A Russian Fund with Close Ties to Putin Is an Investor in Virgin Hyperloop One

Richard Branson's company was founded upon Elon Musk's ideas.

Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson attends day nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2018 in London, England. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Virgin Hyperloop One, the Los Angeles-based bullet train company run by Richard Branson based on Elon Musk and SpaceX’s original designs, counts the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) among its investors, according to a story in The Daily Beast. The RDIF has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and is currently under US sanctions.

Although sanctions do not prohibit Virgin Hyperloop One from accepting investment from the RDIF, the details of the deal are unclear. According to the Daily Beast report, Russian officials are looking into the possibility of bringing the Hyperloop design to Moscow, in support of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s massive infrastructure project to better connect vast regions of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The deal was made when US-Russian relations were less volatile. Officials in the US government also told the Daily Beast that a formal probe into the RDIF’s investment into Virgin Hyperloop One is likely.

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