, my favourite city. But I have also spent most of my life as a Russian citizen, creating and developing businesses. I have a deep affection for Ukrainians and Russians, and in my opinion, the current conflict is a tragedy for both.”

Community work

  • Fridman supports the Jewish community. In 1996, he founded the largest Russian Jewish public organization and charitable foundation.
  • In 2007, together with business partners from Alfa-Bank, he founded the Genesis Philanthropy Group to promote Jewish identity.
  • He supports the European Jewish Foundation.
  • He sponsored the documentary Russian Jews, which was directed by journalist Leonid Parfenov.
  • In 2016, together with German Khan, Fridman invested in the creation of the Babi Yar Holocaust memorial in Ukraine.
  • From 2010 to 2020, companies controlled by Fridman spent more than $1.2 billion (about 55.5 billion rubles) on charity and social entrepreneurship, according to Forbes calculations.
  • In 2004, Alfa-Bank launched the Life Line programme to help seriously ill children, which later became the charitable foundation of the same name and one of the largest in Russia. In its first 10 years, the organization raised 1.4 billion rubles and helped 7,000 people.

Additional information

Divorced, 5 children.

Source for information: Forbes.com, Bloomberg.com, Wikipedia.org,
Mikhail Fridman site.com, Lenta.ru, Ria.ru, RBC.ru

The art of being rich is the art of understanding human nature.
Mikhail Fridman

Interviews and articles

  • Broke Oligarch Says Sanctioned Billionaires Have No Sway Over Putin
    bloomberg March 17, 2022
    Broke Oligarch Says Sanctioned Billionaires Have No Sway Over Putin
    Read more
  • Mikhail Fridman's interview with Vladimir Pozner
    pozneronline November 19, 2019
    Mikhail Fridman's interview with Vladimir Pozner
    Read more
    mikhailfridmansite October 15, 2015
    MIKHAIL FRIDMAN'S INTERVIEW WITH OLEG TINKOV "A man is obliged to fix the world"
    Read more

Last update: 16.04.2024