An influx of cash from Russian venture capital firms into America’s technology sector over the past few years has the FBI worried about increased espionage.
The agency has warned U.S. tech firms and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) about the concerns, Voice of America reported Tuesday.
For instance, the FBI’s Boston division believes Russia’s Skolkovo Foundation, which partnered with MIT, must be watched closely. Skolkovo, which launched in 2010, has ties to a company that supplies armored vehicles to the Russian military.
“As far as the Skolkovo institute is concerned, you have foreign defense contractors in the same sort of area of business that could potentially result in U.S. technology being acquired by that Russian defense firm, and then being given to the government,” Lucia Ziobro, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, told VOA.
In 2011 alone, Russia’s state-funded Rusnano invested $50 million in Boston-area nanomedicine firms BIND Biosciences and Selecta Biosciences, VOA reported.
Evgeny Druzyaka, Rusnano’s vice president of Rusnano USA, has said that the company has $1.2 billion invested in U.S. companies, including biotech, energy, coating and hardware firms, VOA reported.
The Skolkovo Foundation declined to comment in the VOA report.
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