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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

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

4 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.