Now children, this is a story of the boy who was so keen to go on holiday, he packed his bag too soon.
The three insiders familiar with the matter, on whom Bloomberg relies, seem to have got the story wrong, at least so far as the timing of Alexei Mordashov’s (right image) initial public offering (IPO) of Nord Gold shares. They were reported as saying last week that the company had lodged its application to the Listing Authority of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the London regulator headed by Hector Sants (left image): “OAO Severstal’s gold-mining unit is seeking regulatory approval for a $1 billion initial public offering in London, according to three people with knowledge of the plan. The IPO, managed by Credit Suisse Group AG, Morgan Stanley and Troika Dialog, may start as early as this month, pending approval from regulators in London, two of the people said, declining to be identified because the information is private.” (more…)
Evraz, Russia’s largest steelmaking group, has announced this week the creation of a special internal committee on health, safety and environment, and will appoint a new vice president to supervise these issues. A company statement says it “is focused on increasing the level of industrial safety, labour protection and care of the environment across its international operations.” (more…)
One of every ten dollars Alrosa is hoping to borrow from investors this month has been provisionally set aside to advertise Alrosa at the next three Olympic Games – London, Sochi, and Rio de Janeiro. This is the largest purse of Russian philanthropy, advertising, or giveaway ever publicly offered to western bond buyers to approve, and to fill. (more…)
An order by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to extend the current ban on wheat, rye, barley and corn exports until July 1 next year — announced last week — will make an exception to allow Russian millers and traders to ship milled flour abroad. Allowing 1.4 tonnes of wheat to make one tonne of flour, the tonnage of wheat not allowed to be exported, which may be shipped as flour, may reach a million tonnes, triple the volume of the flour trade in the year before the drought. (more…)
Anonymous reports about Alisher Usmanov usually appear because he is selling or buying something, and wants to advertise his price. Or else they are there because Usmanov’s rivals and critics are at work. A report from London on Sunday that Usmanov is about to clinch a deal with the Japanese trader Mitsui is probably an advertorial. (more…)
A year ago in Moscow, the Queensland state premier, an Australian Labor Party (ALP) politician named Anna Bligh, was threatened that if she didn’t give Oleg Deripaska what his United Company Rusal wanted from the state, he would punish the state treasury with the withdrawal of millions of dollars in bauxite mining royalties. Bligh has been doing her best to give him what he wants – and keep her deal secret. (more…)
Far Eastern Shipping Company (Fesco), which in Soviet days dominated dry-cargo shipping, has reported another loss in the first half of this year. What makes this news is that the red-ink line came in at $28.1 million; one-quarter of the loss reported for the six months to 2009 at $124.1 million. (more…)
Today the news comes to you from Homer, with Odysseus doing the talking: “We came to the land of the Kyklopes race, arrogant lawless beings who leave their livelihoods to the deathless gods and never use their own hands to sow or plough; yet with no sowing and no ploughing, the crops all grow for them–wheat and barley and grapes that yield wine from ample clusters, swelled by the showers of Zeus. They have no assemblies to debate in, they have no ancestral ordinances; they live in arching caves on the tops of high hills, and the head of each family heeds no other, but makes his own ordinances for wife and children.” The countryside is empty of men, because the Kyklopes (Cyclops) eat them. (more…)
Sovcomflot (SCF), the state oil tanker company and currently the 5th energy shipper in the world, has made its first detailed public disclosure to investment markets in a multi-million dollar debt prospectus. Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and VTB are the arrangers. (more…)
The US Government has decided not to let Victor Vekselberg off so easily.
The US District Attorney for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) has filed for an extension of time to allow the Justice Department in Washington to consider a detailed brief, arguing that Vekselberg should face the full force of the American racketeering statute. This is the start of an attempt by the government to override a ruling by three appeals court judges last month that whatever Vekselberg had done, for good or ill, was beyond the jurisdiction of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. (more…)
Prospectuses are like lap dances. It’s necessary to keep one’s distance so that the baser instincts don’t cloud one’s better judgement.
In a recent West Country court ruling, a lap-dancing bar lost an appeal of the revocation of its adult entertainment licence. The club claimed its lap-dancers were lawfully adhering to the “three-feet rule”set down in its licence. To keep the dancers entertaining rather than prostituting themselves, the rule requires the customers to keep three feet from the performers. But the club had found a loophole in the regulation. This allowed the girls to get very close if they weren’t performing their licensed dances. In the clinches, the club testified the girls were doing no more than exercising their freedom of association, without commercial benefit for the bar. The court didn’t buy it. (more…)
With just a week to go before Oleg Deripaska asks Norilsk Nickel’s international shareholders to vote in favour of his hostile takeover of the company, the UK High Court has ordered an end to Deripaska’s tactics towards former patron and partner, Michael Cherney (Chernoy); dismissed more of Deripaska’s claims about his opponent; and fixed the timetable for Deripaska to face trial on charges of fraud, deceit, and breach of trust. (more…)
Gennady Timchenko and his allies in state-controlled companies in the Russian oil business are gradually consolidating their dominance over much of Russian oil from the wellhead to the tanker enroute to international markets, and much of the transportation network in between. As the largest energy exporter in the world, Russia naturally aims to be a reliable supplier to its clients. And Timchenko, who lives in Switzerland and France and reportedly carries a Finnish passport, is by all accounts a very reliable fellow. The London law firm Schillings vouches for him – and that says a lot. (more…)
The Severstal steel and mining group, owned by Alexei Mordashov, has issued a prospectus this week for the issue of up to $3 billion in loan participation notes to restructure the group’s current debts. The issue is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Mordashov’s group reports its current long and short-term obligations at $6.3 billion, with $1.8 billion in cash and equivalent on hand, making a net debt level of $4.5 billion. (more…)
The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador has ordered the arrest of the Russian-owned cruise vessel, Lyubov Orlova, after the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) filed suit last week on behalf of the crew. The 49 Russian and 2 Ukrainian mariners have been stranded on the vessel at the port of St. John’s, Newfoundland, after the Russian owners stopped payments four months ago. (more…)
On October 6, Peter Hambro claimed in an interview with Reuters Television that his proposed stock exchange listing of IRC Ltd., a titanium and iron-ore miner in the Amur and Jewish Autonomous Region of fareastern Russia, is his idea of a gift: “We’ve always wanted to give Russian people access to ownership of shares in what is effectively a Russian company,” said Hambro. (more…)
“Never apologize and never explain. It’s a sign of weakness”. That line comes from a 1949 film called “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”. In that one, John Wayne played a cavalry commander on the verge of retirement who tries to beat his Cheyenne foes one more time. He fails at that, but ends up doing the right thing by the girl (white girl). (more…)
The arrest for debt of MV Lyubov Orlova, an Arctic and Antarctic cruise ship almost as famous as her namesake, a Soviet movie star, continues to mystify industry sources in Moscow. That is because noone is owning up to owning the vessel, and thus to responsibility for the court-ordered seizure by marshals in the Canadian port of St. John last week. (more…)
In the business of bloodsucking, noone does it better than Glencore of Baar, Switzerland. They call it trading.
The way it works is that Glencore sinks its teeth into anyone unknowing, foolish, impoverished or desperate enough to come within range. Glencore then trades on 18% or higher profit margins for export sales, which no producer would tolerate if he’s in his right mind and health. So Glencore turns him into a corpse, semi-alive in order to keep up the flow of the red stuff. The profits from trading commodities from companies in which Glencore owns equity positions is even better than the straight trading ventures. In Russia, this is known as transfer pricing or cash and asset stripping. It’s illegal, although the law is almost never enforced. (more…)
The Ukraine war is splitting the communist parties of Europe between those taking the US side, and those on the Russian side.
In an unusual public criticism of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and of smaller communist parties in Europe which have endorsed the Greek criticism of Russia for waging an “imperialist” war against the Ukraine, the Russian Communist Party (KPRF) has responded this week with a 3,300-word declaration: “The military conflict in Ukraine,” the party said, “cannot be described as an imperialist war, as our comrades would argue. It is essentially a national liberation war of the people of Donbass. From Russia’s point of view it is a struggle against an external threat to national security and against Fascism.”
By contrast, the Russian communists have not bothered to send advice, or air public criticism of the Cypriot communists and their party, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). On March 2, AKEL issued a communiqué “condemn[ing] Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukrainian territories….[and] stresses that the Russian Federation’s action in recognising the Donetsk and Luhansk regions constitutes a violation of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.”
To the KPRF in Moscow the Cypriots are below contempt; the Greeks are a fraction above it.
A Greek-Cypriot veteran of Cypriot politics and unaffiliated academic explains: “The Cypriot communists do not allow themselves to suffer for what they profess to believe. Actually, they are a misnomer. They are the American party of the left in Cyprus, just as [President Nikos] Anastasiades is the American party of the right.” As for the Greek left, Alexis Tsipras of Syriza – with 85 seats of the Greek parliament’s 300, the leading party of the opposition – the KKE (with 15 seats), and Yanis Varoufakis of MeRA25 (9 seats), the source adds: “The communists are irrelevant in Europe and in the US, except in the very narrow context of Greek party politics.”
The war plan of the US and the European allies is destroying the Russian market for traditional French perfumes, the profits of the French and American conglomerates which own the best-known brands, the bonuses of their managers, and the dividends of their shareholders. The odour of these losses is too strong for artificial fresheners.
Givaudan, the Swiss-based world leader in production and supply of fragrances, oils and other beauty product ingredients, has long regarded the Russian market as potentially its largest in Europe; it is one of the fastest growing contributors to Givaudan’s profit worldwide. In the recovery from the pandemic of Givaudan’s Fragrance and Beauty division – it accounts for almost half the company’s total sales — the group reported “excellent double-digit growth in 2021, demonstrating strong consumer demand for these product categories.” Until this year, Givaudan reveals in its latest financial report, the growth rate for Russian demand was double-digit – much faster than the 6.3% sales growth in Europe overall; faster growth than in Germany, Belgium and Spain.
Between February 2014, when the coup in Kiev started the US war against Russia, and last December, when the Russian non-aggression treaties with the US and NATO were rejected, Givaudan’s share price jumped three and a half times – from 1,380 Swiss francs to 4,792 francs; from a company with a market capitalisation of 12.7 billion francs ($12.7 billion) to a value of 44.2 billion francs ($44.2 billion). Since the fighting began in eastern Ukraine this year until now, Givaudan has lost 24% of that value – that’s $10 billion.
The largest of Givaudan’s shareholders is Bill Gates. With his 14%, plus the 10% controlled by Black Rock of New York and MFS of Boston, the US has effective control over the company.
Now, according to the US war sanctions, trade with Russia and the required payment systems have been closed down, alongside the bans on the importation of the leading European perfumes. So in place of the French perfumers, instead of Givaudan, the Russian industry is reorganizing for its future growth with its own perfume brands manufactured from raw materials produced in Crimea and other regions, or supplied by India and China. Givaudan, L’Oréal (Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent), Kering (Balenciaga, Gucci), LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy), Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clarins – they have all cut off their noses to spite the Russian face.
By Nikolai Storozhenko, introduced and translated by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with
This week President Joseph Biden stopped at an Illinois farm to say he’s going to help the Ukraine ship 20 million tonnes of wheat and corn out of storage into export, thereby relieving grain shortages in the international markets and lowering bread prices around the world. Biden was trying to play a hand in which his cards have already been clipped. By Biden.
The first Washington-Kiev war plan for eastern Ukraine has already lost about 40% of the Ukrainian wheat fields, 50% of the barley, and all of the grain export ports. Their second war plan to hold the western region defence lines with mobile armour, tanks, and artillery now risks the loss of the corn and rapeseed crop as well as the export route for trucks to Romania and Moldova. What will be saved in western Ukraine will be unable to grow enough to feed its own people. They will be forced to import US wheat, as well as US guns and the money to pay for both.
Biden told his audience that on the Delaware farms he used to represent in the US Senate “there are more chickens than there are Americans.” Blaming the Russians is the other card Biden has left.
The problem with living in exile is the meaning of the word. If you’re in exile, you mean you are forever looking backwards, in geography as well as in time. You’re not only out of place; you’re out of time — yesterday’s man.
Ovid, the Roman poet who was sent into exile from Rome by Caesar Augustus, for offences neither Augustus nor Ovid revealed, never stopped looking back to Rome. His exile, as Ovid described it, was “a barbarous coast, inured to rapine/stalked ever by bloodshed, murder, war.” In such a place or state, he said, “writing a poem you can read to no one is like dancing in the dark.”
The word itself, exsilium in Roman law, was the sentence of loss of citizenship as an alternative to loss of life, capital punishment. It meant being compelled to live outside Rome at a location decided by the emperor. The penalty took several degrees of isolation and severity. In Ovid’s case, he was ordered by Augustus to be shipped to the northeastern limit of the Roman empire, the Black Sea town called Tomis; it is now Constanta, Romania. Ovid’s last books, Tristia (“Sorrows”) and Epistulae ex Ponto (“Black Sea Letters”), were written from this exile, which began when he was 50 years old, in 8 AD, and ended when he died in Tomis nine years year later, in 17 AD.
In my case I’ve been driven into exile more than once. The current one is lasting the longest. This is the one from Moscow, which began with my expulsion by the Foreign Ministry on September 28, 2010. The official sentence is Article 27(1) of the law No. 114-FZ — “necessary for the purposes of defence capability or security of the state, or public order, or protection of health of the population.” The reason, a foreign ministry official told an immigration service official when they didn’t know they were being overheard, was: “Helmer writes bad things about Russia.”
Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), who attempted last month to arrange the escape from Russian capture of Ukrainian soldiers and NATO commanders, knowing they had committed war crimes. He was asked to explain; he refuses.
Trevor Cadieu is a Canadian lieutenant-general who was appointed the chief of staff and head of the Canadian Armed Forces last August; was stopped in September; retired from the Army this past April, and went to the Ukraine, where he is in hiding. From whom he is hiding – Canadians or Russians – where he is hiding, and what he will say to explain are questions Cadieu isn’t answering, yet.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, is refusing this week to answer questions on the role he played in the recent attempt by US, British, Canadian and other foreign combatants to escape the bunkers under the Azovstal plant, using the human shield of civilians trying to evacuate.
In Guterres’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on April 26 (lead image), Putin warned Guterres he had been “misled” in his efforts. “The simplest thing”, Putin told Guterres in the recorded part of their meeting, “for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.”
This war crime has been recognized since 1977 by the UN in Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention. In US law for US soldiers and state officials, planning to employ or actually using human shields is a war crime to be prosecuted under 10 US Code Section 950t.
Instead, Guterres ignored the Kremlin warning and the war crime law, and authorized UN officials, together with Red Cross officials, to conceal what Guterres himself knew of the foreign military group trying to escape. Overnight from New York, Guterres has refused to say what he knew of the military escape operation, and what he had done to distinguish, or conceal the differences between the civilians and combatants in the evacuation plan over the weekend of April 30-May 1.May.
By Vlad Shlepchenko, introduced & translated by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with
The more western politicians announce pledges of fresh weapons for the Ukraine, the more Russian military analysts explain what options their official sources are considering to destroy the arms before they reach the eastern front, and to neutralize Poland’s role as the NATO hub for resupply and reinforcement of the last-ditch holdout of western Ukraine.
“I would like to note,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, repeated yesterday, “that any transport of the North Atlantic Alliance that arrived on the territory of the country with weapons or material means for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces is considered by us as a legitimate target for destruction”. He means the Ukraine border is the red line.
Here’s a story the New York Times has just missed.
US politicians and media pundits are promoting the targeting of “enablers” of Russian oligarchs who stash their money in offshore accounts. A Times article of March 11 highlighted Michael Matlin, CEO of Concord Management as such an “enabler.” But the newspaper missed serious corruption Matlin was involved in. Maybe that’s because Matlin cheated Russia, and also because the Matlin story exposes the William Browder/Sergei Magnitsky hoax aimed at Russia.
In 1939 a little known writer in Moscow named Sigizmund Khrzhizhanovsky published his idea that the Americans, then the Germans would convert human hatred into a new source of energy powering everything which had been dependent until then on coal, gas, and oil.
Called yellow coal, this invention originated with Professor Leker at Harvard University. It was applied, first to running municipal trams, then to army weapons, and finally to cheap electrification of everything from domestic homes and office buildings to factory production lines. In Russian leker means a quack doctor.
The Harvard professor’s idea was to concentrate the neuro-muscular energy people produce when they hate each other. Generated as bile (yellow), accumulated and concentrated into kinetic spite in machines called myeloabsorberators, Krzhizhanovsky called this globalization process the bilificationof society.
In imperial history there is nothing new in cases of dementia in rulers attracting homicidal psychopaths to replace them. It’s as natural as honey attracts bees.
When US President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke on October 19, 1919, he was partially paralysed and blinded, and was no longer able to feed himself, sign his name, or speak normally; he was not demented.
While his wife and the Navy officer who was his personal physician concealed his condition, there is no evidence that either Edith Wilson or Admiral Cary Grayson were themselves clinical cases of disability, delusion, or derangement. They were simply liars driven by the ambition to hold on to the power of the president’s office and deceive everyone who got in their way.
The White House is always full of people like that. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution is meant to put a damper on their homicidal tendencies.
What is unusual, probably exceptional in the current case of President Joseph Biden, not to mention the history of the United States, is the extent of the president’s personal incapacitation; combined with the clinical evidence of psychopathology in his Secretary of State Antony Blinken; and the delusional condition of the rivals to replace Biden, including Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Like Rome during the first century AD, Washington is now in the ailing emperor-homicidal legionary phase. But give it another century or two, and the madness, bloodshed, and lies of the characters of the moment won’t matter quite as much as their images on display in the museums of their successors craving legitimacy, or of successor powers celebrating their superiority.
Exactly this has happened to the original Caesars, as a new book by Mary Beard, a Cambridge University professor of classics, explains. The biggest point of her book, she says, is “dynastic succession” – not only of the original Romans but of those modern rulers who acquired the Roman portraits in marble and later copies in paint, and the copies of those copies, with the idea of communicating “the idea of the direct transfer of power from ancient Romans to Franks and on to later German rulers.”
In the case she narrates of the most famous English owner of a series of the “Twelve Caesars”, King Charles I — instigator of the civil war of 1642-51 and the loser of both the war and his head – the display of his Caesars was intended to demonstrate the king’s self-serving “missing link” between his one-man rule and the ancient Romans who murdered their way to rule, and then apotheosized into immortal gods in what they hoped would be a natural death on a comfortable bed.
With the American and Russian successions due to take place in Washington and Moscow in two years’ time, Beard’s “Twelve Caesars, Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern”, is just the ticket from now to then.