Chris Swann is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist, based in New York. He writes about hedge funds, commodities and asset management. He joined from Bloomberg News, where he covered global poverty issues and the International Monetary Fund. From 1997 to 2006 Chris was a reporter at the Financial Times in a variety of roles including currency correspondent, economics reporter and columnist on Lex. He has a first-class degree in History from Oxford University, and has also studied piano performance at the University of Michigan and International Relations at Cambridge.
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The Russian president’s belligerence drew U.S. sanctions that could squelch the oil giant’s $700 mln Arctic drilling venture. That may deprive the company of a shot at a gusher down the road. For now, though, it’s a chance to make needed cost cuts – and delay a risky project.
Prosecutors have accused the fallen energy tycoon of insider trading and are trying to freeze his assets. A conviction would be a first. The case could just as easily expose the country’s legal shortcomings. That presents an opportunity to make good use of the Batista fiasco.
Grupo Aval wants to raise $1.1 bln on the NYSE. It earns better returns than most U.S. banks and operates in Latin America’s fastest-growing economy. But dual-class shares give its founder near-total control. And the lender’s using the proceeds to boost capital, sapping earnings.
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