PORTRAITS – According to the revelations of Mediapart, Alexander Benalla has negotiated contracts with two Russian oligarchs in recent months: Iskander Makhmudov and Fahkad Akhmedov. Who are these two billionaires close to Vladimir Putin who have called on Alexandre Benalla to ensure their safety in France and in Europe?

Little information is available on the two Russian oligarchs who entrusted their security to Alexandre Benalla. Yet both are close to Vladimir Putin and rank high in the rankings of the richest Russians. The former employee of the Elysee has made his first contract with Iskander Makhmudov, while he was still in office with the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, for an amount of more than one million euros.

Iskander Makhmudov made his fortune with the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC), a company of dozens of mining companies he founded in 1999 and of which he is still chairman. This 55-year-old man, born in Bouchara, in what is now Uzbekistan, is suspected by several European magistrates of "acquaintance with one of the worst Moscow crime groups", Izmailovsky, according to Mediapart.

Iskander Makhmudov owns several properties in France: a castle in Soings-en-Sologne, hunting grounds to Blois, and a villa in Ramatuelle, near Saint-Tropez. He also holds the women's basketball team at UMMC Yekaterinburg, one of the most successful in Russia.

Akhmedov, owner of the 2nd largest yacht in the world

The second Russian businessman with whom Alexander Benalla did business according to Mediapart is Farhkad Akhmedov. For 980,000 euros, this close to Vladimir Putin instructed the former employee of Emmanuel Macron to ensure his protection and that of his children during his stays in France, Switzerland, and other European countries. According to Mediapart, Farhkad Akhmedov appeared in January 2018 in the "Putin List", an inventory of more than 200 names of the Russian elite (114 Russian politicians and 96 oligarchs) compiled by the US Treasury, on the sidelines of a sanctions law aimed at punishing Russia, accused of interference in the 2016 US presidential election ".

The 63-year-old from Azerbaijan, Farhkad Akhmedov made his fortune with the Northgas oil and gas company, which he resold in 2012. Mediapart also writes that he served on the Federation Council between 2007 and 2010, high of the Russian Parliament. The oligarch whose fortune estimated at 1.2 billion euros had been highlighted by his recent divorce is the owner of the second largest yacht in the world, the Luna, moored in Dubai. He bought it from Roman Abramovich, another Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin, the current owner of the Chelsea football club.