Business in Brief

Ford Adds New SUV to Local Range

Ford Sollers, a joint venture between U.S. automaker Ford Motors and Russian carmaker Sollers, is adding a new SUV model to its range to meet growing local demand.

Production of the Edge model will start at the Ford Sollers plant in Elabuga in Tatarstan early next year, Ford said Monday.

The venture, formed in late 2011, already makes the Kuga, Explorer, S-MAX, Galaxy, Transit, Tourneo Custom, Focus and Mondeo models in Russia.

Ford said in May that it would also start to build EcoSport SUVs in the country in 2014 at a second plant in Tatarstan in Naberezhniye Chelny.

Ford Sollers also has a plant near St Petersburg. (Reuters)

5,000 Ruble Banknote Counterfeiters Caught

Police have busted a gang responsible for flooding the country's ATMs with forged cash, forcing some of the country's biggest banks to stop accepting certain banknotes.

After photo-fit images taken from surveillance cameras installed in the ATMs were circulated nationwide, the suspects — seven Uzbekistan nationals aged between 22 and 32 — were busted in St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport, Kommersant reported Tuesday. They offered no resistance.

The forgers printed 5,000-ruble ($155) banknotes, the biggest denomination available, on a regular printer using paper without watermarks, an Interior Ministry spokesman said Monday.

But the notes copied all the other anti-counterfeit marks that ATMs check for, he said.

The group loaded the ATMs with fake cash and then withdrew real money, taking a total of 8.5 million rubles ($263,000) within two weeks. (RIA Novosti)

Russia's First French Mistral-class Warship Launched

SAINT-NAZAIRE — A French shipyard floated out Tuesday the first of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships being built for the Russian Navy.

The ship, named Vladivostok, being built at the DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, is expected to start sea trials in March next year.

"The ship will be handed over unarmed, but equipped with French-made landing equipment," DCNS program manager Yves Destefanis said at the launch ceremony. It will be fitted with Russian-made weapons systems later, he added.

The vessel will receive its additional Russian systems at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg, and then be handed over to Russia's Pacific Fleet in November 2014.

Russia and France signed the 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) contract for two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. (RIA Novosti)