Correspondent, New York
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Sep 28, 2012

Russia’s richest man is out to prove a point

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia, is stabbing the air emphatically with his finger.

“With Facebook, people say I took money from the Kremlin,” he declares. “But I invested my own money.”

Sep 28, 2012

Arsenal player sales must stop says Usmanov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – England premier league side Arsenal will not win trophies if they keep selling their best players although manager Arsene Wenger has maintained an atttractive style with a changing squad, Uzbek-born shareholder Alisher Usmanov said.

Arsenal, who have not won any silverware since 2005, lost Dutch striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United (MANU.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) last month for a reported 24 million pounds after Cameroon midfielder Alex Song left for Barcelona in August.

Sep 20, 2012

Profit fall at Russia’s VTB underlines need for capital

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Quarterly earnings at VTB (VTBR.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Russia’s second-biggest bank, dropped 63 percent due to volatile financial markets and foreign exchange losses, underscoring the importance of its plan to issue new shares to bolster capital.

The state-controlled bank’s capital base has been strained by acquisitions and lending growth, and chief executive Andrei Kostin said on Wednesday it was considering a $2 billion share sale next spring after the successful sale of a $5 billion stake in larger rival Sberbank (SBER.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) this week.

Sep 12, 2012

Russia’s Prokhorov in talks to sell $4 bln Polyus stake

MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Russian tycoon Mikhail
Prokhorov’s Onexim group is in talks with two potential buyers
to sell its near-$4 billion stake in the country’s largest gold
miner, Polyus Gold.

The company’s announcement on Wednesday signals the
abandonment by the businessman-turned-politician of his attempt
to use Polyus as a platform for a global merger, as valuations
of gold miners languish at their lowest in 17 years in relation
to rallying gold prices.

Aug 2, 2012

Media magnate Lebedev may sell Russian assets

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Banker and media magnate Alexander Lebedev said on Thursday he could sell his business assets in Russia after coming under pressure from the Kremlin, adding he feared he might be jailed in a criminal case he regards as politically motivated.

Lebedev also said Russia could face a wave of political repression following a series of moves since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency on May 7 that opposition leaders have described as a crackdown on dissent.

Jul 30, 2012

Russian co-owners block TNK-BP dividend

MOSCOW/LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) – BP’s oligarch
co-owners in TNK-BP blocked a $1 billion dividend from
the Russian oil business on Monday, signalling a new low for a
troubled relationship which is heading for divorce.

The decision by the AAR consortium, grouping tycoons Mikhail
Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, comes
after the British oil firm put its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP up
for sale last month.

Jul 24, 2012

Rosneft to talk to BP about buying TNK-BP stake

MOSCOW (Reuters) – State oil company Rosneft (ROSN.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) waded into the dispute between BP and its Russian partners on Tuesday, saying it is in talks to buy half of the troubled venture in a reminder the Kremlin is likely to fire the final shot in the battle.

British oil major BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has said it is seeking to exit its troubled but lucrative investment in Russia’s third-largest oil company, TNK-BP (TNBP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). It formed the 50:50 joint venture with AAR, the consortium representing the tycoons, nearly a decade ago to tap into the country’s vast energy reserves. The group is now estimated to be worth as much as $30 billion.

Jul 24, 2012

Rosneft to enter talks with BP to buy TNK-BP stake

MOSCOW, July 24 (Reuters) – Russian state oil company
Rosneft took centre stage in the dispute over assets
owned jointly by BP and a group of billionaires,
announcing on Tuesday that it is to enter talks to buy the
British oil major’s 50 percent stake in TNK-BP.

Rosneft’s entry into the fray serves as a reminder to BP and
AAR, the consortium representing the tycoons, that the
government is likely to have the final say on the future of the
$60 billion business.

Jul 20, 2012

U.S. private equity fund backs Russia’s bourse

MOSCOW, July 20 (Reuters) – A U.S.-based private equity firm
has invested alongside a Russian state fund in Moscow’s
MICEX-RTS bourse, gaining access to the stock exchange ahead of
an expected IPO, the parties announced on Friday.

It is a rare investment by U.S. private equity into Russia,
typically avoided due to concern about the country’s reputation
for corruption and red tape.

Jul 16, 2012

Russia’s Usmanov combines telecoms assets

MOSCOW, July 16 (Reuters) – Russian billionaire Alisher
Usmanov is increasing his influence in the country’s telecoms
sector by combining his stake in mobile operator MegaFon into a
holding company he controls which will also own state-backed
next-generation operator Scartel.

Usmanov recently secured majority control in MegaFon,
Russia’s No. 2 mobile operator, and the company aims to go
public through a London IPO.