Vladimir Putin is the widely reviled President of Russia. His litany of human rights abuses, suppression of opposition and geopolitical aggression have made him a true villain on the world stage and put him on the other side of US economic sanctions.
David Bonderman is the founding partner of TPG Capital, a $75 billion PE firm with investments that range across almost every sector of the business world.
Next week, Putin and Bonderman are planning on hanging out, and some people are pretty pissed about it.
The private-equity mogul is planning to attend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that starts June 18 — against the wishes of the White House, which is looking to make sanctions against Russia work, a source close to the situation said.
In fact, before Bonderman attended Putin’s 2014 conference, White House ally Leon Panetta called the PE mogul in an unsuccessful effort to convince him to stay home, Panetta confirmed.
Well hey, business is business right? Politics can't affect everything, and Bonderman can't be the only guy going to St. Petersburg...
This year, the head of the US-Russia Business Council, Alcoa Chairman Klaus Kleinfeld, will not be attending, a source close to Kleinfeld said.
So why is Bonderman risking pissing off veritably everyone to make an appearance at an event hosted by Vladimir Putin?
Bonderman believes if he does not go, it could hurt TPG’s $559 million investment in Russian budget supermarket chain Lenta, a source said. That 38 percent stake is now worth roughly $2 billion.
Da svidaniya, David. Have a safe trip.