The transparency of the Skolkovo business center is cautiously praised in the FT today as a new start for business and technology; but behind the shiny façade of this new leaf in Russian business, murky dealings and takeovers continue. John Bonar at BSR Russia is calling out President Dmitry Medvedev’s assertion last month that ‘reproaches of the Russian judicial system are rarely heard’ with a couple of financial case studies to throw even the steeliest investor confidence. Bonar cites recent dodgy dealings at budget airline Avianova, and Alliance Business Centre: the former apparently having barred its chief executive following a new appointment; the latter being the subject of a ‘strong-arm takeover’ by its landlord.
Launched in 2007 by Irish accountant Patrick O’Dolan who has 19 years entrepreneurial experience in Moscow, the business has now been usurped by the landlord, JSC Omricon.
O’Dolan has told his expat clients. “My business has been stolen from me by one of Moscow’s major property owners and this is a very common way for this property owner to do business.
“This was very common in the late 90’s and appears to be happening again this year. There have been a number of reports in the papers in recent months of corporate raiders.”
O’Dolan, who has always operated without local partners in Russia, admits his mistake was to forget that “my landlord in reality becomes my Russian Partner”.
Read the details here.