▼ Update: Gagosian’s Co-Conspirator
Roman Abramovich is the Russian oligarch and serious art collector named in connection with human trafficking charges brought against New York art dealer Larry Gagosian. Abramovich is accused of both selling countless sex slaves to Gagosian, as well as exchanging slaves for pieces from Gagosian’s private art collection.
Abramovich , born 24 October 1966, is a Russian business- man and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC.
In 2003, Abramovich was named Person of the Year by Expert, a Russian business magazine. He is known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, an English Premier League football team, and for his wider involvement in European football. Abramovich is currently the 3rd richest man in Russia and the 50th richest man in the world according to the 2010 Forbes list with an estimated fortune of $11.2 billion. Abramovich has recently boosted his security staff to a 40-person “private army”, making him one of the best protected businessmen in the world.
In May 2008 Abramovich emerged as a major buyer in the international art auction market. He purchased Francis Bacon’s Triptych for US $86.3 million (a record price for a post-war work of art) and Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping for US$33.6 million (a record price for a work by a living artist).
Chris Hutchins, a biographer of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, claims that the relationship between the former Russian president and Abramovich is like that between a father and a favorite son.
Boris Berezovsky (his one-time business partner) alleged in 2008 that Abramovich harassed him with “threats and intimidation” to cheat him to sell his valuable shares at less than their true worth. Abramovich has been sued for US $3.3 billion.
On 5 July 2008, The Times reported that Abramovich admitted he paid billions of dollars for political favours and protection fees to obtain a big share of Russia’s oil and aluminium assets as was shown by court papers The Times obtained. Yugraneft, an affiliate of Sibir Energy, is seeking billions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit in London against Roman Abramovich and his investment company Millhouse Capital, alleging that it was cheated out of its Russian assets.
In 1992 he was arrested in a case of theft of government property: AVEKS-Komi sent a train containing 55 tankers of diesel fuel, worth 3.8 million (Roubles), from the Ukhtinsk Oil Production Factory. Abramovich co-operated with the investigation, and the charges were dropped after the oil production factory was compensated by the diesel’s buyer, the Latvian-US concern, Chikora International. An allegation emerging from a Swiss investigation links Abramovich, through a former company, and numerous other Russian politicians, industrialists and bankers to using a US$4.8 billion loan from International Monetary Fund as personal slush fund.
The Times said that Abramovich “famously emerged triumphant after the “aluminum wars”, in which more than 100 people are believed to have been killed in gangland feuds over control of the lucrative smelters. He avoided the fate of a rival oligarch who annoyed the Kremlin and ended up being transported to jail in Siberia for ten years,” and “Numerous officials and executives are said to have lost their lives”.
Larry Gagosian at Abramovich’s New Year’s Eve Party – Gawker
A Russian Oligarch’s New Year’s Eve Megaparty Photo Album – Gawker