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Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the Security Council meeting in Moscow. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Yuri Milner, a Russian venture capitalist, made investments in Facebook and Twitter while they were still private with the help of funds linked to Russia's government, according to documents obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and several news outlets.

  • Facebook: Gazprom Investholding, a subsidiary of the Kremlin-controlled natural gas company, provided funds to an offshore investment company, which in turn partnered with DST Global for its Facebook investment in 2009. DST has since sold its stake in the social network.
  • Twitter: Russian state-controlled bank VTB poured $191 million into one of DST's funds, which helped purchase a stake in Twitter in 2011. DST has since sold its stake.

Thought bubble: There's no doubt that this revelation is bad news for the social media companies as they face questions from Congress over Russia's influence over last year's U.S. presidential elections. And both VTB and Gazprom's parent company are under U.S. sanctions. However, as the ICIJ and partner media outlets note, there's no evidence that DST helped the Russian government gain influence over the social media companies.

Update: DST Global issued a long statement following the publication of the investigation. Read it in the New York Times.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens in Atlanta, Georgia, late Tuesday. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov. 25. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).