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A left-handed invitation from Russia

A left-handed invitation from Russia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) waves next to Chinese President Hu Jintao during the Victory Day military parade marking the 65th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany on Red Square in Moscow May 9, 2010. UPI | License Photo

MOSCOW, May 26 (UPI) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is courting foreign investment with the pitch that tighter regulations abroad put Russia in a favorable light.

As a financial reform bill comes close to reality in Washington and as European countries contemplate tighter regulations, Medvedev told visiting U.S. fund managers, "We invite all those who suffer at home to come to Russia," the Moscow Times reported Wednesday.

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Medvedev told the 22 visiting financiers in a meeting at his home in Gorki that venture capital in Russia, amounting to $2 billion, was "almost nothing," and that Russia's business environment was done with bureaucratic "teeth gnashing."

Medvedev is battling the "widespread feeling that "there are a thousand ways to steal your money in Russia," said David Kronfeld at JK&B Capital in Chicago.

Bill Browder, founder of Hermitage Capital, also cautioned buyer beware. Hermitage Capital was forced out of Russia in 2005 and one of its lawyers, Sergei Magnitsky, died in prison in 2009, the Times said.

Doing business in Russia is "completely insane," Browder said.

"My advice to these people is to lie down for a half an hour and let the urge pass," he said in a telephone interview.

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