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Today in Russian Business – April 6, 2011

The government is denying that it drew up a wish-list of corporate stars to take up board chairmanships: ‘This is all just gossip. The struggle for these seats has not started yet.‘  The list, published by Kommersant, included investment bankers and professional directors.  Andrei Borodin, the president of Bank of Moscow, has left the country for ‘health‘ reasons, leading to speculation that he may not be coming back, as he is wanted on fraud charges relating to a $460 billion dollar loan to Yelena Baturina.  Borodin says he will returnas soon as my health permits me to‘.  Former Kremlin official Andrei Voronin has just been sentenced to three years in prison for fraud.  Nomos bank is the latest Russian company to prepare for a London listing.  Sponsorship deals with Alrosa and Gazprom have both fallen through for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but $200 million will still be sought through other contracts.  On two foreign pharmaceutical firms – AstraZeneca and UCB Pharma – and their deals with Russian companies.  Rostelecom has completed its merger with Svyazinvest, and is plotting its next moves.  The luxury market is slowly making its comeback.  The Moscow Tax Service has been raided as part of an investigation into ES-Kotraktstroi’s attempted $70.7 million theft.  Jamison Firestone says that Viktor Markelov is being compensated by the government ‘roughly at the rate of $1m for every three months he is held in custody‘ for his complicity in a cover-up.  William Browder writes on the lack of safety for Russian workers and protection of property rights.  Vneshekonombank is setting up a new fund to attract foreign investment: ‘Investors are ready to come only on [the] condition the government shares the risks with them.‘  Belgian companies are interested in investing in the Skolkovo business center, says Prince Philippe.  Under a new bill being drawn up, foreign firms could buy strategic assets without government permission, but would not be able to do so anonymously.