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Rosneft: scaling the heights of power

High-wire deal-making has become the hallmark of Russia's national oil champion. But are expansion plans risking too much?

Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin, a close confidant of Vladimir Putin since the men worked together in the St Petersburg mayor's office 20 years ago, has been charting a vertiginous course for his company. Lately, he's masterminded both the acquisition of rival Bashneft, in November, and the opaque sale of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft to a consortium in January. But Rosneft built much of its oil-producing process on assets it gained after Yukos's destruction—it's a paragon of Russia's often murky oil world. Still, investors have been stunned by events of recent months, including revelations that Sechin had been involved in a dubious sting operation to arrest the economy minister Alexey Ulyuk

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