WASHINGTON (AP) — A $10 billion investment fund backed by the Russian government that has avoided being targeted by U.S. economic sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine redesigned its website Tuesday and made it more difficult to find names of prominent U.S. and European executives on its international advisory board.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund had touted the names and biographical profiles of three prominent American businessmen and other executives on its website, which The Associated Press cited in a story last week about the fund and its operations. Web links to information about the fund's advisers have since been removed.
Last week, the name of one fund adviser, Kurt Bjorkland, a leader of European investment firm Permira, was quietly removed from the RDIF website after he had left the board. Asked Tuesday if other advisers had left the board, fund spokeswoman Maria Medvedeva told the AP that had been no other changes.
The Russian fund was created under President Vladimir Putin to raise capital for investments aiding the country's industries and other commercial projects. It has so far avoided growing U.S. financial sanctions tied to the Ukraine conflict, even though a sanctioned Russian bank funds it and a sanctioned Putin aide serves on its supervisory board.
The fund's separate international advisory board includes Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group LP, Leon Black of Apollo Global Management LLC and David Bonderman of TPG Capital LP. Representatives of all three businessmen have declined to discuss their involvement with the fund.
Medvedeva said the international advisory board group meets once annually "to offer insight into the current market environment" and plays no part in the fund's operational or strategic activities. Asked about the website redesign, she said, "We have not terminated the page."
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