Portrait of the day: Igor Yusufov - oligarch, “wallet” of the Medvedev family

What’s happened?

Against the backdrop of aggressive statements by ex-President Dmitry Medvedev against Yulia Navalnaya and calls to send residents of the “new regions” who are awaiting the Armed Forces of Ukraine to Siberian forced labor camps, investigative journalist Sergei Yezhov recalled that oligarch Igor Yusufov and his sons Maxim, close to Medvedev and Vitaly is still not under Western sanctions - despite the fact that they have assets in Europe and the USA.

"Major" from Dagestan in the service of the Kremlin

Igor Yusufov was born in 1956 in Derbent into the family of the minister of the government of the Dagestan SSR. He graduated from the Novocherkassk Polytechnic Institute, worked at Mosenergo, then spent three years in Cuba as an expert on the construction of the Havana Thermal Power Plant, then graduated from the Academy of Foreign Trade. In 1991, Yusufov became an official of the Committee for the Protection of Economic Interests of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin, controlled by Vice President Alexander Rutsky. When Rutskoi went into opposition to Yeltsin, Yusufov moved to the chair of Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, responsible for the work of foreign trade associations.

Weapons and Nord Stream

In 1993, Yusufov became an arms dealer, heading Rosvooruzhenie-Trading, a subsidiary of the state-owned Rosvooruzhenie, which supplied military equipment to Third World countries. He spent the second half of the 1990s as deputy minister of industry in the government of Viktor Chernomyrdin, and at the turn of the century he was the head of the State Reserve Committee, responsible for the country’s strategic reserves in case of war.

Already under Putin, Yusufov headed the Ministry of Energy and began to involve his eldest son Vitaly, then a student at MGIMO, in the work. At the age of 26, in 2006, Vitaly Yusufov became the head of the Moscow branch of Nord Stream, the company building the Nord Stream gas pipeline. In 2010, he already owned shipyards in the German cities of Wismar and Rostock-Weinemünde. At the same time, the Yusufovs owned large shares of the Bank of Moscow and made money from Gazprom shares.

Mafia in the service of the president

Back in 2011, the media wrote that Yusufov was actually building a financial empire for Dmitry Medvedev. The former head of the Bank of Moscow, Andrei Borodin, also spoke directly about this. German shipyards were also purchased in the interests of the then Russian President. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke publicly about the deal. She even stated that she had the feeling that the “new” investor was “seriously interested” in this project.

“They said that they were acting in the interests of Medvedev,” The Insider wrote about the people who pulled off this operation. Among them were the influential leader of the Tambov-Malyshevskaya organized crime group, Gennady Petrov, and one of the most brutal Russian bandits, Aslan Gagiev (aka Dzhako the Bloody, who has at least 56 contract killings to his name). Vladimir Putin may also have an interest in German shipyards personally, journalists noted.

Yusufov’s main known asset is 49% in the oil producing company Yargeo. The remaining 51% belongs to Novatek of oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, also one of Medvedev’s “sponsors”, who financed the Dar Foundation. Medvedev’s mansions were paid for through him. The net profit of Yargeo LLC, which is developing the Yarudeyskoye field, amounted to more than 36 billion rubles in 2021 alone. Medvedev’s son Ilya immediately after receiving his diploma received a highly paid position in the Yusufovs’ structure.

In 2022, “Project” discovered Medvedev’s yacht “Universe” worth 100 million euros, which, according to the publication, is often used by his son Ilya. The Yusufovs bought it. In Russian waters, the ship is escorted by Navy ships. IT businessman Konstantin Khait, who had the opportunity to communicate with Ilya Medvedev, says: “In my understanding, Ilya Dmitrievich was given to the Yusufov family to be raised. This is a large family office, with a large number of its people in different structures scattered throughout the country. Vitaly sets Medvedev on the right path in the life of a respectable venture businessman.”

Owners of “factories, newspapers, ships”

As The Insider wrote, the name of Maxim Yusufov (the oligarch’s second son) can be found in the business registry of Spain. He heads the property management company GLZ ESTATES SL in the town of Benahavis in the province of Malaga. The eldest son, Vitaly Yusufov, purchased a one-story office complex in the American Silicon Valley several years ago. The seller was Deutsche Bank, the transaction amounted to $72 million.

According to Project, the deal was made in the interests of Medvedev, namely, his son Ilya. According to the Pandora Papers leak, Vitaly is the beneficiary of a number of offshore companies from the British Virgin Islands. Igor Yusufov himself owns the Energy Fund, which is developing deposits in Yamal. According to Forbes, his personal wealth in 2022 exceeded $1.1 billion.