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No inheritance for my kids, rich Jewish philanthropist vows

Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, worth $13b., says he want his children to make their own way, will give fortune to charity instead

Mikhail Fridman singing at Musical Marathon 5775 in Moscow on June 24, 2014. (Photo courtesy Russian Jewish Congress)
Mikhail Fridman singing at Musical Marathon 5775 in Moscow on June 24, 2014. (Photo courtesy Russian Jewish Congress)

Russian-Jewish billionaire Mikhail Fridman, whose net worth was valued by Forbes magazine at $13.3 billion, announced recently that he would give his entire fortune to charity and leave nothing to his children.

Fridman, who the financial magazine says is Russia’s second richest man, told a crowd at the Forbes Club in Russia on Friday that he thought his children would be better off not inheriting his money.

“I’m not a big fan of such public statements, but I can say that I am going to transfer all my money to charity. I don’t plan to transfer any money to my children,” Fridman said, according to a translation by Russia Today.

The billionaire said he wanted his children to forge their owns paths, like he did. The wealthy father also said he was afraid that giving his children large quantities of money could put them at risk.

He mentioned that his eldest daughter Laura, who is now 22 years old, could be targeted by men with sinister intentions. He has four children all together, the youngest of which is 10-years-old.

Fridman, co-owner of the Alfa Group — the biggest financial and industrial investment group in Russia — said his business partners also made the same decision about who would inherit their fortunes.

The Russian oligarch in the past has used his wealth and power to try and boost Jewish culture as well as influence Israeli politics.

In 2012, Fridman’s Genesis Philanthropy Group founded the Genesis Prize, for which Israel’s prime minister annually awards $1 million to Jews who win global recognition due to their achievements in the fields of science and the arts.

Left to right: Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, Genesis Philanthropy Group chairman Mikhail Fridman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet secretary general Tzvi Hauser (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/Flash90)
Left to right: Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, Genesis Philanthropy Group chairman Mikhail Fridman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet secretary general Tzvi Hauser (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/Flash90)

In his address at the first Genesis award ceremony, which honored former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg , Fridman said Judaism is a roadmap to success in life, with a unique ability to inspire innovation.

“Our forbears have left us something far more valuable than land, castles or titles,” Fridman said. “They left us the word, the book and a set of values and rules which, if understood correctly and applied diligently, lead to the ultimate reward in life — a sense of fulfillment and self-actualization.

In 2013, Fridman, along with 99 other Russian Jewish notables, sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him to ignore recent pleas by American Jews to cede land for peace.

JTA contributed to this article

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