Today in Russian Business – Dec 23, 2010

Funds garnered ‘mainly through a combination of corruption, bribery and theft’, paid for Putin’s sprawling Black Sea palace, a whistle-blower tells David Ignatius in the Washington Post.  Someone from the Prime Minister’s coterie looks set to benefit from traffic-improvement systems in the capital, this Moscow Times report suggests.  The Economist considers why Russian railways chief Vladimir Yakunin is funnelling money to Estonia’s Center Party.  Good news for state lender Sberbank, which expects to make a record-high net profit of at least 160 billion rubles in 2010.  Dmitry Medvedev’s envoy to Africa, Alexei Vasiliev, says that Russia expects South Africa to join its BRIC alliance as early as next year.  For details on Russian business interests in Africa and Asia, see a new report examined by the Moscow Times.  Why Mobile TeleSystems may lose $585 million in profit.