Net Worth

From Black Market Smuggler to Multi-Billionaire Playboy: Roman Abramovich’s Rags to Riches Story

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Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich is wildly wealthy, successful, and some would even say handsome. At first glance, it would be easy to assume that life clearly dealt him a winning lottery ticket.

However, he wasn’t always so well off. In fact, by the time he was four-years old, he was an orphan. His mother died when he was just 18 months old and his father was killed in an accident two years later. Raised by his paternal uncle and maternal grandparents, there was no way he could have ever imagined that someday he would grow up to be one of the richest men in the world. A man who owns the Chelsea Football Club, a $300 million house and an $800 million yacht. He also married a gorgeous and much younger former model, but then again, that ended in 2018. But nonetheless, this is how Roman Abramovich went from rags to the ultimate billionaire playboy tycoon.

Roman Abramovich Roman Abramovich – Rags To Billions / Clive Mason/Getty Images

Roman Abramovich was born October 24, 1966 in Saratov, Russia. He attended the Industrial Institute in the city of Ukhta in the Komi region of Russia, but dropped out before completing his degree. He briefly attended another college but dropped out (or was kicked out) a second time. Next, Abramovich spent some time in the Soviet Army, where glimpses of his future business acumen became evident. While in the army, he sold stolen gasoline to commissioned officers to make extra money on the side. After the army he landed a job as a commodities trader for a Swiss trading company called Runicom.

Just before the Soviet Union began to slowly wobble, Abramovich used $2000 of his life savings to begin smuggling black market goods and other contraband into Russia. He soon expanded, dealing in everything from plastic toys to automobile parts. At one point, during the height of perestroika Roman even sold imported rubber duckies right from his apartment in Moscow.

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In 1988, Russia’s political climate under Mikhail Gorbachev allowed Abramovich to legitimize his black market smuggling business. He took the money he’d made and set up a company that manufactured dolls, toys and furniture. Abramovich would go on to set up and liquidated at least 20 companies during the early 1990s, in industries ranging as wide and diverse as pig farming to bodyguard recruitment.

How much is Roman Abramovich Net WorthHow much is Roman Abramovich Net Worth/ GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

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