A Russian news report says an intelligence agent charged by the U.S. in the hacking of half a billion Yahoo user accounts worked at an investment bank owned by Mikhail Prokhorov..
The report Saturday in the respected business newspaper Kommersant cited a source as saying Igor Sushchin worked for Renaissance Capital as a security director. The newspaper cited Renaissance Capital as saying Sushchin's employment was terminated on Thursday, the day after the U.S. Justice Department announced its case. The report did not say if the company knew he was an intelligence agent.
Prokhorov’s representative in Moscow directed all requests for comments to Renaissance Capital. A spokesman for Renaissance said "the company is not aware of any accusations of criminal wrongdoing in connection with Igor Sushchin’s work within the company. We did not receive any inquiries from any competent authorities regarding the alleged case,having learned about the latter from the media reports.”
The spokesman said Renaissance terminated Sushchin on learning of the charge.
The company, an investment banking firm, was acquired by Prokhorov in the same 2009 buying spree that resulted in his initial purchase of the Nets and Barclays Center. It has had a troubled history, with top brass being replaced more than once and Prokhorov has been trying to sell his interest in the firm, as part of a reported plan to divest most of his Russian assets. According to Bloomberg, he already has more assets in the U.S. than in Russia.
Prokhorov’s relationship with Russian authorities has deteriorated in recent years. In 2012, he ran and lost in the Russian presidential race, gaining 8.8 percent of the vote.
In fact, Renaissance was one of three Prokhorov-owned entities raided last year by Russian security service personnel. The raids came after another Prokhorov-owned company, RBC, has published expose’s of President Vladimir Putin’s finances.
Sushchin and another of the four indicted were identified as officers in Russia's Federal Security Service.
Prokhorov is expected at Sunday’s Nets game in Brooklyn vs. the Mavericks. The Nets owner is attempting to sell a minority interest, up to 49 percent in the team. The NBA would prefer he also sell his interest in Barclays Center to the same investor.,