Between intermittent green wisps of shrubbery in the bare Nevada desert, there is a 1,600-foot-long life size white tube. The structure, propped up from the ground, is almost 11 feet wide. It is the testing site for Hyperloop, a kind of compressed-air bullet train that is supposed to one day shoot people from city to city at 700 miles per hour. Los Angeles-based technology company Virgin Hyperloop One, headed by British businessman Sir Richard Branson, is developing the system, originally designed by Elon Musk and engineers at SpaceX in 2013. With the promise of almost lightning-quick transportation, the company attracted the attention of governments across the world and has raised more than $245 million in capital from investors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and China. There’s one investor, though, that the company consistently keeps off its website and releases: the Russian Direct Investment Fund, one of the country’s sovereign wealth funds, and the only one under U.S. sanctions. One economist based in Moscow—Chris Weafer, a senior partner at Macro Advisory—noted that some high-level deals struck by the Russian Direct Investment Fund involve some level of input by the executive branch of the Russian government. Musk spokesmen said the billionaire is… Read full this story
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