Saturday 17 February 2018

Russian agency will keep going as funds probe under way

Conor Lenihan: vice-president is not involved in the case
Conor Lenihan: vice-president is not involved in the case
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE Russian agency at the centre of an investigation into the alleged misuse of government funds will continue to operate as normal even as the probe continues, according to the project's vice-president Conor Lenihan.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Lenihan said the Skolkovo Foundation, which is tasked with building a technology centre in Moscow, had been a "clear success".

"This project is a clear success with 30-plus global corporations choosing to invest, as well as nearly 1,000 ambitious Russian start-up companies.

"My view is that this flagship technology project Skolkovo is strongly supported and President Putin has indicated his own personal support in recent weeks," he added.

The former Fianna Fail minister is tasked with attracting international investment into the development, in a manner similar to the IDA in Ireland.

Mr Lenihan's comments come as Russian investigators continue a criminal investigation against a senior foundation official, accusing him of using public funds to finance an opposition group.

The official allegedly embezzled $750,000 (€560,000) and used the money to pay an opposition politician for a series of lectures and research projects.

According to press reports from Russia, last month the billionaire businessman Viktor Vekselberg, who is executive chairman of the foundation, was questioned by authorities.

Modernisation

Mr Lenihan is not involved in the case and has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The foundation was set up during the 2008-2012 presidency of Dmitry Medvedev as part of his much-touted modernisation attempt to wean his country's economy off its enormous reliance on oil and gas reserves for prosperity.

Several of the world's biggest tech firms have opened or plan to open offices in Moscow as part of Skolkovo, including Microsoft, Cisco and IBM.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business