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MIT 'Suspended' Russian Oligarch From Board

January 15, 2019

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology removed a Russian billionaire from its Board of Trustees after the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on him and his company last April as part of a move to penalize Russian oligarchs accused of advancing Russia’s “malign activities,” Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty reported.

MIT elected Viktor Vekselberg to its Board of Trustees in 2013, but a spokeswoman for the university told the publication it “suspended” his participation on the board last year.

"In April 2018, as a result of [the Treasury Department] adding Mr. Vekselberg to its specially designated nationals list, MIT reviewed its legal obligations and suspended Mr. Vekselberg's Corporation membership,” the MIT spokeswoman, Kimberly Allen, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via email.

As president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Vekselberg oversaw the brokering of a deal with MIT to help develop a science and technology-focused university, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, outside Moscow. MIT was reportedly paid $300 million for its involvement in the project. Allen said MIT’s collaboration with Skoltech is continuing.

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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