Moscow: The total number of billionaires in Russia has fallen from 88 to 77 as the country suffers a recession, Forbes magazine's annual rich list showed today, but a man reported to be Vladimir Putin's son-in-law has become the youngest member of the club.
Kirill Shamalov, who has been named in media reports as President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law, the husband of his daughter Katerina, became Russia's youngest billionaire at 34, according to the Russian edition of Forbes.
The Kremlin has not confirmed that Shamalov is Putin's son-in-law and refuses to discuss the private life of the president and his family.
Shamalov, a major stakeholder in Sibur petrochemicals company, joined the billionaire list for the first time with a fortune of USD 1.2 billion, making him Russia's 64th richest businessman, Forbes wrote.
He is the son of Nikolai Shamalov, a shareholder of Bank Rossiya, which is blacklisted and identified by the US Treasury as "the personal bank" for senior officials owned by "members of Putin's inner circle."
The total fortune of the richest 200 Russians fell to USD 360 billion from USD 408 billion last year, the Russian edition of Forbes calculated.
Nevertheless 19 of Russia's billionaires managed to increase their wealth despite the economic crisis sparked by falling oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.
The Russian list is topped by Leonid Mikhelson, a major stakeholder in Novatek natural gas company and Sibur petrochemicals company, who is said to be worth USD 14.4 billion.
The previous number one, metals magnate Vladimir Potanin fell to fourth place with USD 12.1 billion, down by USD 3.3 billion.
In second place is Mikhail Fridman, who controls Alfa holding including banks and telecoms, with USD 13.3 billion.
Alisher Usmanov, whose interests range from metallurgy to social networking sites Mail.Ru and VK, comes third with USD 12.5 billion.