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The two lawmakers have supported the company because if it wins the government money, it would create as many as 3,000 jobs in Indiana.

Mr. Lugar, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has known about Ener1’s foreign investors “for a long time” but isn’t concerned about government money going to a Russian-connected company, his Senate office said.

“The manufacture of lithium-ion batteries is an expanding international business, and a lot of foreign companies are involved,” spokesman Andy Fisher said. “As the business grows, I would expect that the number of international companies involved will expand.”

Mr. Bayh’s office declined comment on what it knew about the Russian investors: “Not going to have anything for you on Ener1,” spokesman Brian Weiss said in an e-mail.

Ener1 has applied for the government cash under the Energy Department’s $2.4 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program and a $480 million Advanced Battery Manufacturing Initiative loan program.

Ener1’s ties to Russia

The company insists its foreign investors don’t have control over its day-to-day operations, but the firm acknowledged in a prospectus to the SEC on Feb. 17, 2009, that the Ener1 Group - in which Mr. Zingarevich’s company, Bzinfin, holds a two-thirds interest - has the ability to “dictate the management of our business and affairs.”

SEC documents describe Bzinfin as “a holding company for investments of Mr. Zingarevich,” adding that the British Virgin Islands corporation is “owned and controlled by Mr. Zingarevich.”

Reports in Russia say Mr. Zingarevich and Mr. Medvedev, Mr. Putin’s handpicked successor as president, became business partners in St. Petersburg in 1992, when the two men helped found a company known as Fintsel, which later became Ilim Pulp Enterprise, a $1.6 billion producer of pulp and paper.

Mr. Medvedev also served as Ilim’s legal director until 1999, when Mr. Putin named him as his chief deputy and later helped him win the Russian presidency.

Ilim Pulp, now known as the OJSC Group, is among the world’s top-10 pulp producers and the largest in Russia. Mr. Zingarevich has been identified as Ilim Pulp’s majority stockholder and has been a director since its 1992 founding.

SEC records show that Bzinfin SA, an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands that lists Mr. Zingarevich as its “indirect beneficial owner,” holds 66 percent of the shares of Ener1’s parent company, the Ener1 Group, an $11 billion privately held investment and advisory firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. According to the records, the Ener1 Group controls 57 percent of Ener1’s outstanding common stock.

The records said the voting power over the shares of Ener1 rests with the board of directors of the Ener1 Group. In various federal documents, Mr. Zingarevich is described as the major source of funding for the Ener1 Group and Ener1 and has been listed as a director of both companies.

Companies tied to Mr. Zingarevich have either approved, overseen or authorized $48 million in credit lines and loans to Ener1, according to the government records.

In 2003, Ener1 told the SEC that Bzinfin SA had given an $18 million loan to the Ener1 Group, significant portions of which were used to provide working capital to build its batteries. In a March 12, 2009, report, the company said it had obtained a commitment for a $30 million line of credit from the Ener1 Group in December and that it borrowed $5 million against that in February.

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