Information in Russia: ‘It’s All Gray’

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Rumors abound that Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov (of Onexim and Norilsk Nickel fame) is planning to buy a large stake in America’s National Basketball Association.  But with the hazy state of Russian bank records, coupled with the NBA’s stringent vetting process, chance would be a fine thing.  From the New York Times:

[…] experts in the oligarchy and corporate risk-management said it would not be easy because public records from Prokhorov’s world are scarce or incomplete, Russian bank records are difficult to examine, and news media reports are not always reliable.

Mike Ackerman, a former C.I.A. senior operations officer who is the president of the Ackerman Group, a security firm, said the league would have to accept a certain amount of ambiguity in order to approve Prokhorov.

“When we vet Russian joint-venture partners for our clients, I tell them there is no black and white in Russia, it’s all gray,” he said. “Information can be had, but you have to be prepared to accept the grayness.”

(Picture: Rob Cottingham)