October 26, 2010 2:47 am

Testing Russian charm in the City

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Yuri Milner, Mail.ru chairman©Getty

Yuri Milner was among the first post-Soviet Russians to enrol at Wharton Business School

Yuri Milner, Mail.ru chairman

Yuri Milner, chairman of Mail.ru – who has managed to charm everyone from the admission dean of Wharton Business School to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – will test his skills on City fund managers ahead of the Russian internet group’s float next month.

The 48-year-old lives in Moscow and London but travels often to Silicon Valley, where he has become a leading investor in US online groups.

Mr Milner, who studied physics at Moscow University, left Russia for the US in 1990 and was among the first post-Soviet Russians to enrol at Wharton.

He worked briefly at the World Bank but returned to Russia and joined Bank Menatep, founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Menatep went bust following Russia’s financial crisis and Mr Khodorkovsky was jailed, but Mr Milner fared better, teaming up with New Century Holdings-veteran Gregory Finger to found e-mail portal Mail.ru.

The two survived the dotcom crash, restructuring the website and firing most of the staff, and eventually in 2005 launched Digital Sky Technologies, which went on to invest in Facebook and US site Groupon.

The father of two reads to relax, although the books tend to be on business.

people@ft.com

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