Simon Kukes
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Simon Kukes
Simon Kukes
Born1946 (age 73–74)
Occupationoil business manager, consultant
TitleChief Executive

Simon Grigorievich Kukes (Russian? ; born 5 December 1946) is a Russian-born American chemist and retired oil industry businessman. He immigrated to the US to work in the oil industry in the late seventies, and returned to Russia with AMOCO in 1995. He became vice president at YUKOS, president of TNK-BP from 1998 until 2003, and returned to head Yukos, replacing Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Officially retired he is still consulting oil businesses. He has contributed to Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Elizabeth Cheney's 2016 run for a congressional seat.

Early life and education

Simon Kukes was born in Moscow to Jewish parents.[1] He studied at Mendeleev Moscow Chemical & Technological Institute and at Nesmeyanov Institute of Hetero-Organic Compounds for his postgraduate studies.[2]


Kukes immigrated to the US in the late seventies, and became an American citizen,[3] giving up his Russian passport.[4] He briefly taught at Rice University, in Houston, Texas. From 1979 to 1986, he worked for Phillips Petroleum, thereafter for Amoco. In 1995, he became vice president of its Moscow Office. From 1996 to 1998, he was vice president at YUKOS. From February 1998 until June 2003 he was president of TNK-BP or Tyumen Oil Company, and brokered a joint venture with BP=that year.[2]

TNK President Simon Kukes with Vladimir Putin at the Millennium Summit 6-8 September 2000 signing an agreement between TNK and Eximbank USA.

In November 2003 after being elected to the board of YUKOS he replaced Mikhail Khodorkovsky to head the company for a year.[2][3]

In June 2004 he became co-owner of the Russian oil company ZAO Samara-Nafta,[2] a subsidiary of Lukoil.[3] As of 2005, Kukes owned 8 percent in Amarin Corporation, then a neurology drug developer.[2] He also was a partner at Hess Corporation, a New York-based oil and gas company.[3]

As of 2016 he is a consultant for oil businesses in the US and Russia,[5] as well as Leverate, a FinTech company for foreign exchange brokers.[6]

Political contributions

In 2003 Kukes had said in an interview with the Guardian: "I am not a political animal. I spent one year in Siberia [sorting out operational oil issues for TNK] in 2001. That is not what someone interested in politics does."[7]

In 2016, Kukes gave more than $150,000 to Donald Trump's presidential campaign and fundraising committee called Trump Victory Committee.[3]

He has also contributed to Elizabeth Cheney's 2016 run for a congressional seat in Wyoming.[3]

Personal life

In 2000, Kukes bought a 4-room condominium in Trump Parc in Manhattan.[8]


  1. ^ Ron Kampeas (May 22, 2018). "Know your oligarch: A guide to the Jewish machers in the Russia probe". JTA. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d e "Simon Kukes Prefers Drugs to Oil". Kommersant. 25 January 2005. Archived from the original on 30 September 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ashley Balcerzak (26 September 2016). "Russian-born oil magnate gives big to Trump Victory". The Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "A Conversation with Simon Kukes ( Transcript)". Council on Foreign Relations. 9 February 2004. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "About NAFTA Consulting". website. NAFTA LLC. n.d. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Avi Mizrahi (2 July 2016). "Oil Magnate Simon Kukes Explains Why He Became a Major Leverate Investor". Finance Magnates Ltd. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ Terry Macalister (13 November 2003). "Oligarch? I wish". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ Deborah Schoeneman (27 March 2000). "Steve Wynn Bets on 820 Fifth Avenue and Loses Big; Upper East Side". The Observer. Retrieved 2016.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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