Author: Bill Browder
The story starts out innocently enough – a smart guy finds his footing in the investment world by stumbling upon Eastern European privatizations after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Then it gets a little more interesting as he must compete with the local Russian “investors” who covet the same assets and play by a different set of rules. These Russians are the oligarchs, and there are other great stories written about how they basically stole Russia in the 90s. (this one is good)
But then things get hairy. As Vladimir Putin brings the oligarchs to heel, his interests are suddenly aligned with theirs. Aligned against the impetuous Western foreigner who keeps trying to extract investment profits from Russia.
And so begins the real story of this book – the story of Russians at their scummiest. A conspiracy born of and shielded by government officials from local police all the way up to President Vladimir Putin. Stealing hundreds of millions of tax revenue from the government, torturing and eventually murdering the mid-level Russian tax lawyer who discovered the fraud, and working tirelessly to ignore all evidence and stand behind the cover-up. Yikes.
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“The federal government on Tuesday raided dozens of locations belonging to doctors and medical equipment companies suspected of taking part in a massive telemarketing scam that targeted Medicare recipients and cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion.” | learn more
The Economist discusses the merits of mini-grids as opposed to full scale government infrastructure projects. This makes a lot of sense to me! |learn more
“In January 2018, Swarm [Technologies] launched the first satellites into space unauthorized by any government. People familiar with the business of launching satellites into space consider the situation odd, troubling and even dangerous: Access to space is supposed to be expensive, difficult and tightly guarded by nations under international treaty obligations.” | learn more
“There exists a little-known, government-sponsored marketing group called Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), whose job it is to squeeze as much milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt as it can into food sold both at home and abroad. Until recently, the “Got Milk?” campaign was its highest-impact success story.” | learn more
Love food trucks? Politicians don’t. “You get somebody sick in Chicago, it’s a $200 fine,” Geller says. “You park too close to a restaurant, it’s $1,000. Those restaurants’ profits are more important than public health? The city of Chicago has said, ‘We’re going to protect brick-and-mortars.’ Why is it that this particular thing needs to be protected? It’s farcical. It’s so outrageous.” | learn more