The Business On... John Fredriksen, Shipping magnate


Should I know him?

He'd rather you didn't. Mr Fredriksen is one of those businessmen who is routinely described as a "secretive billionaire". Aged 67, Mr Fredriksen is a shipping magnate with a fortune Forbes puts at $10.7bn. He rarely speaks publicly and friends and colleagues safeguard his privacy. Still, you may be about to hear a lot more about him.



Why's that?

Regulators in the US are cracking down on what they regard as oil price manipulation. As part of that, they've just sued two trading firms owned by Mr Fredriksen. The allegation is that they made $50m by buying up so much oil that the markets began to think there was a shortage of supplies, driving the price up.



What does Mr Fredriksen say?

He calls the allegations "rubbish" and suggests the US authorities are interested in picking up some cheap publicity. "This is Obama having a go," he told a Norwegian paper yesterday.



Will the charges stick?

We'll have to see the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's evidence. But Mr Fredriksen, nicknamed "Big Wolf" in the shipping business, is a veteran of battles with the authorities. His run-ins with them go back to the Eighties when he had a lengthy legal fight in Norway over claims about his companies' activities.



What's his story?

He's a self-made man. The son of a welder, he grew up in Oslo and went to work for a shipping broker. Aged 27, he started out on his own and then made a fortune shipping oil during the Iran-Iraq wars in the Eighties. His businesses have carried on expanding ever since, with one analyst describing him as a "modern-day Onassis" – though actually, his fleet of tankers is now much bigger than the famous Greek tycoon's empire.



Anything else?

He gave up his Norwegian citizenship a few years ago and is now a Cypriot passport holder. Based in London, he's a big football fan who was once linked with a bid for Spurs. A widower, he has twin 27-year-old daughters who are said to be increasingly involved in his business.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders