Today in Russian Business – Dec 14, 2011

‘Call it the Putin sell-off’: Reuters reports on how shares in companies linked to Vladimir Putin have sold off hardest as political risk mounts following this month’s parliamentary election.  The business world gives its take on billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s bid for the presidency, thanks to the Moscow Times.  Whilst the chairman of Evraz, Alexander Abramov, has acknowledged the ‘advantages’ of a merger with Severstal, analysts are apparently unconvinced that such a deal will be made on the basis of shareholder objections.  Even Washington’s most committed pro-traders are apparently concerned about accepting Russia into the WTO, as a result of the country’s stance on human rights and Moscow’s relationship with Tehran, says Reuters.  In one of the most significant criminal probes of a Russian official outside Russia, German prosecutors have indicted five men, including four German banking executives, on charges of laundering $150 million for a former Russian telecommunications minister.  As of 2012, public companies in Russia will begin using International Financial Reporting Standards and publish their accounts on this basis in 2013.  Serbia and Russia have entered final negotiations for a $800 million loan to modernize the Balkan state’s superannuated rail network.