Image credit: mashabuba/Getty Images

January 24, 2023

How a Prominent Russian Oligarch Helped Start America’s Cannabis Industry

Featuring Alex Zerden

Source: Barron's

Journalist Bill Alpert

In addition to Abramovich’s direct funding of Curaleaf, the records show he lent about $84 million to Curaleaf’s largest shareholder, Andrey Blokh, and its chairman, Boris Jordan, with the stipulation that they spend the money on Curaleaf stock. When Jordan started a cannabis venture fund, Abramovich supplied two-thirds of the initial capital. Abramovich separately backed Blokh with $12 million to seek marijuana business opportunities in the western U.S. Jordan says that his cannabis loans from Abramovich were repaid in 2020 and 2021. Blokh didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“The failure of corporate transparency requirements under existing U.S. laws and regulations makes the United States a haven for dirty money and undeclared foreign investment,” says Alex Zerden, a former anti-money-laundering official at the Treasury Department, now a compliance advisor—speaking about current disclosure rules.

Read the full story and more from Barron's.


  • Alex Zerden

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Energy, Economics, and Security Program, Founder and Principal, Capitol Peak Strategies LLC

    Alex Zerden is the founder and principal of Capital Peak Strategies LLC, a FinTech, digital asset, and emerging technologies advisory firm. As a regulatory lawyer, economic po...