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Tycoon Potanin donates most of his wealth for charity

February 07, 2014, 12:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW

His wife Natalia's attorneys suspect the businessman of trying to conceal his assets in the divorce process started by him

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Vladimir Potanin

Vladimir Potanin

© ITAR-TASS / Denis Vyshinsky

MOSCOW, February 07ю /ITAR-TASS/. Interros holding owner Vladimir Potanin, whose fortune is estimated at $14 billion, has handed over most of it for charity, the Kommersant daily writes on Friday.

A year ago, he said about such an option in the future, giving no further information. His wife Natalia's attorneys suspect the businessman of trying to conceal his assets in the divorce process started by him. Natalia Potanina already received permission in U.S. courts to begin searching for her husband's assets to sue him to divide property.

Potanin's confidant told the Kommersant his business assets had been transferred for charity purposes, with inheritance for his children taken into account. Details were kept secret.

"So, we want to find out when, what and to whom he has handed over, whether he really handed over, and whether this is related in any way to charity, or behind this is the wish to hide his fortune from the wife, creditors or the state for the purpose of so-called taxation optimization," the wife's attorney told the newspaper.

The Potanins have three children — 29-year-old Anastasia, 24-year-old Ivan and 15-year-old Vasily. Four years ago, in an interview to the Financial Times, Potanin stated he did not intend to leave his fortune to his heirs, but would hand it over for charity needs. In February 2013, he joined the Giving Pledge initiative of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, promising to bequeath at least half of his wealth for charity. He said his family supported the decision, but at the time the businessman and his confidants said about donation for charity in the future.

On Thursday, February 6, Interros could not specify when the transfer was made.

As Itar-Tass reported earlier, Potanin late last year filed a divorce suit. According to the Forbes, he is among the 200 richest entrepreneurs. In 2013, the businessman was the seventh with a fortune of $14.3 billion. Potanin is the owner and president of Interros, one of Russia's largest investment companies, which has stakes in the mining Norilsk Nickel company, the ProfEstate Group, the Cinema Park network of movie theatres, the Interport transport logistics company and the Rosa Khutor company. As of early 2013, the cost of Interros's assets totaled about $15 billion.

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