Today in Russian Business – Feb 15, 2011

New documents obtained by newspaper Novaya Gazeta have apparently confirmed that Vladimir Kozhin, chief of the Office for Presidential Affairs, approved construction of a $1 billion Black Sea palace rumored to be a residence for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, despite his explicit denial of any link to the project.  In a raid on an illegal gambling operation in Moscow, Federal Security Services claim to have found artworks by Pablo Picasso and Rembrandt as well as documents for offshore companies belonging to self-exiled investor Boris Berezovsky.  As Russia’s privatization drive hits the headlines, A Just Russia has proposed that certain properties be nationalized in the event that the property’s owners are socially ineffective’: examples being accident sites such as Raspadskaya mine and Domodedovo Airport.  Sberbank has paid out almost $34.13 million in bonuses for 2010 amid government debates about how to reward senior management at state-owned lenders.  Russian investors apparently intend to construct a $3 billion nickel smelter on Halmahera Island in eastern Indonesia, indicating their building interest in country’s mineral processing sector.  Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element holding company has started a taxi business using a fleet of cars made by his automaker GAZ.