The Massachusetts Institute of Technology removed a Russian billionaire from its Board of Trustees after the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on him and his company last April as part of a move to penalize Russian oligarchs accused of advancing Russia’s “malign activities,” Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty reported.
MIT elected Viktor Vekselberg to its Board of Trustees in 2013, but a spokeswoman for the university told the publication it “suspended” his participation on the board last year.
“In April 2018, as a result of [the Treasury Department] adding Mr. Vekselberg to its specially designated nationals list, MIT reviewed its legal obligations and suspended Mr. Vekselberg’s Corporation membership,” the MIT spokeswoman, Kimberly Allen, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via email.
As president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Vekselberg oversaw the brokering of a deal with MIT to help develop a science and technology-focused university, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, outside Moscow. MIT was reportedly paid $300 million for its involvement in the project. Allen said MIT’s collaboration with Skoltech is continuing.