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14 Jul, 2020 13:14

Russia’s richest man loses $4.1 billion after major environmental disasters in Siberian Arctic

Russia’s richest man loses $4.1 billion after major environmental disasters in Siberian Arctic

Vladimir Potanin, president of metal giant Norilsk Nickel and Russia's richest man, has seen his fortune reduced by $4.1 billion after two environmental disasters inside the Arctic Circle, according to business magazine Forbes.

On May 29, about 20,000 tons of diesel leaked from a thermal power plant owned by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, a Norilsk Nickel subsidiary. The fuel entered into the soil and contaminated reservoirs responsible for supplying the area's residents with clean water.

Following this disaster, on July 12, almost 45 tons of aviation fuel escaped from a pipeline in the same Krasnoyarsk Region. The pipe is owned and operated by Norilsktransgaz – another subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel.

Also on rt.com Russia's Arctic region sees second fuel leak in just two months as state of emergency declared

According to Forbes ‘Real Time’ tracker of billionaires' wealth around the world, Potanin's net worth began to fall after a June 4 televised meeting between President Vladimir Putin and regional officials. Overall, due to these environmental incidents, his fortune fell from $26.7 billion to $22.6 billion.

Russia's environmental protection agency, Rosprirodnadzor, expects Norilsk Nickel to pay compensation to the tune of 148 billion rubles ($2 billion) for the May 29 leak. The company has agreed to pay out of its own pocket but has challenged the government's figure. On June 3, Potanin estimated the damage at $150 million.

Despite a $4 billion loss, Potanin is still the richest man in Russia. Behind the Norilsk Nickel president are Leonid Mikhelson, founder of natural gas company Novatek, and Vladimir Lisin, chairman of steel product manufacturer NLMK Group.

Also on rt.com Prosecutors probe major fuel spill in Russia as Arctic incident becomes federal-level emergency

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