‘The spy who loved VC’

Peter van Dyk Jun 9, 2011
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‘The spy who loved VC’

Peter van Dyk Jun 9, 2011
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JEREMY HOBSON: Remember that Russian spy — Anna Chapman? The red-head who became the face of the Russian spy ring the FBI discovered in New York last year? Well, it appears she’s traded in the shoe phone for a Blackberry.

She’s launching a new venture capital firm to encourage entrepreneurship in Russia, as Peter van Dyk reports from Moscow.


PETER VAN DYK: When spies are uncovered, they tend to return home and quietly disappear back into the shadows. Not Anna Chapman. She’s appeared in a sexy photo shoot and on the catwalk, watched a rocket launch and joined the youth wing of the ruling United Russia party. Now, she says she is going to help young Russian entrepreneurs find investors for high-tech start ups.

Ben Aris, the editor of Business New Europe, says the Kremlin is using her as a marketing tool.

BEN ARIS: She’s a celebrity and that’s about the size of it. I can’t see any serious venture capital investor going in with her.

But within Russia, she is taken more seriously.

ARIS: : Working for the KGB carries a lot more prestige, or at least different connotations than it does in the West. So in that sense she probably has a stronger standing than she does in the West.

The Kremlin is trying everything it can think of to attract investment. If this doesn’t work, the former spy still has her banking job and weekly TV show to fall back on.

In Moscow, I’m Peter van Dyk for Marketplace.

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