You need to know that a conflict of interest is the first step on the road to corruption. If you don’t; and if you also think that unzipping your fly in public isn’t indecent exposure, so long as you think the onlookers will be impressed by what you’re showing off, there’s no invite for you at this party.
This one is for the last print journalists in the world for whom the trade of digging up and publishing conflicts of interest, recording that the emperor’s fly is open (without clothes, dripping money, etc.), is fast dying out, but who keep sending their invoices for the truth. (more…)
There is every reason to read and reread the Tintin books by Hergé, and even more for boycotting the film just released by Steven Spielberg. The essay by Tom McCarthy is one of a hattrick by the London Guardian to rubbish what Spielberg has done. (more…)
Arkady (right image) and Boris Rotenberg are under investigation by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for running a cartel and price-rigging to cheat Gazprom, their longstanding business partner and patron.
This is unusual for several reasons. One of them is that the Rotenbergs neither produce the goods in trade targeted by FAS, nor are they the end-buyer and end-user, Gazprom. So how can the go-between between buyer and seller be capable, let alone culpable of running a multi-billion dollar cartel? Igor Artemyev, head of FAS (left image), has announced that he’s going to the mat to find out. (more…)
Oleg Deripaska, denied regular visa entry into the US for many years on US evidence of his business practices, has claimed in a Moscow press announcement this week that the barrier has been lifted. It hasn’t. Instead, he’s being escorted through a trapdoor. (more…)
The latest announcement by Kommersant newspaper of a deal in which the Government of Guinea relieves United Company Rusal of the billion-dollar liabilities it was facing for its bauxite exporting and alumina smelting activities in the African republic isn’t what it’s meant to look. (more…)
According to the Greek myth, Orion was a giant hunter who could walk across the Mediterranean. One evening he pulled one of those drunken turns that give dinner parties a bad name – he tried to make a dessert out of the daughter of his host, Oenepion. So Oenepion stuck the cheese-knife into Orion’s eyes, chucking him out of the dining-room and off his island. At that point, Hephaestus, the god of high technology (blacksmithing at the time), took pity on the big boy, and gave him a small one, Kedalion, to stand on his shoulders and guide him eastwards, where eventually, the sun healed Orion’s eyesight. He then re-marched westward for revenge against Oenepion. (more…)
A leading shipbroker confirms that Suleiman Kerimov’s 90-metre motor yacht Ice is for sale at €200 million. “It is quietly on the market, but it is not being actively marketed,” the source revealed on Monday, days after the sale notice went up for Kerimov’s French beach house at €20 million. (more…)
A website property sales agency, calling itself “specialized in urgent and forced sales of Luxury Properties, Super Cars & Yachts”, is offering Suleiman Kerimov’s holiday residence at Medy Roc, at Cap d’Antibes on the French coast. The sale notice is dated October 20, last week. A number of notable Russian-owned properties on the Cote d’Azur have been sold since the crash of 2008, but this is the first oligarch-sized disposal. (more…)
A Canadian Supreme Court judge has ruled that Alexei Mordashov rode roughshod over the rights of minority shareholders in Crew Gold, when Mordashov’s gold group completed its takeover of Crew Gold, and paid $4.65 per share to buy up minority shareholders.
Justice Ronald Veale, the senior judge of the Supreme Court of Yukon, the Canadian province where Nord Gold, the Canadian vehicle used to absorb Crew Gold is registered, issued a judgement on October 14. He ruled that a group of Norwegian minority shareholders, led by Jostein Matre, had been unfairly and improperly deprived of their rights to dissent from the buy-out offer. (more…)
In the long history of English justice, it has happened before that candidates for the seats of the highest court in land have been obliged to rehearse their talents and qualifications before the monarch on his throne (aka the Crown). And not only their qualifications, technical and professional, but also their willingness to do the monarch’s bidding. If not for that, Crown courtiers have been known to intimate, the seat on offer might be pulled and presented to another arse.
In time of invasion threats, wars of religion, wars between king and barons, civil war between king and parliament, and conflicts between the lower house of parliament and upper, ambitious Englishmen who hoped to be high judges understood how to comport themselves in front of those more powerful than them, and on whom they depended. (more…)
Renco and its subsidiary RG Steel, the defendants in Severstal’s New York court claim, have a month to file their reply, and for the time being they are saying nothing. Bette Kovach, spokesman for RG Steel, and Andrew Shea, spokesman for Renco, say they “will not comment on matters in litigation.” Nor will they answer whether it is Renco’s position that the March 2011 takeover terms for the three US steelmills did not obligate Renco and RG Steel to make a cash payment of $125 million to Severstal without agreement on subsequent accounting and valuation adjustments, and post-deal due diligence. (more…)
Severstal has issued a claim in US Federal Court (Manhattan Southern District) against RG Steel, a unit of the private American steelmaking group, Renco. Severstal owner Alexei Mordashov (left image) wants it to be known in the Russian media that he thinks he’s been stiffed. But he doesn’t want anyone to read too carefully into the court papers in case they detect evidence of Severstal accounting…. well, let’s not say fraud until and unless the US court rules on the matter. (more…)
Fitch Ratings issued a modified warning on Sovcomflot this week, claiming that the big Russian’s tanker revenues were at risk of coming up short against the company’s obligations. In that event, Fitch London analyst Jeannine Arnold reports, Sovcomflot may have to sell off the hulls and newbuildings which are on order, but still on the shipyard slips in South Korea, China, and Finland.
Fitch is also acknowledging that the release of its new ratings report was delayed by several days, and that the ratings agency analysts have come under the pressure of persuasion from Sovcomflot to change their recommended rating. (more…)
When crisis strikes the global steel sector, sales revenues drop faster than costs, and earnings and profits shrink. The normal correction is for mill owners to cut their costs by reducing production, closing furnaces, furloughing workers, trimming supply of steel into the marketplace, cutting product prices to clear unsold inventories, and crossing fingers for an improvement of demand. If they can help it, the proprietors of steelmills don’t normally lift their interest expenses by raising debt loads. (more…)
The Russian government has made good on an earlier threat to penalize grain exports if the export tonnage exceeds the level that threatens domestic supplies and triggers grain and bread price increases before the December parliamentary elections. Fear of bread price rises detonating voter discontent first appeared a year ago, when the Kremlin’s front-line defence at the time was an embargo on all grain exports until the new harvest was in. (more…)
Now for those who think the appetite for due diligence and accountability deadens the taste for opportunity, the good news from the Russian goldmines comes today from Alfa Bank’s metals analyst Barry Ehrlich, in a set of three fine reports.
The global supply and demand balance for gold is stable: the gap between under-supply and expanding demand is closing, compared to 2010, but supply growth appears to running at 3% per annum, and demand growth at 5% per annum. If that’s right, the gold price will be secured by the increase in jewellery and bullion buying in China and India, and by government stockpiling of gold worldwide, as a hedge against volatile currency movements. (more…)
Sergei Naryshkin (right image), the Kremlin chief of staff, who has been chairman of the board of Sovcomflot, the state-owned tanker operator, has been replaced by Ilya Klebanov (left), a former federal minister of industry, according to a Kremlin release last Friday, October 7. The appointment appears to have taken Sovcomflot by surprise, as the company, run by Sergei Frank, has yet to issue its own news release, and has been refusing for several weeks to answer questions on Naryshkin’s status on the board. (more…)
Alrosa, the Russian state diamond monopoly and world’s largest producer of rough, moved last week to resist price-cutting and discounting pressure across global diamond markets by announcing it will reduce its supply of rough for sale instead. (more…)
Oleg Mukhamedshin, the man in charge of raising money and covering debt for United Company Rusal, was spotted last week in London carrying bags into his mansion. This is what has been happening to the aluminium he has been selling: (more…)
Mikhail Prokhorov – Russia’s no-fault oligarch, according to a dozen people familiar with the matter at Bloomberg – was tossed out of Russian politics for his incompetence last month. Yesterday it turned out that the only company he controls with an international share listing and a positive profit line, Polyus Gold, has been kissed off by the international mining market. (more…)
For long enough already, Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky have been trading mutual recriminations and accusations of bribery, blackmail, extortion, fraud, breach of trust and breach of contract, set out in the latter’s UK High Court claims against the former, so that the biggest surprise at the commencement of the trial this week is the commencement itself. Abramovich has spent more than three years trying to have the claims struck off or dismissed by the court, or the proceedings delayed. He has failed. (more…)
Last week, on September 26, Justice D.M. Brown of the Ontario Superior Court threw out a suit challenging the terms of the White Tiger Gold takeover of Century Mining, aka “the Arrangement”, which has been orchestrated by the Russian duo, Maxim Finsky and his career patron, Mikhail Prokhorov.
An oral hearing on the issues took place in Toronto on September 23. The 13-page ruling by Justice Brown ignored most of the unfairness claims which minority shareholders of Century mining have compiled, publishing them on the internet and in submissions to the Ontario regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). (more…)
In the case of the late Andrei Burlakov of FLC West Holding of Luxembourg (middle image), the death weapon was, apparently, what is called травматический пистолет. This can be licensed to be carried by ordinary Joes as a defensive weapon, as if it cannot be lethal. But when fired at the eye, temple, or heart within a range of one-metre or less, the pistol is an effective tool of assassination. And if the police nab the hitman before he pulls the trigger, he can, and quite often does claim he was intending nothing more than a warning. Not since the December 2009 case involving security men employed by United Company Rusal, has such a weapon been carried into oligarch-sized business in Moscow. (more…)
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.
By Margarita Menshikova, translated by John Helmer, Moscow @bears_with
On the day before Good Friday (Orthodox), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported at the Kremlin to President Vladimir Putin that at Mariupol, inside the Azovstal steel works, about two thousand troops remain underground, including foreigners. Putin issued the following order: “There is no need to penetrate these catacombs and crawl under these industrial facilities. Seal off the industrial zone completely.”
Four days earlier on April 17, the Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov told the press that “up to four hundred foreign mercenaries were trapped [at Azovstal]… Most of them are citizens of European countries, as well as Canada. We have already reported earlier that radio conversations between militants in Mariupol are conducted in six foreign languages”
Today, an unusually detailed report by the Moscow internet broadcaster Tsargrad was published to signal the strategic significance and political value of the NATO officers in their command bunker under Azovstal.