By Associated Press - Tuesday, November 13, 2018

MOSCOW (AP) - A report says President Vladimir Putin’s childhood friend is set to win a massive seaport contract.

Respected business daily Kommersant reported Tuesday the firms controlled by Arkady Rotenberg are positioned to win the contract for a new cargo port on the Taman Peninsula. It cited officials familiar with the talks.

Earlier this year, Rotenberg’s company, Gazstroymontazh, completed a $3.5 billion project to build the much-anticipated 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge linking southern Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The contract for the port, which is just southeast of the new bridge, would allow Rotenberg’s companies to use the expensive equipment leased for the bridge project. The port contract is estimated at nearly $1 billion.

Rotenberg is Putin’s friend since both started practicing judo as teenagers in the 1960s.

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