It’s emerged that Arsenal shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, was allegedly pouring money into Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian company that was being side-eyed by many for investing huge sums of money in competing social media outlets.
In 2009, after the financial crisis, Usmanov was apparently Digital Sky Technology’s (DST) cash cow and helped invest $500m in 5% of Facebook, as well as American online gaming company, Zynga. In the end, he actually made $1bn from his $200m investment in the well-known social media outlet.
In 2010, the businessman, who allegedly had a ‘hard man’ reputation in Russia, bought 35% of DST.
DST was started and run by Yuri Milner, another Russian businessman with links to the Kremlin. By putting massive amounts into internet-based investments, they were giving the Kremlin a way to control these influential companies.
Usmanov was also allegedly close with the president at the time, Dmitry Medvedev.
It was a strategic partnership reportedly facilitated by the Kremlin.
This was demonstrated in 2011/12 after the pro-democracy protests when the Kremin started to block certain websites. Said protests had mostly been arranged on social media and they didn’t want it to continue.
Obviously, Arsenal fans are finally coming around to the idea that their potential owner could be a little big dodgy. However, it would be naive if Gooners genuinely thought Usmanov wanted to take over their club out of the goodness of his heart.