Getting to know Shnaider

DEAN MCNULTY

, Last Updated: 12:32 PM ET

The question being asked in the hockey world today is: 'Who is this Alex Shnaider?'

Shnaider, who is reported to be interested in buying Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., is a 38-year-old Russian-born, Canadian-raised billionaire who made most of his fortune in the steel business in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union.

His profile in Forbes magazine says Shnaider is the 557th richest man in the world with a net worth of $1.8 billion U.S.

Born in St. Petersburg, Shnaider and his family moved to Israel via Ukraine when he was four years old and wound up in Toronto nine years later.

His family ran a deli in Thornhill where he stocked shelves and mopped floors.

Using investments from family and friends he parlayed western-style electronics such as VCRs into shares in rusting Soviet steel factories while living with his parents and finishing a degree in economics at York University.

He eventually moved to Europe where he began buying steel plants in Russia and Ukraine.

He is also owns a power grid in Armenia; two hotels, a bakery chain and a meat-packing company in Serbia; small interests in Turkey and Israel; and an ornate office building and casino in Moscow's Arbat pedestrian mall. They're all under his holding company, Midland Resources, registered in the British tax haven of Guernsey.

His first foray into international sports came in 2005 when he bought the Formula One Jordan team for $55 million.

Shnaider's Canadian ventures include a partnership with American billionaire Donald Trump to construct a 100-storey condominium hotel in downtown Toronto.

Shnaider is married with three children.


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