Mikhail Fridman has been named businessman of the year by Forbes Russia after investing over $5 billion in foreign companies, a record for Russian businessmen in 2017.
Fridman is the co-founder of the Luxembourg-based LetterOne investment fund and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest commercial banks.
A dossier published by Buzzfeed earlier this year accused Fridman of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections on President Vladimir Putin’s orders. The oligarch, alongside two fellow investors, filed defamation suits against the news website and the investigation firm that compiled it.
"It's total nonsense. Not only in substance but in form," Fridman said about the dossier in an interview with Forbes Magazine earlier this year.
The businessman said he hopes to restore his business reputation with the lawsuit, though he told Forbes that the proceedings could take up to three years.
“The West has a very simplistic view of Russia, just as Russia has about the West," he said.
“Russia means oligarchs, and all oligarchs are agents of the Kremlin.”
This year, LetterOne purchased a British health food chain for $2.3 billion and invested $3 billion in a private equity firm.
Forbes named Fridman this year's seventh-richest Russian businessman with a fortune of $14.4 billion.