May 22, 2009

Billionaire brings windfall to Siberia

A gold mining community in Siberia has received a financial boost from the richest man in Russia, who has decided to register as a resident.

Mikhail Prokorov's action means that his tax payments will go to the local budget of Krasnoyarsk Territory, where the village of Yeruda is located, RIA Novosti reported.

No one expects Prokorov, who was previously registered in Moscow, to move to Yeruda, the Russian news agency said. Last year, he spent 500 million euros (almost $700 million) on a mansion on the French Riviera.

Prokhorov, who is reputed to be worth $9.5 billion, owns Polyus, the company that operates the Yeruda gold field, the largest in the region.

Norilsk Nickel, a company Prokhorov formerly controlled, has a description of Yeruda on its Web site: Thanks to ZAO Polyus, Yeruda has turned into a prosperous village of 2,300 inhabitants, with everything necessarily for the harsh northern life.

A spokesman said Prokhorov is being a responsible billionaire.

Given the difficult economic period, one of the main social responsibilities of a business is to pay its taxes in full, and it would seem proper to pay them where the main sources of income are, he said. For Prokhorov, one of his main assets is Polyus Gold.