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Russian oligarch boasted about becoming secret owner of Forbes Media Group

Saturday, 21 October 2023, 19:38
Russian oligarch boasted about becoming secret owner of Forbes Media Group
Magomed Musaev. Photo: Tass

Magomed Musaev, a Kremlin-connected tycoon and owner of Forbes Russia, told partners that he was behind the purchase of the Forbes Media Group.

Source: The Washington Post, citing sources, plus five audio recordings and one video recording in which Musaev discusses the deal; Russian business media outlet RBC, citing Forbes Russia Development Director Dmitry Ozman

Details: The Washington Post reported that Musaev told his partners in June that he was behind the purchase of the Forbes Media Group, saying it was the deal of a lifetime.


"I just bought global Forbes," Musaev reportedly told one of his associates, referring to the Forbes Media Group, which includes the US edition of the magazine.

"You understand when you have in your hands the key to the most authoritative global brand, this key will give me access to anyone," he said.

The recordings suggest that Musaev repeated this over and over. In the video recording obtained by the Washington Post, Muasev calls tech founder Austin Russell the "face" of the deal and insists that his own involvement be kept quiet.

In a statement to The Post, Russell denied any involvement by Musaev or any Russian individuals in the deal.

"Musaev has no involvement whatsoever in the Forbes transaction. Any suggestion to the contrary is false. There is not a single dollar of capital from any Chinese or Russian citizen or entity, including Musaev," said a spokesperson for Russell.

Musaev initially told The Post that any suggestion he had control of the deal was "absolute nonsense" and a "monstrous myth" and that "in the [deal] documents, in any written form, my participation is not there." "He denied he could have told his associates he had bought Forbes, but he did not respond to subsequent requests for comment about the tapes," The Post added.

The media outlet Axios reported in May, citing two unnamed individuals, that Musaev had brought Russell into the process of acquiring Forbes, although it did not refer to Musaev as an investor or buyer. Two executives familiar with the situation repeated this in interviews with The Post.

Forbes Russia Development Director Dmitry Ozman told RBC that Forbes Russia has no information that Musaev has acquired Forbes Media Group.

"Among other things, I’m in charge of PR for Forbes Russia, and we know nothing about the deal. He [Musaev] has not commented on this in personal conversations," Ozman said.

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