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Russia's richest lose $16bn in 'Black Monday' stock market bloodbath

Russia's richest lose $16bn in 'Black Monday' stock market bloodbath
Some of the wealthiest Russian businessmen suffered heavy financial losses when the stock markets opened this week. The biggest losers were not just individuals and companies that were added to the US sanctions list on Friday.

According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, all but one of the 27 Russian oligarchs lost billions this week. Some of them were not on Washington's sanctioned list. They included mining tycoon Vladimir Potanin, who lost $2.25 billion, and the head of Russia’s largest independent oil producer Lukoil, Vagit Alekperov, who lost $1.37 billion.

Viktor Vekselberg of Renova Group, who was added to the latest sanctions list, lost $1.28 billion. Oleg Deripaska, who was the main target of the sanctions, lost $2 billion on Friday and Monday. His energy giant En+ has lost 54 percent of its value since Thursday.

All of the sanctioned businessmen are large employers in Russia, and in the worst-case scenario, will need to be rescued by the government to prevent huge job losses.

As Russian Vedomosti reports, the Kremlin is considering the creation of special offshore zones in Russia to encourage the country's wealthiest to repatriate their assets.

Those wishing to bring money back to Russia will be able to do this quickly and without incurring taxes, officials say, according to the newspaper. The project allows foreign structures to be transferred to Russia from other countries, including offshore ones, preserving their legal form.

Taxes will be levied only on income received in Russia, and incomes received outside Russia will not be taxed, according to the newspaper. The project resembles an offshore company in the US state of Delaware – it offers a simple business registration, and a convenient legal regime, according to an analyst surveyed by Vedomosti.

In what was the worst trading day on the Moscow exchange in four years, the ruble-traded MICEX index fell 8.5 percent on Monday. The dollar-denominated RTS index suffered a 11.5 percent loss in value.

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