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Rupert Murdoch's new Russian fiancée ties him to a sprawling web of money with some surprising connections

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan   

Rupert Murdoch's new Russian fiancée ties him to a sprawling web of money — with some surprising connections
  • Rupert Murdoch is getting married for the fifth time, and with the union comes some interesting ties.
  • His fiancée, Elena Zhukova, was once married to Alexander Radkin Zhukov, a Russian oligarch.

Rupert Murdoch, 92, is engaged again.

For his fiancée, Elena Zhukova, 67, the engagement stands to add another page to a storied family history and sprawling ties to wealth and power. And with this union comes some new, shared history between Murdoch and a couple of Russian oligarchs, one of whom is thought to be a confidant to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Murdoch announced his engagement to Zhukova on Thursday. The engagement comes about six months after he announced his retirement.

This marriage is set to be Murdoch's fifth and Zhukova's third. The pair met through Murdoch's third wife, Wendi Deng, The Daily Mail previously reported.

Zhukova was previously married to a Russian oligarch, Alexander Radkin Zhukov. In 2001, Zhukov was detained in Italy and spent six months in jail over accusations that he worked with the Russian mafia to smuggle massive caches of arms, The Guardian reported. He denied the charges of arms dealing and hasn't served prison time for them.

The Times reported that Zhukov was now living in London, where he had obtained British citizenship.

Zhukova shares a daughter with Zhukov, Dasha Zhukova. Like her mother, Dasha Zhukova was once married to a Russian oligarch. The art collector and socialite was married to Roman Abramovich from 2008 to 2017. They have two children together.

Abramovich has been closely linked to Putin and is regarded as the Russian leader's backchannel to the West. The billionaire served as an envoy in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine weeks after the full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

Before the Ukraine war, Abramovich owned a vast luxury empire, which included private jets and the superyacht Eclipse. He also owned the Premier League soccer team Chelsea Football Club, which he quickly sold after the war began.

But Abramovich's close ties with Putin meant he was the subject of sanctions by the European Union and the UK. US officials seized two of Abramovich's private jets in June 2022 after a federal judge in New York said the planes had violated export restrictions.

The billionaire links don't stop there.

Dasha Zhukova is now married to Stavros Niarchos, the grandson of a Greek shipping tycoon. They got married in 2020 at a star-studded wedding in Switzerland and have a son together.

Murdoch had a seven-decade career, including founding News Corp. He stepped down as chairman of the company in late 2023.

During a News Corp. earnings call in 2008, Murdoch said the company was selling its stake in an outdoor advertising company in Russia because he didn't want to do business there.

"The more I read about investments in Russia, the less I like the feel of it. The more successful we'd be, the more vulnerable we'd be to have it stolen from us, so there we sell now," Murdoch said then.

Representatives for Murdoch didn't respond to requests for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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