Arkady Romanovitch Rotenberg (Аркадий Ротенберг) is a Russian energy tycoon and personal friend of Vladimir Putin. It has been through his close personal friendship with the Russian President that Rotenberg has enjoyed a position of considerable influence in political and economic circles. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the Leningrad Institute of Physical Culture and quickly set about acquiring considerable assets from the former Soviet Union. He began building his empire from banking-related businesses, the construction sector, and piping. Forbes listed his personal net worth at $2.6 billion in November 2014.
Martial Arts Master
One of the most widely publicized facts about Arkady Rotenberg is his affinity to martial arts. He is a distinguished martial artist, and brothers Boris and Arkady routinely spar with President Vladimir Putin in judo sessions. And in 2013 Rotenberg was elected to serve on the executive committee of the International Judo Federation (IJF). Much earlier in his career though, he ran a St. Petersburg Sports Club in the 1960s, with Vladimir Putin serving as the honorary head of the organization. Besides martial arts, Rotenberg is also the president of Dynamo Moscow – a championship winning hockey club.
Building an Empire
Both Arkady Rotenberg and his younger brother Boris spent many years building up their pipe business. Their dealings with Russian gas giant Gazprom steadily increased over the years. Arkady continued to purchase Gazprom’s subsidiaries over the years, eventually forming Stroygazmontazh Corporation or the SGM Group.
The SGM Group is now the top ranking construction contractor in the energy sector. It’s also Gazprom’s biggest supplier of steel piping, and has recently acquired Gazprom-Bureniye – one of Russia’s pre-eminent drilling companies. As it stands, Arkady Rotenberg is a majority shareholder of SGM with 51% ownership.
Besides SGM, Rotenberg owns 26% of Mostotrest and 50% of TPS Avia. The latter company is proving popular, as it was awarded a contract for constructing a terminal for Sheremetyevo Airport (Moscow), which will facilitate travel for cargo and more than 15 million passengers. Rotenberg is also the Chairman of SMP Bank – the 36th largest bank in Russia.
Space Exploration and Skanex
Arkady Rotenberg invested $28 million in Skanex – a space-exploration company based in Russia. This investment granted him a majority share in the company. Skanex is involved in observation technology from outer space. It is focused on monitoring all of Russia and CIS territories. The technology provided by Skanex offers HD resolution images for the purposes of creating a cadaster map for real-estate. This is being done with the goal of defining domestic and international borders. Rotenberg’s 90% share in Skanex gives him control over an industry that the Russian Federation has pumped $1.7 billion dollars into.
EU Sanctions and Travel Ban for Rotenberg
Following Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine Crisis, the EU began sanctioning Russian companies. Rotenberg and Rosneft (a state-owned oil company) have filed their cases against the European Council at the European Court of Justice.
This follows the blacklisting of Rosneft and Arkady Rotenberg by the European Council vis-à-vis sanctions against key Russian interests. Further, Rotenberg’s assets in Europe have been frozen and he was slapped with a travel ban.
Family Life and Future Projects
Now 61 years of age, Arkady Rotenberg is divorced with 2 children. He presently lives in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Through their company SGM Group, the Rotenberg brothers will be constructing sections of a 2,446km pipeline from Southern Europe to Eastern Europe. And they will be building the Druzhba pipeline for the upcoming Sochi Olympics.
In an interview given in 2010, Rotenberg was told by Kommersant newspaper that his net worth was $700 million. In response, he told the reporter that he’d get back to him once he’d counted his money!