The U.S. Treasury has added a bunch of entities to its Russia sanctions list, including a sovereign wealth fund that used to be connected to some pretty high-profile U.S. billionaires.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assistance Control on Thursday added The Russian Direct Investment Fund to the list, along with a number of entities linked to energy giant Rosneft and bank Vnesheconombank.
Private equity moguls Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone, David Bonderman of TPG, and Leon Black of Apollo Global Management all served as board members for RDIF when it was established in 2011, according to a press release at the time.
At some point, those names were removed from the RDIF website.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the investors’ names had disappeared from the site in September 2014, but said that they still served on the board at that time. There are currently no names listed on the international advisory board on RDIF’s website.
Back in 2011, each board member issued statements about joining the board. Here are some highlights:
“We believe there are many attractive investment opportunities in Russia — the RDIF will provide the strong and experienced local partnership needed for investors to realise those opportunities.” — David Bonderman
“Russia has strong fundamentals that will continue to fuel its growth trajectory and offer attractive investment opportunities. We believe the Russia Direct Investment Fund will help further align U.S. and Russian objectives in terms of identifying paths toward partnership in the private sector.” — Leon Black
“It’s always good to have friends when you are going to a place that you are not as familiar with.” — Stephen Schwarzman
Bonderman has spoken publicly about investing in the country in recent months, telling an audience at the Milken Global Conference this year that the Russian market remains attractive, according to a report by CNN Money.
He is quoted as saying: “Sanctions are perfectly set up not to work at all but to make a political statement.”
Spokespeople for Blackstone and TPG declined to comment. We have reached out to Apollo and the RDIF for comment and will update if we hear back.
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