Katerina Tikhonova, supposedly Vladimir Putin’s younger daughter, is reportedly in business with the mining company Nornickel. According to a new report by the BBC’s Russian-language service, the National Intellectual Development Foundation (where Tikhonova works as director) joined a joint investment project with Nornickel in late September, becoming co-founders of the “Innovative Engineering Center,” an independent nonprofit organization. The website The Bell previously estimated that the costs of this venture are 1.05 billion rubles (more than $16 million). Both Nornickel and the National Intellectual Development Foundation have refused to comment on the rumors.
Executives at the Innovative Engineering Center have said the organization’s goal is to become a leading integrator of process engineering across Russia. According to The Bell, Tikhonova’s foundation wants to create a “belt” of 1,000 high-tech companies around the country’s top technical universities.
Nornickel’s sudden willingness to spare some cash for Tikhonova’s initiative follows a rejected proposal by Kremlin adviser Andrey Belousov, who suggested in August that Russia’s metallurgical and chemical companies could pay an additional 513 billion rubles ($7.8 billion) in taxes. In the end, instead of facing new taxes on windfall revenues, the industry was presented with a list from the government suggesting new investment projects.