THE STRANGE CASES OF DMITRIJ HARDER AND ANDREY RYJENKO AT THE EUROPEAN BANK OF RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT –- HOW GOVERNMENTS DECIDE WHEN BENDING THE RULES ISN’T BREAKING THE LAW
By John Helmer, Moscow
Two men, Dmitrij Harder and Andrey Ryjenko, have been convicted in parallel proceedings in a US court and a UK court of arranging and receiving bribes in business transactions with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
After several postponements over a year, Harder will be sentenced in US District Court in Philadelphia on July 18. On June 20, in the Central Criminal Court in London, Ryjenko was sent to prison for six years. A Crown prosecutor claimed: “Andrey Ryjenko repeatedly abused his position of power within a publicly-funded bank by accepting corrupt payments.” She added that without the US prosecution of Harder, his guilty plea, and agreement to cooperate in testifying against Ryjenko, there would have been no case. “This conviction was made possible through effective cross-border partnerships between a number of jurisdictions, including the United States.”
The UK lawyers who represented Ryjenko, barrister Jeffrey Chapman QC and solicitor Jessica Skinns of Bindmans, refuse to answer questions about the case, and will not release the evidence they presented in court. But lawyers who have reviewed the case in the UK and US say there was a loophole in the law on which the prosecution of both men has been based. US lawyers admit they didn’t know of it when they were arguing their case in Philadelphia a year ago that the charges against Harder should be dropped.
Court testimony in London and statements from the EBRD also reveal there has been a cover-up of intelligence agency involvement in the two cases, and political intervention in the longstanding conflict between the US government and other governments on the EBRD board and the bank management over how much, or how little money the bank should lend to and invest in Russia. (more…)