- Elon Musk’s wealth manager quarreled with a new financial adviser on how to manage Musk’s donations.
- Jared Birchall has been working for the world’s richest man for about a decade, WSJ reported.
- Former pro gambler Igor Kurganov impressed the tech mogul despite having no financial experience.
Elon Musk’s wealth manager battled with a former pro gambler who became a top adviser over how to manage the world’s richest man’s billions.
The Wall Street Journal reported on how Musk has been relying on a new adviser, a 34-year-old ex-professional gambler named Igor Kurganov, who hasn’t been welcomed by Musk’s decade-long wealth manager Jared Birchall.
Russian-born Kurganov didn’t have a background in finance or security, but moved to Texas to help put together a security team and manage the Tesla’s CEO’s fortune, per the report. He even spent time at Musk’s house during the pandemic and the pair discussed how the billionaire could use his money for the world’s greater good.
Kurganov had been in talks with nonprofit Explore Mars to potentially donate $600,000 to cover the cost of flying out a group of women with a background in robotics from Afghanistan, but was wary about the cost.
He was trying to work out the expenses, he said in an email seen by the Journal, and was “surprised” at the total cost, given the number of people.
The Musk Foundation donated $23.6 million in 2020, according to its most recent filings.
Chris Carberry, chief executive of Explore Mars, said Kurganov “makes the day-to-day donation decisions,” in another email seen by the Journal. But the move was not supported by Birchall, per the report, as he saw the former poker player as a newcomer who could influence how Musk spends his wealth.
Birchall was concerned that Musk could be subject to an FBI probe as he found out that the agency was looking into Kurganov.
They were uneasy about how he had been brought into Musk’s inner circle so quickly, people familiar with the matter told WSJ, and that led Birchall to cast a watchful eye on Kurganov, but he was not accused of any wrongdoing.
Birchall thought it was not appropriate for the newcomer to have such a key role in how Musk spends his fortune, per the Journal. Birchall asked Musk to terminate Kurganov’s role from the foundation in May, which the tech mogul agreed to do, per the report.
The long-time wealth manager was a key figure at the time in securing the financing for Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter for $44 billion. The Journal was told by a representative that Kurganov’s email address for the Musk Foundation was disconnected around six weeks ago.