Alexander Svetakov (Александр Светаков) the founder of Absolute Bank and Absolute Group, a holding company, has amassed a fortune worth $4 billion as of July, 2014. Forbes rates him as the 451st richest person in the World and the 34th in Russia. Under his guidance, the Absolute Group owns and develops about 20,000 hectares of Russian land.
Education and Career Beginnings
Alexander Svetakov was born in 1968 in Moscow. He received a BA in engineering at the Moscow Institute of Electric Technology in 1993. As a student, he noticed the demand for electronics, computers and home appliances. Svetakov, Gleb Galin and Andrew Truskov started importing electronics from Singapore and selling them wholesale. This was the beginning of Absolute Trade House or Absolute LLP. It is currently the biggest wholesaler of electronics in Russia with a turnover of $2 billion.
With the money earned through Absolute Trade House, Alexander Svetakov cofounded Absolute Bank in 1993. Svetakov again partnered Galin and Truskov to start the bank. The trio built the bank up and remained the private owners of the bank until 2005 when International Finance Corporation bought $10 million for a 7.5% share in the bank.
By 2006, Absolute Bank was the sixth largest mortgage lender in Russia and its assets were valued among the twenty five largest banks in Russia. In 2007, Svetakov owned 51.58% of Absolute Bank. They sold Absolute Bank for $1 billion to KBC a Belgian group in 2007. Svetakov was able to maintain the value of his fortune despite the financial crisis of 2008 that devalued and threatened banks around the world.
Also in 1993, Alexander Svetakov founded Absolute Group, a property developer and holding company. The group has invested in a wide variety of economic sectors including real estate, banks, gold mining, coal mining, seaports, food production, metals, asset management and insurance. In the aftermath of the 1998 economic crisis in Russia, Svetakov was poised to invest with cash on hand. Absolute Group, with its real estate arm ABS Realty, bought many Soviet collective farms and became one of the largest land owners in the greater Moscow region.
Absolute has continually expanded its land acquisitions and property development. It has more than 9 million square meters of residential and commercial rental units. Some of the housing projects are targeted to supply affordable housing around Moscow. This is comparable to Igor Olenicoff, the Russian real estate developer in America. Absolute owns and operate 20,000 hectares of land. The properties are scattered in the districts of Naro-Fominsk, Sergiev Posad and Podolsk in the Moscow region. One of his developments is in New Moscow where Suleyman Kerimov also has a major development. He wants to also develop properties throughout Russia. Svetakov had to purchase a private helicopter to travel to oversee and manage his vast land holdings.
In 2013, Forbes rated Absolute Group as the twelfth most profitable Russian real estate developer with an income of $200 million. Zarak Iliev and God Nisanov owners of Kievskaya Ploshchad have the biggest real estate empire in Russia.
In 2002, Svetakov founded the Absolute-Help fund to help children who are disabled, orphaned and ill. It helps fund dozens of schools, hospitals, orphanages.
Alexander Svetakov is divorced and has three children.