Vladimir Putin has confirmed that French car maker Renault will invest $450 million in a technology transfer to struggling Avtovaz, as part of a deal in which the Russian government will also offer the Lada manufacturer a $1.7 billion cash injection. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have given the green light to the creation of a united customs union, 92% of whose tariff regime will be based on the one that Russia currently has in place. China, India, Russia and Brazil will apparently have a collective veto over the International Monetary Fund’s use of a $600 billion credit line. Food retailer X5 has posted a profit in the third quarter versus a loss in the same period last year. UK-based travel operator Thomas Cook expects to complete the acquisition of a Russian travel agency by the first quarter of 2010. The Times examines how British peers are helping Russian oligarchs, by apparently doing nothing. Russia’s only female billionaire, property mogul Yelena Baturina, is apparently suing the Sunday Times for libel for saying that she has bought a mansion in London’s Highgate, which, for reasons entirely unclear, ‘damaged her reputation’.