Suleyman Kerimov, a Russian investor and politician, was born in Derbent, Dagestan on March 12, 1966. His father worked as an attorney for a criminal investigation company and his mother was an accountant for Sberbank. Following his service in the Soviet Army and his completion of a degree in finance from the Dagestan State University, he began work as an accountant for the Eltav Electrical Plant. As the Soviet Union was failing, Suleyman Kerimov was working his way up through the company hierarchy and was appointed Deputy Director General. In 1993 he was given responsibility for handling the business deals between the plant and Fedprombank, a bank that Eltav established to finance lagging businesses. Fedprombank and Kerimov realized high profits when the Russian economy improved and the loans were repaid.
In 1995, Kerimov was responsible for Soyuz-Finans, the trading and banking firm. Some of the high profile takeovers he managed included Smolensky Passazh and Avtobank. In 1997 he had gathered holdings of 50% in Vnukovo Airlines. Using his leverage, he acquired Fedprombank by buying the shares of his partners. In 1998, $50 million bought him 55% ownership of Nafta Moskva, a company trading in oil. Within two years he owned 100% of the company and, after a major restructure, he turned it into a holding and investment firm.
For a period of two years beginning in 1997 Kerimov was Research Fellow and Vice President at International Institute of Corporations in Moscow, a scientific institution that in 1998 became an autonomous not-for-profit institution.
1999 represents the year Kerimov entered Russian politics with a seat in the parliament, or State Duma. In addition, he also represented the Republic of Dagestan on the Federation Council of the Federation Assembly of the Russian Federation.
With a $43 million loan from a state-owned bank, Suleyman Kerimov invested in Gazprom, a global natural gas and oil giant (Russia's biggest company). Subsequently, the share value doubled and he paid off the entire loan within four months. Following the purchase of shares in Sberbank, which had become the largest bank in Eastern Europe and Russia, his wealth was estimated at $17.5 billion and he was listed as the world’s 36 richest person
. Turning to gold, Kerimov acquired one of the largest silver and gold mining companies in Russia, JSC Polymetal. He bought low in 2006 and sold the majority of his shares in 2008.
As the world markets began to tighten in 2007, Kerimov sold off stakes in Russian blue chip companies and invested heavily in Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. He suffered during the 2008 financial crisis, but bought large stakes that would give him influence in his invested companies, such as Polyus Goldm Russia's largest gold producer.
In 2011 Suleyman Kerimov bought his hometown soccer club, FC Anzhi Makhachkala, and has since added top players to its team, namely Cameroon striker Samuel Eton’s, who became the top earning football player. When the team captain Roberto Carlos celebrated his 38th birthday, Kerimov presented him with a €1.8 million Bugatti Veyron.
The soft-spoken Kerimov spends his free time organizing impressive parties, working with his charitable organization
, the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation, and hosting friends on his yacht, Ice. Stretching 90 meters, it is one of the largest private yachts in the world.