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The US sanctions that have crippled Oleg Deripaska’s London-listed holding company EN+ are starting to look like they have real bite. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea and Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election have provoked an aggressive legal response from the US, with the aim of ostracising the circle of oligarchs who surround the Russian president.
By contrast, the UK capital has blithely sailed with the prevailing winds, writes John Gapper in his column. The City of London’s behaviour, in first endorsing Russian money and then disowning it, is craven. When Russian owners realised they could gain higher valuations by listing assets globally, there was a rush of business to the City, John says. Sixty-seven of the Russian IPOs from 2005 to 2014 came to the London market, leaving New York in its slipstream.
The City’s blind pursuit of investment is not new. Back in 1875, Anthony Trollope was writing about unscrupulous actors buying expensive London property during the City’s dalliance with the emerging markets of the time — the Americas. Even in the recent scramble to retrench and expel Russian diplomats, the UK has imposed limited financial sanctions. It has been left to the US Treasury, John argues, to strike the real blow.
Secrets of success
Effective politicians and media barons have two skills in common — an ability to harvest resentment and an allergy to squeamishness, Edward Luce observes. Donald Trump understands the connection all too well, as does his friend Rupert Murdoch. When the two first met in 1976, it was the beginning of a symbiotic relationship: Mr Trump’s antics helped sell newspapers and in return Mr Murdoch made him famous. But the fable of the media mogul and the property tycoon is yet to be concluded.
Damned by DNA
The arrest of a man in California suspected of committing multiple rapes and murders in the 1970s and 1980s has raised the question of how many crimes might be solved using freely available DNA records, writes Anjana Ahuja. The case had been closed for years before a sample of the killer’s DNA was uploaded to a genealogy website. Police tracked down their suspect through distant relatives using family trees. But it is also a reminder that all sorts of information about your relatives can be unwittingly exposed when you post your DNA information to a website.
Deal or no deal
This week, Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his theatrical warnings about Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. It seems clear, argues Roula Khalaf, that the Israeli prime minister had one audience in mind: Mr Trump. With two weeks left until the US president decides whether to preserve 2015’s historic nuclear deal with Iran, the race to influence Mr Trump is accelerating. The European partners in the deal want it saved. Israel and the Gulf states would rather see it perish. Both sides are on a seduction mission.
Best of the rest
Will Donald Trump Plead the Fifth? — Jeffery Toobin in The New Yorker
Why replacing politicians with experts is a bad idea — David Runciman for the Guardian Long Read
As an EU citizen, I can no longer bring myself to vote for Labour — or anyone else — Pauline Bock in the New Statesman
A reckoning for Apu, ‘The Simpsons’ and Brownface — Vikas Bajaj in The New York Times
How Everyday Misogyny Feeds the Incel Movement — Lauren McKeon in The Walrus
What you’ve been saying
Trudeau’s deceptive display — letter from Bruce Couchman
I agree with London zookeeper Daniel Simmonds that Justin Trudeau is more similar to a silverback gorilla than Donald Trump in that his displays of leadership are more subtle. However, some conservative commentators have accused Mr Trudeau of using his distinctive socks as an irrelevant and perhaps misleading form of display. Although bright colours and elaborate patterns can be a sign of genetic fitness in some male birds, for example peacocks, there is no evidence that this applies to leadership qualities or political skills among human males.
Comment from Paul A. Myers on How the Beijing elite sees the world
The Chinese policymaker who wants, simultaneously, the market to be “fundamental” and the state “decisive” in the allocation of resources gets at the central dilemma of governance in the modern age. One presumes the Chinese policymaker means the state will make the big allocation decisions and the market will deliver the necessary efficiency. This has worked in the past and will most likely continue successfully in the future despite significant friction.
Scale down for tricky technology transitions — letter from Allan Kelly
Why did TSB try to move all customers in one go? …When it comes to software technology diseconomies of scale are prevalent: big is more expensive and more risky. Managing a retail bank may well require mastery of economies of scale but managing the technology that bank runs on requires exactly the opposite mindset.
DNA uploaded to websites lets the gene genie out of the bottle
Capture of suspected serial killer prompts questions over how genetic data are shared
Instant Insight: Theresa May cannot solve her customs union conundrum
The UK prime minister does not have a Commons majority for either of her solutions
Vincent Bolloré is a victim of changing times for France in Africa
Bribery probe shows how much Paris’s influence over its former colonies has crumbled
Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump and the politics of resentment
The two friends do not share an ideology — unless the yen for power is one
EM Squared: Leveraged emerging market stocks hit the rocks
Heavily indebted companies suffer sharp sell-off amid rising dollar and bond yields
Poll shows even Tory voters feel austerity has gone too far
Views on public spending cuts go across party loyalties but these may endure
Benjamin Netanyahu is bending Donald Trump’s ear on Iran
European powers’ most pressing concern is to contain the US president, not Tehran
The City’s approach to oligarchs is craven
The US has had the last word on London’s endorsement of Mr Deripaska
FT View: Europe is better off with the UK in a space race
It makes little sense to exclude British companies from Galileo
FT View: Saudi Arabia’s balancing act with the price of oil
At much over $75 a barrel, growth slows and conservation kicks in
The Big Read
The Big Read: South Africa: How Cape Town beat the drought
The city was on the verge of becoming the first major urban centre to run out of water but has averted the crisis. But for how long, and at what cost, in a divided country?