Ex-Russian oil billionaire Mikhail Khimich dead

A controversial wealthy Russian businessman who formerly resided in New Zealand has died in Russia, reportedly of Covid.

Jared Booth, a liquidator for Staples Rodway, confirmed to the New Zealand Herald the company had been advised of Mikhail Khimich’s death.

Khimich first arrived in New Zealand as a billionaire in 2008, but left behind a trail of failed ventures and an aborted drink-driving trial.

Newsroom reported that he died in Russia where he contracted Covid-19.

He received significant publicity in 2010 and 2013 when he bought Waiwera Water, the bottling company, and Waiwera Thermal Resort, the water park on the northern outskirts of Auckland.

He planned to undertake a large refurbishment of the thermal pools, but it never happened. The two companies fell over and were placed into liquidation.

Khimich was deemed bankrupt by the High Court at Wellington in 2019.

In 2020, drink-driving charges against a former Russian oil mogul were dismissed after his bizarre and nearly four-years-long case dragged on and continued “costing the taxpayer money”.

He had faced one charge of refusing to undergo a blood specimen test, despite being required to do so, and also faced a charge of failing to supply identifying particulars, namely a photograph and fingerprints, while in police custody following his arrest.

It was also not the first timeKhimich has had such criminal allegations thrown out of court, as he refused to return to New Zealand from Moscow due to medical fears.

In 2014 he had another drink-driving charge dropped after his arrest was lost in translation.

Khimich blew nearly one and a half times over the limit when his Porsche was stopped for speeding on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, court papers revealed.

But Judge Pippa Sinclair threw out the caseafter ruling police had failed to inform Khimich of his rights because of language difficulties.

The former Moscow-based tycoon had been a top executive and part-owner of Russian oil company Naftasib.

He gained New Zealand residency in 2013 and has been a generous benefactor to several sports and horse racing since first arriving in New Zealand in 2008.

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