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Music’s Mystery Mogul: Len Blavatnik, Trump and Their Russian Friends

The Ukraine-born billionaire owner of Warner Music is not only a backer of films who has looked at buying a Hollywood studio, he’s also reportedly on the fringe of the Mueller probe thanks to generous GOP giving and links to oligarchs with ties to Putin.

In May 2013, Martin Scorsese went to the Cannes Film Festival — not to be feted but to pitch a project: Silence, his not-exactly-commercial saga of two priests in 17th century Japan. The director had dinner aboard billionaire Len Blavatnik’s 164-foot yacht, Odessa, named for his birthplace in Ukraine. Scorsese and Blavatnik then headed to a lavish party hosted by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of the English Premier League’s Chelsea F.C., who, like Blavatnik, had made his fortune following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Abramovich was hosting director Baz Luhrmann, whose The Great Gatsby was having its premiere at the festival. One observer was struck by the scene: “Len got to arrive with his prestigious guest and Abramovich was there with his, so it was oligarchs showing their connections.” Now, sources say, Blavatnik is negotiating a major multiplatform deal with Luhrmann, and Warner Bros. plans to make a long-gestating Elvis Presley film with the Australian director, presumably with Blavatnik’s backing.

The use of the O-word would annoy Blavatnik, 61. The press-shy billionaire has long maintained that he’s not an oligarch but a naturalized American citizen who emigrated from the Soviet Union as a young man in 1978. Nonetheless, he has found himself on the radar of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to ABC News. Amid the drumbeat of the probe of Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election, Blavatnik is on a quest to achieve his stated goal of building a “media platform for the 21st century.”

Since 2011, Blavatnik has been the owner of Warner

Article source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/why-is-warner-music-group-owner-len-blavatnik-russia-probe-1150550

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