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Elon Musk says he’s probably not the richest man in the world: ‘Putin is significantly richer than me’

March 26, 2022, 9:33 PM UTC
Tesla CEO Elon Musk contemplates during the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22 near Gruenheide, Germany. The new plant, officially called the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, is producing the Model Y, as well as electric car batteries.
Christian Marquardt—Pool/Getty Images

Elon Musk may be the world’s richest man in theory, but he’s under no illusion that he actually holds the title.

Who does?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO says.

“I do think that Putin is significantly richer than me,” Musk told Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, in a recent interview, the website reported Saturday.

Late last year Musk passed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in the race for the title of richest man in the world. Musk was worth $270 billion as of Saturday, according to Forbes.

How much is Putin worth?

No one really knows.

The Kremlin claims that Putin earns an annual salary of $140,000. His publicly disclosed assets include an 800-square foot apartment, a trailer, and three cars. 

But according to some experts, he may be the wealthiest man in the world. 

Putin is rumored to be the owner of a 190,000 square-foot mansion sitting atop a cliff that overlooks the Black Sea. This coastal property is reputed as the largest private residence in the country and serves as his private palace, endearingly called “Putin’s Country Cottage.”

Its estimated worth: $1.4 billion.

The Kremlin denies Putin’s ownership of the palace, saying it belongs to a wealthy businessman. But Russian analysts call it a blatant lie, saying that no businessman can have properties guarded by the FSB (Russia’s federal security service) with a no-fly zone over it. 

He also owns 19 other houses and 700 cars, in addition to 58 aircraft and helicopters, including a $716 million plane called “The Flying Kremlin” that has a toilet made of gold. Additionally, he owns a $100-million-dollar megayacht designed by a nuclear submarine maker from the Russian navy.

On top of all this, the famous Panama Papers revealed a network of secret offshore deals and loans worth $2 billion pointing to Putin in 2016.

But Putin denies such allegations, only admitting to a different form of riches. “I am the wealthiest man, not just in Europe but in the whole world: I collect emotions. I am wealthy in that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with the leadership of a great nation such as Russia. I believe that is my greatest wealth,” he reportedly said.

Wealthiest man in the world or not, “We cannot let Putin take over Ukraine,” Musk told Döpfner. “This is crazy.”

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