For a brief period, Inc. (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos was the world's richest person. Share's in the e-commerce conglomerate soared above $1050 a share, dethroning Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates at the top of the rich list. However, according to Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital Management CEO, the world's richest person is neither Gates nor Bezos. That person is worth more than the two West Coast moguls combined. "I estimate that he has accumulated $200 billion," Browder said, according to The Atlantic.

That person is none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Browder has become a significant voice in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Browder described how Putin amassed great wealth through years of corruption and intimidation. "There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who are given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property," Browder continued. 

Should Browder be correct, Putin would be worth more than Gates, and Bezos combined, and be 50 times wealthier than U.S. president, Donald Trump. (See also: This Is How Donald Trump Actually Got Rich.)

Either way, Browder's testimony sheds light on the wild corruption in Russian politics and money. He recounted the story of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's biggest oligarch who was put on trial and convicted by Putin in 2003. After this public trial, other wealthy Russians asked Putin what they could do to avoid the same fate as Khodorkovsky. "Fifty percent. He wasn’t saying 50 percent for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50 percent for Vladimir Putin personally," Browder said. (See also: Vladimir Putin: Rise to Power and Fortune)

"From that moment on, Putin became the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world."



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