"You needed protection."

TrueHoop subscribers just received Part 4 of TrueHoop's Prokhorov investigation

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov made his first fortune in banking, in Russia, in the 1990s. Which might sound boring.

FBI director Louis Freeh before Congress in 1997:

The majority of their banks are controlled by organized crime.

Misha Glenny, in his 2008 book McMafia, quoting former Treasury official Mark Medish:

Most Russian banks at this time were not banks in any recognizable or meaningful sense. They did not take deposits or make credits; instead they made easy money by handling government transactions.

In House of Trump, House of Putin, Craig Unger quoting an unnamed American businessman on early 1990s Russian banking:

I was working with bankers who rose to the top during this period. We had to hire security, thuggish guys who like to fight. You had your security and the other guys had security. … It was the wild west. You had no idea of what was going on. There was the Mogilevich gang and Chechen gangs all fighting clan warfare. I was trying to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but we didn’t really know whom we were dealing with or how the system might change. And if you wanted to take over the really big enterprises, you needed the mafia’s help. You needed protection.

This is what we explore in Part 4 of TrueHoop’s investigation into Mikhail Prokhorov, published minutes ago. We’d love it if you’d subscribe today.