They asked Forbes not to call them Russian billionaires

16.04.2022 | 14:03 Home / News / Fintech /
#Forbes #Nikolay Storonsky #Pavel Durov
Businessmen “with ties to Russia” asked Forbes magazine not to call them Russian billionaires, RBC reports.

Such statements have been received for several years, but their number has increased in recent months since the start of the military operation in Ukraine, as well as following the sanctions of the U.S., the U.K. and European Union.

In particular, Nikolay Storonsky (Nik Storonsky), co-founder and CEO of Revolut fintech company, asked Forbes not to call him a Russian billionaire. “Nik is a U.K. citizen,” his spokesperson said. As of April 2022, Forbes valued Storonsky at an estimated $7.1 billion. According to Russian Forbes, in 2021, he was worth $1.2 billion.

Storonsky, born in Dolgoprudny outside Moscow, graduated from the Physics and Mathematics School.
In 2002, he applied for a master’s degree in physics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and in 2006 - for a separate masters in economics at Russian Economic School in Moscow. He Received both diplomas in 2007.

In 2006, Storonsky received an internship at Lehman Brothers in London, where he worked as a trader until the bank’s bankruptcy in 2008. After that, the team of traders was bought by the largest Japanese brokerage firm Nomura, but a month later Storonsky left Nomura for Credit Suisse, where he spent the next five years.

The idea to found Revolut was born in 2014. His first idea was a multi-currency bank card that would allow users to exchange money at a favorable rate while traveling. He was the first investor in the project with £300,000. A few months later, Storonsky invited former developer of Deutsche Bank, Ukrainian programmer Vlad Yatsenko, who became the co-founder and CTO of Revolut, to join the startup. The first prototype of Revolut was ready in early 2015, and in July the app was fully functional․

Vlad Yatsenko and Nikolay Storonsky


According to Storonsky, the decision to found a company in the U.K. had to do with the favorable environment in terms of laws and regulations. Moreover, it is a big market, and Revolut could “make a fintech product from London for the entire Europe, which means 350 million people with decent average annual income”.

Revolut CEO has talked about the future of fintech and predicted that in 20-25 years, the market will have several global players presenting the whole specter of financial services. “The centre of financial life will be narrowed down to an app where you can do anything. There won’t be local banks, only several global ones.”



Banks.am has repeatedly reported about the activities of Revolut in its Fintech section. All the publications are available at the following link.

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Pavel Durov, the founder of the social networking site VKontakte and Telegram messaging app, who was born in St. Petersburg, also asked Forbes not to call him a Russian businessman.

“Pavel left Russia many years ago with no intention to return,” a spokesperson told Forbes. He explained his decision to leave the country in the text “Seven reasons not to return”. Among them, according to the entrepreneur, are the “absence of honest and independent courts” and “an abundance of contradicting laws”. In 2013, Durov, who now lives in Dubai where Telegram operations are based, obtained the citizenship of the twin-island federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. In autumn 2021, he received French citizenship.

According to Forbes’ 2021ranking of 200 richest Russian billionaires, Durov’s fortune was estimated $17.2 billion. In 2022, according to Forbes, his estimated worth is $15,1 billion.

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The founders of mobile gaming company Playrix, brothers Igor and Dmitry Bukhman (who now live in London), partner of Roman Abramovich and head of the Millhouse investment company Evgeny Shvidler (he’s been a citizen of the U.S. since 1994 and the U.K. since 2010.), Leonard Blavatnik, an investor in Warner Music and petrochemical company LyondellBasell (holds a U.S. and British citizenship), as well as Yuri Milner, described by Forbes as “Russia’s most influential tech investor”, have also asked Forbes not to call them Russian entrepreneurs. Milner received Israeli citizenship in 1999, and has been living in California since 2014.

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