Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, owner of Moscow-based Russian Machines, is in the hunt for the Hummer brand, according to Russian business magazine Vedomosti. Should Deripaska end up the high bidder, GM is going to have to take the paperwork to him: He's been barred by the US State Department from entering the country due to his alleged ties to organized crime and possible false statements made to the FBI, and he's been accused by business associates of extortion, kidnapping, and "unsavory business practices." We know: On the surface, Deripaska sounds like the perfect suitor for Hummer, but some statements made by one of his associates have us a little concerned.
Sergey Babichenko, a representative of Russian Machines' parent company, wrote to ABC News, explaining, "Mr. Deripaska is a respected member of society, a leading Russian businessman, a philanthropist and an outspoken champion on vital global issues of sustainable development and climate change." That last part's what has us worried: We fear that Deripaska may not be aware of the scope of the environmental backlash Hummer has faced in the States. Then again, if Rick Wagoner had just stuffed naysayers into the trunk of a limo and taken them for a "little ride," perhaps Hummer sales wouldn't be down by 60% this year. [ABC News]