Today in Russian Business – Aug 19, 2008

Following RusAl’s criticism of Norilsk Nickel’s environmental record, an official who granted Norilsk a permit to emit polluting gases is being investigated over possible abuse of office. Russian nickel producer Industrial Metallurgical Holding is considering reducing output due to a drop in nickel prices. Alexey Mordashov has raised his share in Power Machines to 63% and split his holdings between three offshore companies. Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has denied French media reports he had bought the world’s most expensive home. Tensions with Russia could put debt refinancing at Ukraine’s highly leveraged banks at risk. Russian industrial output was weaker than expected in July: “The July figures are unpleasant. They suggest that June wasn’t the only bad month.” Russian exchange group Micex has reported a 58% rise in volume in the first six months of the year. Basic Element‘s small aluminum maker Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica, an investment in Montenegro, is reportedly losing money.