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Putin's Relative Promises 'Special Protection' for Firm's Foreign Clients

Roman Putin has opened a consulting firm to attract foreign investors to Russia. Anna Zadorozhnaya

Correction appended:

A relative of President Vladimir Putin has opened a consulting firm — Putin Consulting — to attract foreign investors to Russia, offering the "special protection" of his family name and connections.

Roman Putin, whom his company website described as the president's first cousin once removed, promises investors in an online statement to capitalize on his "strong relationships with the country's leadership."

A former officer of the Federal Security Service who has become an entrepreneur, Roman Putin registered the Putin Consulting "brand" in London as "a signal to the international business community that their investments in Russia will be under special protection," a biography on the company website said.

In attracting investors, "he is undoubtedly helped by his 'trademark' family name, which is positively received by the international business, impressed by the achievements of the Russian economy in recent years," a Russian-language text of the biography added.

"Our goal is to facilitate entrance into the Russian market, to minimize the transaction and administrative barriers, and to ensure complex business security," the entrepreneur said in a statement on the Putin Consulting website without elaborating.

"Improvement of the investment climate is under personal control of the president, Vladimir Putin," the statement said.

Roman’s venture follows in the footsteps of another presidential relative’s ventures in business. Vladimir’s cousin Igor Putin has been involved in various business interests. He formerly served as a vice president and member of the board of directors at Master Bank, a midsized Russian bank that collapsed last year. His previous positions also include working as chairman of the Samara Reservoir Factory and on the board of Volga Drilling Machines, AvtoVaz Bank, Russky Zemelnyi Bank and Promstroibank.

Correction: Based on a statement on Roman Putin's Facebook page, an earlier version of this report said Putin Consulting would sign its first deal with Switzerland's former ambassador to Germany Thomas Borer. Borer has contacted The Moscow Times to refute this information.

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