Elon Musk’s inner circle shaken by over $230 billion. How?:- Musk was increasingly relying on a new mentor, a 34-year-old, Russian-born ex-professional gambler named Igor Kurganov.
n In late 2021, Elon Musk was surrounded by a man in his innermost circle, Jared Birchall. It was about the money – Musk’s money to be exact – and how the richest man in the world was choosing to spend a big chunk of it.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, 48-year-old wealth manager Birchall, who became Musk’s top deputy and head of his family office, was concerned about a new power player in the Tesla CEO’s orbit.
Musk was increasingly relying on a new advisor, a 34-year-old, ex-professional gambler of Russian origin named Igor Kurganov.
Musk and Kurganov talked late into the night about how the world’s richest man could use his fortune to help shape the planet through a strategy known as “effective altruism,” when the latter There was some epidemic sleeping in Musk’s house.
Kurganov had no experience in finance or security but was suddenly a central figure in both fields for Musk. Shortly after, the Tesla CEO told Birchall that he was so impressed by the young man’s ideas that he wanted to leave him in charge of his charitable charity, spurring funds from Musk’s vast personal fortune, currently approx. $230 billion, as he saw fit.
“Elon,” Birchall said to his boss, according to three people later informed. “you could not.”
The conflict between the two men, and their dueling attempts to gain the upper hand with Musk, offer a glimpse into the often turbulent private workings of Musk’s inner circle.
Last winter, Musk struck a deal between the two. He allowed Kurganov to oversee $5.7 billion in Tesla shares, which the CEO promised to donate at the end of last year. The rest of Musk’s fate rested within Birchall’s realm. However, this decision was not the end of the feud.
Although Musk is best known for supporting his own lawyer, the man in charge of his foundation since 2016 has been Birchall, the longest-standing figure in his inner circle.
Kurganov first became socially friendly with Musk. Born in Russia but raised in Germany from the age of four, he gained a reputation as a professional poker player.
Until last August, two years after retiring from poker, Kurganov had an official email address at the Musk Foundation and was heavily involved in charity.
That month, he corresponded with Chris Carberry, CEO of the nonprofit Explore Mars. The group wanted to raise $600,000 to get the robotics team of Afghan girls out of the war-torn country. Kurganov was skeptical about the cost.
For Birchall, it was an unsettling situation. He was legally head of the foundation, and as he saw it, Kurganov was a newcomer who suddenly had a great influence on what to do with Musk’s money, he told People.
People familiar with the matter told The Journal that Birchall also learned that a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent had begun preliminary inquiries into Kurganov as part of his job to look into foreign interference in US companies.
Birchall, concerned that Musk might be implicated in a federal investigation, this spring again pressed his internal case against Kurganov, people familiar with the matter said.
During this period, Birchall helped raise billions of dollars in funding and spoke to shareholders and investors on Musk’s behalf about the future of Twitter.
In May, Birchl asked Musk to remove Kurganov from his position at the foundation. Musk agreed to let Kurganov go, the foundation representative said, adding that none of Musk’s money was ultimately spent on projects related to effective philanthropy.
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