Russia’s sovereign debt rating was cut to the lowest investment grade at Standard & Poor’s, which said further downgrades are possible if economic growth deteriorates and the conflict in Ukraine sparks wider sanctions.
S&P cut Russia’s rating one step to BBB-, it said in a statement today. The grade, on par with Brazil and Azerbaijan, has a negative outlook. S&P last downgraded Russia in December 2008. Russia’s currency and bonds fell….
The downgrade was expected by investors and won’t significantly change their behavior, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters today.
OK, fine, probably not. But how about this?
The United States on Monday imposed additional sanctions against Russian government officials and companies deemed close to President Vladimir V. Putin, accusing Moscow of failing to live up to its agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.
The Obama administration ordered travel bans and asset freezes for seven Russian officials, including two said to be in Mr. Putin’s inner circle, and froze assets for 17 companies. Thirteen Russian companies will face additional restrictions as the government will cut off the export or re-export of American-made products to them.
And just wait until we find this; it’ll really show’em.
For years, the suspicion that Mr. Putin has a secret fortune has intrigued scholars, industry analysts, opposition figures, journalists and intelligence agencies but defied their efforts to uncover it. Numbers are thrown around suggesting that Mr. Putin may control $40 billion or even $70 billion, in theory making him the richest head of state in world history.
For all the rumors and speculation, though, there has been little if any hard evidence....
Mr. Obama’s response to the Ukraine crisis, while derided by critics as slow and weak, has reinvigorated a 15-year global hunt for Mr. Putin’s hidden wealth.