On 17th October, Rferl carried an article which likened the rush to cash in on the legalising of the cannabis industry in the US to the rush to grab assets when the collapse of communism abruptly opened up a big chunk of the world for business, legal and otherwise. It is alleged that Soviet-born businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, along with 2 other men, made illegal political donations funded by a Russian seeking to secure retail marijuana licenses in multiple US states. US citizens Parnas and Fruman are associates of Rudy Giuliani. The article quotes Mark Galeotti, a Russian affairs analyst with specialised knowledge of organised crime and corruption, who said that criminal entrepreneurs from the former Soviet Union “thrive where they can leverage clumsy bureaucracies and wide disparities in supply and demand”. – and that, he said, applies to the legal US marijuana industry.
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