Russian billionaire gives away $3m bonus to staff

Oleg Deripaska
Image caption Mr Deripaska has an estimated wealth of $8.5bn (£5.5bn)

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has declined a bonus for 2012 and will use the money to buy shares for employees.

Aluminium company Rusal says the $3m (£2m) bonus will be used to reward around 120 employees with shares.

Mr Deripaska, who is worth $8.5bn (£5.5bn) according to Forbes, has been chief executive of Rusal since 2009.

The company said that the share award is a one-off programme, but if it was successful, awards to employees would increase through new schemes.

Shares will mainly be awarded to employees working in Rusal's factories; both Russian and international production sites.

The number to be purchased represents 0.05% of the total number of Rusal shares in issues.

Rusal is one of the world's largest producers of aluminium, employing more than 72,000 people worldwide. It was founded in 2000 and operates 20 plants in 19 different countries.

Mr Deripaska hit the headlines back in 2008 when both Labour and the Conservatives had to defend themselves against allegations of impropriety in their dealings with him.

The then shadow chancellor George Osborne strongly denied that he tried to solicit a donation from Mr Deripaska when visiting the Russian's yacht in Corfu.

Also, Lord Mandelson faced controversy in the same year, when it was suggested that whilst EU trade commissioner in 2004, he could have intervened on Mr Deripaska's behalf. He proposed then that tariffs on aluminium imports should be cut from 6% to 3%.

At the time, the European Commission said: "There was no political interference by Peter Mandelson."

"Decisions were subject to numerous discussions in Council and final decisions were reached in an entirely standard and routine manner."

A Rusal spokesman told the BBC that Mr Deripaska also strongly denies any business connections with George Osborne and Peter Mandelson and any benefits for his business resulting from such connections.

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