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U.S. Law enforcers Against the sale of ICQ to Russian DST

U.S. Law enforcers against sell of ICQ

OK, Let's do something stupid to setback the progress we have made with Russia by not building trust.

Law enforcers in the U.S. see a deal between AOL and DST Digital Sky Technologies, in which Russian investors would obtain the instant messaging service ICQ, as threat to security of the country. U.S. officials believe that such a purchase would prevent them to control the correspondence of criminals. 

American entities responsible for combating cyber crime are highly concerned over an acquisition of ICQ instant messaging service for $ 187.5 million Russian investment fund Digital Sky Technologies (DST), gaining their stake in its Internet assets, reports the British Financial Times (FT).

According to the publication, U.S. law enforcers say ICQ (the most popular instant messenger in Russia, Germany and the Czech Republic), one of the main channels of communication between criminal groups in Eastern Europe, some of whom have never met each other.

After purchasing, ICQ in 1998, by the U.S. AOL for $ 400 million, the headquarters of the acquired company has remained in Israel. With colleagues in this friendly country Americans had no problems in cases where their law-enforcers had to gain access to the ICQ-correspondence of suspects. Now, their concern is the fact that servers can physically be transported to Russia, where Western intelligence agencies would be much harder to achieve such cooperation.

These considerations came to the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) – a group of experts at the U.S. Treasury. The Committee may recommend to block the deal (or modify its terms) for reasons related to national security, said sources familiar with the situation FT. The group includes representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Homeland Security.

Committee on Foreign Investment can recommend that the United States to block a deal between AOL and DST from buying ICQ.

Other sources of publications in the CFIUS believe that the committee would not block a deal. According to the existing order in the group has 30 days after receipt of information about buying companies, during which CFIUS must make it clear that it intends to study the deal further. According FT Alexander Tamas(Alexander Tamas), partnet DST in London, from 28 April, when it was announced of the purchase, it has been more than 30 days, but no warning was received. AOL, as well as U.S. Treasury, declined to comment.

Note that the investment fund DST owns controlling interests in Mail.ru and Odnoklassniki.ru “blocking stake of social networking” VKontakte and companies OE Investments (operates a network of payment terminals Qiwi), a few percent of network Facebook, as well as shares in the Producer social games Zynga and other projects. Fund shareholders are entrepreneurs Yuri Milner, Gregory Finger and Usmanov. In April of 2010 that invests in DST $ 300 million announced China’s Tencent Holdings.


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