Russian Billionaire's Plans May Hold Up Chrysler Purchase

By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2007 12:37 PM CDT
Russian Billionaire's Plans May Hold Up Chrysler Purchase
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who owns Russia's Basic Element conglomerate, is seen at a news conference in Moscow, in this Oct. 9, 2006 file photo. Basic Element has agreed to pay US$1.54 billion (euro 1.13 billion) for a large stake in auto parts maker Magna International, the companies announced...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – A Russian billionaire with possible mob ties plans to buy a major stake in the company that aims to purchase Chrysler. If aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska  does buy the $1.54 billion stake in Magna International, the cash will come in handy for the Chrysler deal. But Oleg's shady past may raise flags for regulators, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The U.S. revoked Mr. Deripaska's visa last year over concerns about his possible involvement with organized crime. Chrysler sometimes works with the military, so the deal may be scrutinized by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US. Meanwhile, Don Walker, CEO of Magna, stands by Deripaska: "He's a professional, upstanding businessman." (Read more Chrysler stories.)

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