Both sides got dirty in the tussle over Russian cell phone operator OAO MegaFon. In Switzerland, industrial spies searched an arbitrator’s garbage. In Bermuda, a retired British spy turned private eye persuaded a gullible KPMG International accountant to turn over confidential company information via a “dead drop” in the basket of his moped. And those are most likely the tactics of the (relatively) good guys.

The case pits Russian conglomerate Alfa Group Consortium and its allies against a Bermuda investment vehicle called IPOC International Growth Fund Limited. The prize: a stake in MegaFon worth up to $2.5 billion today. IPOC accuses Alfa of directing the dirty tricks in this case. But Swiss arbitrators and judges have found IPOC to be guilty of something much worse than dumpster diving. They have declared IPOC to be a vessel for Russia’s minister of telecommunications, Leonid Reiman, to launder money stolen from the Russian people. Reiman, say the Swiss arbitrators and judges, abused his office by issuing a valuable cellular license to a company that he himself controlled, then parked the proceeds in IPOC.

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