Glimmerings of a return to the bad old days, when governments “nationalized” telecom companies. The end result was pillage by the government flunkies and bad/no service to the public. The Russians are back in this game, but this time through the courts and with a different beneficiary, the local partner oligarch.
Already jittery investors were alarmed on Thursday when a Norwegian cellphone company announced that a Siberian court had seized its multibillion-dollar investment in a Russian joint venture and would turn it over to a company thought to be allied with a Russian oligarch.
The decision signaled an escalation in a long-running dispute between the Norwegian company, Telenor, and the Alfa Group, an alliance of Russian businessmen that was also at the center of a separate fight with the British oil giant BP last summer. That dispute also shook faith in the Russian market.
Russia’s stock market fell on the news of the asset seizure.
Comments are closed.