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From North Pole to the stars: Russia’s thrill-seeking tycoon

Posted November 4, 2013

Other tycoons may plough their millions into yachts or private jets, but Vasily Klyukin prefers a good “adventure”. On his diary for next year? A space trip with Leonardo DiCaprio.


“I don’t want to waste any time—I want to live my life to the full,” the Russian multi-millionaire, newly settled in the mega-rich principality of Monaco, told AFP in an interview.

After a 140-kilometre (86-mile) raft trip, the fresh-faced 37-year-old plans a flight to the North Pole for next April.

“I’ll spend a night there, and then leave again.”

But what really gets him going is the dream of “zero gravity”.

Klyukin paid 1.2 million euros ($1.5 million) at a gala auction at the Cannes Film Festival in May to be travel buddy to Hollywood actor DiCaprio when he heads into space next year aboard the Virgin Galactic.

For a coveted three hours, the Russian, who made his millions in banking and real estate, will get to see Earth from above, along with two pilots and five fellow passengers.

“A journey into space—now that’s the most incredible challenge of my life!” he said.

The sub-orbital trip was among 20 goodies up for grabs at the 20th amfAR bash, which helped raise a record-breaking $25 million for AIDS research.

More than 650 people including A-listers like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have so far booked seats for a minutes-long suborbital flight on the SpaceShipTwo (SS2) set to begin by the end of this year.

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