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MOVE: Conor Lenihan

MOVE: Conor Lenihan

MOVE: Conor Lenihan

FORMER Minister for Science Conor Lenihan is set to be appointed as a senior advisor to an investment company owned by a Russian billionaire.

Since 2011, Mr Lenihan (50) has been vice-president of the Skolkovo Foundation, a Kremlin-backed technology hub being built in Moscow.

It is understood that Viktor Vekselberg (56), who is among the world's top 100 richest people, will appoint Mr Lenihan as an advisor to his Renova Group investment company.

According to business news agency Bloomberg, two people with knowledge of the situation have confirmed the move, while a spokesman for the group has declined to comment.

PORTFOLIOS

Mr Lenihan was a key member of the last Fianna Fail/Green Party administration and held a number of ministerial portfolios. He met the former minister last year through an acquaintance in Rome after an exhibit of the billionaire's Faberge egg collection in the Vatican.

The foundation was established by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev who was trying to reduce the country's oil dependence and mimic the success of Silicon Valley. Mr Lenihan was hired by Skolkovo to help lure international companies to its campus in Moscow.

Skolkovo's offices were searched by police in April following the alleged misspending of around €80m in state funds. A criminal case into two Skolkovo managers over the alleged theft of around €526,000 was also opened by the police.

Mr Lenihan was present for the raid. However, he is not connected to either case.

Mr Vekselberg sold a 12.5pc stake in a Russian oil venture with BP Plc in March for €5bn.

He told state television that Renova plans to invest 15pc to 20pc of the proceeds in electricity, machinery, industrial, technology and pharmaceuticals.

hnews@herald.ie


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