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Today in Russian Business – March 16, 2010

The ruble is expected to strengthen between 18-20% over the next three years, which Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach fears may have a deleterious effect on the economy.  The head of a U.S. anti-bribery group has told Reuters that extortion in Russia is so monumental that some Western multinationals are considering pulling out all together.  Hermitage Capital’s legal opponents have allegedly redoubled their attempts to eradicate evidence that may unmask the culprits behind one of the country’s biggest tax frauds.  Read about the success of the cash-for-clunkers scheme, aided by aggressive government marketing, here.  2009 was reportedly the worst year in 38 years for the country’s auto industry, according to an Avtostat report.  Aluminum tycoon Lev Chernoi has apparently turned his hand to the property business with a $522 million investment in an apartment and hotel complex.  JP Morgan has headhunted Yan Tavrovsky from Morgan Stanley to be the head of investment banking for Russia and Ukraine.  Metals magnate and NBA team owner Mikhail Prokhorov will, via his Onexim Group, fund the Kremlin-backed Seliger 2010 youth forum.  Why the billionaire has been seen suggesting Russia buy Greece.