Facebook, Zynga Sign Deal With Suspected Devil

Alleged "gangster and racketeer" behind firm investing in Facebook, Zynga

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Dec 17, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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Facebook, Zynga Sign Deal With Suspected Devil

AP

Mark Zuckerberg had better hope Alisher Usamanov find him more valuable alive than dead.

Alisher Usmanov is known as "the hard man of Russia," but the investment company he owns a third of, DST Holdings, is offering easy money to Facebook employees with some company shares to spare.

According to Russian reports, Digital Sky Technologies has offered another $100 million to Facebook employees in exchange for their shares. The company had earlier invested $200 million in Facebook and offered another $100 million to employees.

It's also good news for Zynga, which received $180 million from DST and a promise to buy employee shares.

Zynga and Facebook might want to watch out, though. Another holding company controlled by Usamanov bought a stake in Megafon, but Megafon shareholder Leonid Rozhetskin said he was physically threatened into making a deal.

Rozhetskin has since disappeared, though it's not clear if he's dead or in a witness protection program in the United States.

And Usamanov is not necessarily a friend of free speech or privacy on the Web -- he has worked to have critics silenced online, particularly if they accuse Usamanov of being a mobster.

Jackson West doesn't think Facebook's new privacy controls will be all that effective against the CIA or the FSB.

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