Curaleaf’s (OTC: CURLF) connections to Russia are coming under scrutiny. The Twitterverse has pushed for a pro-Ukraine response from the company with many supposed shareholders claiming to have sold their shares due to their dissatisfaction with Executive Chairman Boris Jordan’s response. His response on Twitter was as follows:
Many have asked my position on the unfolding situation. Being of both Ukrainian and Russian descent I pray for diplomacy & a peaceful resolution that protects the lives of all citizens on both sides of this conflict.
…I remain hopeful that the proposed talks will come to fruition to allow a diplomatic resolution.
Curaleaf stock is down 6% in trading, lately selling at $7.05 while the broader markets are trading in positive territory.
According to a 2018 Yahoo Finance story, “Jordan, who was born in the U.S. to European parents with Russian ancestry, said he saw the fall of the wall as an opportunity and decided to fly to London, where he made contact with First Boston. The investment bank hired Jordan to lead its Russian operations, he said. In 1992, Jordan moved to Moscow. Amid the wave of privatizations that swept Russia, First Boston’s Moscow division became the most profitable in the company within two years. After leaving First Boston, Jordan founded Renaissance Capital in 1995. It became one of the largest investment banks focused on emerging markets. In 1998, Jordan founded The Sputnik Group, where he continues to work as president and chairman. Jordan led Russian TV Channel NTV and Gazprom Media, a subsidiary of Russian natural gas company Gazprom (OTC: OGZPY), until 2003.”
While many are supporting Jordan arguing that what is happening in Ukraine has no basis on a North American cannabis company, others argue he should separate himself from his Russian businesses. Supporters also suggest that Jordan supported Russia’s push towards capitalism. Green Market Report has reached out to Curaleaf for a comment but the company hasn’t issued a statement as of yet.
Other Cannabis’ Russia Connections
The cannabis industry has had a complicated past with Russia. One of the first politicians to fight for cannabis legalization former was Republican California Representative Dana Rohrabacher who had an affinity for Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Wikipedia states that “Early in Rohrabacher’s congressional career in 1990 or 1991, KGB agent and deputy mayor of Saint Petersburg Vladimir Putin and two other Russians entered Rohrabacher’s congressional office in Washington D.C. who subsequently became close friends according to Rohrabacher during a 2013 interview with KPCC”
Green Market Report attended a cannabis conference in which then Rep. Rohrabacher spoke about his efforts towards legalization, but then veered off into a diatribe about supporting Russia. The room went demonstrably quiet and afterward many spoke about how uncomfortable they were with the politician’s cheerleading of Russia. Rohrabacher failed to show up for a scheduled interview with Green Market Report after the speech.
In January 2022, Law360 reported that “Former Rudy Giuliani associate Igor Fruman on Friday was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after previously admitting to soliciting $1 million from a Russian financier to make illicit political contributions in support of a cannabis venture. U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken handed down the sentence to Fruman, 55, noting the Belarus-born Florida businessman was aware of the prohibition on foreign political contributions in U.S. elections, and he and his codefendants took many steps to conceal their misconduct.”
It went on to report, “Two of Fruman’s codefendants — Lev Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin — were convicted at trial over their alleged roles in a ploy to use part of $1 million in purported loans from Russian tycoon Andrey Muraviev to make donations to U.S. election campaigns. Prosecutors say these pictures (with the Trump family) were used to bolster the notion that Parnas and Fruman had the necessary connections to use political power to support their putative cannabis business, which required difficult-to-obtain licenses from various states in order to open retail stores or cultivation sites. The cannabis venture was supposed to be bankrolled by Muraviev, who was close to Kukushkin, a California entrepreneur, with Parnas and Fruman leading the attempt to cozy up to favored politicians. Kukushkin and another man, David Correia, rounded out the partnership.”
No Question Here
Cannabis.net made its position clear as the publication is selling the t-shirt below: