Financial Post | Business

Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest person, moved control of most of his US$20-billion fortune last year to a holding company based in the British Virgin Islands, a collection of more than 60 isles 5,600 miles away from Moscow.

The company, USM Holdings, controls the billionaire’s most valuable asset, Metalloinvest Holding Co., Russia’s largest iron ore producer, through two Cyprus-based subsidiaries, USM Steel & Mining Group Ltd. and USM Investments Ltd., according to Metalloinvest’s annual report.

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Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, Russia’s 14th-richest person, and his wife, Elena Rybolovleva, have been brawling for almost five years in at least seven countries over his US$9.5-billion fortune.

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“Offshores are the main tool for Russian businessmen to protect their assets from state authorities, rivals and all kinds of raiders,” Valery Tutykhin, an attorney with John Tiner & Partners, a Geneva-based law firm…

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