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The Italian prime minister, Giorgia Melone, used her “golden powers” to veto the acquisition of an Italian cloud provider by Nebius, a Dutch company with ties to Russia. Nebius got its funding from Yandex.

Giorgia Meloni, the Italian Prime Minister, vetoed a takeover deal by Nebius, a Dutch cloud services provider with links to Russian internet giant Yandex. Reuters quoted sources for the report that included both a government document and three people familiar with the matter.

The veto decision is the first time the current Italian administration has used its so-called “golden powers” regulation to block undesired acquisitions since Meloni’s “Fratelli di Italia” party came into office last October.

Meloni’s veto is not surprising, given the Italian PM’s vociferous support for NATO and EU sanctions against Russia. In the Netherlands are no reports about research or problems with Nebius, but also Yandex is not under any sanctions by the Europan Union.

The golden powers regulation is Italy’s foreign direct investments regime. It allows the Italian Government to scrutinise transactions that concern “strategic” industrial sectors such as banking, energy, telecommunications and health and to apply conditions or even veto them in the case of a threat to the national economy or security.

The veto Meloni issued this week was decided on at a March 16 cabinet meeting.

Under the blocked proposal, Nebius, a Dutch-based cloud services provider, would have acquired Tecnologia Intelligente (TI), a modest Italian tech company run by Marco Carrai, an Italian businessman and long-time friend of former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Speaking on anonymity, two government officials told Reuters the government was concerned about the deal because Yandex, a Russian tech company, funded Nebius’s activities.

Ties to “Russia’s Google”

Yandex, often called “Russia’s Google”, was founded in the early 1990s by Arkady Volozh. He stepped down as CEO and left the board of directors last year after the European Union included him on its list of sanctions against Russian entities and individuals. Yandex itself is not under Western sanctions.

The Russian firm’s Dutch-registered holding company plans to divest ownership and control of most of Yandex Group, including its main revenue-generating businesses, with the international divisions of some services, comprising cloud, to be developed outside Russia.