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Financial Times: Seasoned greetings

By Maggie Urry
Published: January 16 2007

A late Christmas card – late even by the Russian calendar – turns up from the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, which runs the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project.

Christmas must have been a pretty glum affair there, with Vladimir Putin playing the Grinch role just before the holidays, strong-arming Shell and the two Japanese shareholders out of half their holdings.

Illegal logging was one of the suspiciously convenient charges levelled against the project as the Kremlin was making its move, so it was plucky of the company to use a picture of a snow-covered pine on its card. But surely the tree should have been felled and lying on its side.

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