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Which oligarch will be the next patient?



February 24, 2010 – Comments (0)

This is why I'm keeping my red thumbs on MTL. Last year MTL has barely escaped a visit from Putin's doctor, most likely because of the crisis, but we'll never know how many shares changed hands under the table before Putin called the doctor off. Now the hungry kleptocracy, starved by low oil prices, is looking for the next patient to send the doctor to. If last time it was just one Zyuzin, this time it's 4 oligarchs at once, including #2 on Russia's Forbes list - a measure of just how hungry Putin's officials became when oil stayed below $80 for just one year. My personal take: the writing is on the wall, if oil doesn't go up to $200 and really soon, this regime will start eating its own entrails. 

"Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned power utilities controlled by four billionaires they face fines unless investment commitments made when the assets were acquired from the state are met.... He has the money,” Putin said, referring to Prokhorov, who got about $7 billion in cash when he sold 25 percent of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s biggest miner, to Deripaska in April 2008.

Putin said Potanin, Prokhorov’s former partner, bought OGK- 3 for 81.7 billion rubles and received the same amount from selling new shares.

“He is seeking means to use it, visits different officials, including myself, and still doesn’t fulfill his investment obligations,” Putin said.

Igor Petrov, a spokesman of Prokhorov’s investment company Onexim Group, said he hadn’t seen all of Putin’s remarks and couldn’t immediately comment." 

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