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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Financier 'Unlikely' To Bid on Rosneft




U.S. billionaire George Soros, in Moscow on a fact-finding mission set to last through Oct. 20, said Tuesday that he is doubtful he would bid on state oil company Rosneft.


Pundits have speculated that Soros might team up with the powerful Uneximbank to bid on the oil company. Soros allied with Uneximbank earlier this year, putting up $980 million of a $1.87 billion winning bid for 25 percent stake of Russia's telecommunications giant Svyazinvest.


But speaking on NTV's "Hero of the Day" program, Soros said it was "very unlikely" he would bid on Rosneft.


The financier has been under fire of late, with Belarussian tax authorities effectively driving his philanthropic organization from that country and Malaysian authorities accusing him of causing a currency crisis in their country.


Asked Tuesday if he would speculate on the ruble, Soros said: "Not likely. Now I've become such an important figure in the financial markets that if I start doing things like selling the ruble, then the whole market would follow me, and that would have a bad effect.


"It's more important for Russia to succeed," he said.


Analysts said Soros' current trip likely is aimed at boosting his image in Russia, where he has long been viewed with suspicion.


"Of course, he wants to maintain a good image here, since people are constantly saying he's an agent of influence for the West trying to penetrate Russia," said Yevgeny Volk, Moscow director of the Heritage Foundation, a U.S.-based conservative think tank.


Soros said earlier Tuesday that he started to invest in Russia despite himself -- overcoming his initial reluctance -- because of the need to provide funds for the cash-starved Russian economy.


"You can't have capitalism without capital, and there's not enough capital in Russia," he told NTV, according to Agence France Presse. "Because of that, I overcame my reluctance to combine investment with philanthropy."


Analysts said Soros' trip to Moscow will likely hit on a range of topics.


"It's a multipurpose trip," Volk said. "As always with him, it has a lot of specific business, public policy and political connections."


"This is more entertainment rather than practical," said one head of research at a Moscow investment bank. "If he wanted to come to Russia just to do deals -- he could do that in New York. He doesn't need to come here."