Russian Billionaire Gives $3 Million Bonus To His Employees

Owen Poindexter
A Russian billionaire gave away his $3 million bonus in stock to his employees, but the story gets more complicated from there.

Oleg Deripava gave away his $3 million bonus to his employees. Generosity or chess move? PHOTO: Dzinko, CC License
One Russian billionaire is giving his bonus back to his employees, but in his case, it's hard to know if that's $3 million in pure generosity or $3 million in good publicity for someone who needs it. Oleg Deripaska, CEO of major aluminum producer Rusal, bought stock for 120 of his workers with his huge bonus. Rusal has over 72,000 workers, but $3 million only goes so far (he might have spread it out a little thinner, but we won't harp on that one).
What makes this story more complicated is that the Russian billionaire is getting good publicity for his $3 million giveaway at a time when he needs it. Deripaska has been accused of bribery, extortion and tax evasion over several law suits, some of which are brought by business rivals. The claims against Deripaska have been unsuccessful in court (and he has denied every one of them), but regardless, he has been in news for all the wrong reasons lately.
Now he reverses that trend by giving $3 million in stock to 120 employees. This is pocket change for the Russian billionaire, who is rolling in $8.5 billion, according to Forbes. So, Deripaska's generosity is a legitimate good-guy move, but it also may help ensure that he keeps getting those $3 million bonuses.

The other element of this story is really just an element of modern life: why does anyone have $8.5 billion dollars? I'm no communist, but isn't that by itself kind of gross?