Oil boss plans Iran investment

By Shelly Paz, July 9, 2009
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Dr Alexander Machkevitch, one of the world’s richest businessmen and president of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, has a business plan — for Iran.

Once the current regime is replaced and sanctions are lifted, he wants to invest in the country’s oil industry, as Iran loses capital by not refining its own oil.

“I discussed the plan with a group of Iranian businessmen who are quite tired of the situation in the country but it will be possible only with political support,” Mr Machkevitch said. “I am very optimistic.”
Dr Machkevitch, 55, is the world’s 601st richest man, according to Forbes. He made his fortune after the collapse of the Soviet Union, building up an empire of mining, metals and energy assets, and divides his time between Kazakhstan, London and Brussels.

Last week he invited journalists attending the Third Congress of World Religious Leaders in Kazakhstan to the inauguration of the sixth synagogue in the country, which is home to some 40,000 Jews. All synagogues were built with his donations and are named Beit Rakhel, after his mother.

But the primary help the Jews in this region need, he says, is not financial.

“First of all Jewish communities need political support. People that cannot defend themselves against state’s law or antisemitic policies turn to us for legal help and for mediation between them and the government.”

    Last updated: 4:19pm, July 9 2009