Business in Brief

Graft Watchdog Opposed



Audit Chamber chief Sergei Stepashin opposes the creation of a government anti-corruption agency, a stance that may put him at odds with President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, Interfax reported Monday.

Stepashin, a former prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin, said creating a special agency for corruption would be a "road to nowhere" and "dangerous," Interfax said.

If existing government bodies aren't coping, "they need a change of staff," Stepashin told the Federation Council. (Bloomberg)




Nabiullina on EBRD Board



President Vladimir Putin appointed Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina to represent Russia on the EBRD's board of governors, the Kremlin press service said Monday.

Russia holds a 4 percent stake in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and is its largest country of operation. Nabiullina will replace German Gref, who left the government last year. (Reuters)




Transport Upgrade Cost



Russia must spend about 4.8 percent of gross domestic product to upgrade its transportation infrastructure, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday.

The government will contribute less than a half of this "gigantic amount," as much as 2.2 percent of GDP, Ivanov said during a meeting at the Transportation Ministry, in comments posted on the government's web site.

Crumbling roads cost Russia's economy 1.8 trillion rubles ($73 billion) every year, or about 3 percent of GDP, Ivanov said Feb. 13. (Bloomberg)




Russia's Egypt Atomic Bid



Russia will be allowed to bid in a tender to build Egypt's first nuclear power plant after the two countries sign an accord today on atomic energy cooperation, Interfax said, citing the Egyptian ambassador in Moscow.

Egypt has a "good impression" of Russian nuclear technology, Ambassador Ezzat Saad said.

Egypt will hold the tender to build the plant in the next few months. Egypt has signed an accord on nuclear cooperation with 10 other countries. (Bloomberg)




More Trust in Banks



Russians' trust in the country's banking system has increased in the last three years as steady economic growth, now in its 10th year, begins to erase memories of financial turmoil in the 1990s.

Thirty-eight percent of Russians "generally trust" the country's banks, up from 22 percent three years ago, a new poll showed.

Nearly as many respondents, 32 percent, said they "generally distrust" Russia's banks, while 30 percent were undecided, according to the poll, released Monday by VTsIOM. (Bloomberg)




Mordashov Backs TUI Split



TUI investor Alexei Mordashov said he supports the company's decision to spin off its shipping unit and focus on tourism.

Mordashov's S-Group Capital Management, which owns 5 percent of TUI, "fully endorses the decision," S-Group said Monday in an e-mailed statement.

TUI, Europe's largest travel operator, said this month that it would separate its Hapag-Lloyd shipping line after investors asked for the split. (Bloomberg)