A Financial Times reporter has just published the claim that a London arbitration tribunal decided last Sunday in favour of Michael Calvey’s claims against Artem Avetisyan and Sherzod Yusupov. Calvey, Avetisyan and Yusupov are Moscow-based shareholders in the merger of Vostochny Bank and Uniastrum Bank. Counting their combined assets, the re-named Vostochny (Orient Express Bank) is the largest of Russia’s regional banks; the 32nd largest bank Russia-wide.
The reporter Max Seddon (lead image, left) is concealing that his information was prompted by Calvey’s (second from right) company and his lawyers in violation of the confidentiality rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Calvey remains in a Moscow jail, waiting for trial next month on fraud claims by Avetisyan (right) and Yusupov in relation to the Vostochny Bank which Calvey was in the process of selling to Avetisyan until they started to fall out. Seddon and his newspaper have taken Calvey’s side but they have yet to publish the evidence.
The true story of Calvey, his loss-making bank, and his effort to get out of jail with the aid of the London and New York financial press, can be read here. (more…)
Mikhail Abyzov (lead image from 2014) was arrested yesterday on charges of embezzlement and fraud, and is in prison on remand. The case against Abyzov for theft of Rb4 billion ($62 million) from regional electricity companies is the most significant criminal case against a Russian figure so far this year. This is because Abyzov’s fate also threatens Anatoly Chubais, once the head of the state electricity utility, United Energy System (UES); and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for whom Abyzov operated as a political financier and as Minister for Open Government.
“The President received the report [on the Abyzov case] in advance [of his arrest],”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has announced.
Abyzov’s application for bail and the prosecutor’s motion for extension of his imprisonment will be considered in an arraignment hearing this morning in Moscow. The Bell, an offshore internet publication representing the US faction in Russian business, reports that Abyzov often travelledto Russia from one of his homes in the US and Italy, and “did not suspect” he was under investigation. The Bell is reportingtoday that several others who worked with Chubais in the privatization of UES have already fled the country. (more…)
According to the rule of Soviet law, which Russians over the age of 40 believe, most forms of capitalism are a crime, especially investment banking. By the rule of modern Russian politics, if Alexei Kudrin, German Gref, and Andrei Kostin announce a man is innocent, he is bound to be guilty of something. When the London newspapers claim a man is as innocent of their Russian indictments as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and William Browder, then their culpability is certain.
In the case of American banker Michael Calvey, he was arrested and imprisoned in Moscow on February 14. He is charged with fraud by inflating the value of an asset he used his control shareholding in Orient Express Bank (Vostochny Bank is the Russian name) to arrange for the bank to buy at a $37 million profit for himself, and at a corresponding loss to the bank. He has made two court appearances and declared the charge is false. He has counter-charged two Russian minority shareholders in the bank for trumping up the case in their hostile takeover of the bank. His trial is scheduledto commence early next month, Judge Artur Karpov presiding.
The charge sheet has not been released by the court nor by the Moscow prosecutors. Calvey’s advocates in the press claim he is innocent, but they have not seen the indictment nor the evidence from the bank and transaction records obtained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) before Calvey’s arrest. Calvey’s lawyer refuses to answer questions. Papers from a Cyprus Supreme Court judgement involving Cypriot front companies for the bank shareholders have been selectively leaked to the pro-Calvey press, along with claims he is making in a confidential London arbitration proceeding. The reporters and lawyers won’t release these papers, or details from the asset valuations on which the case for fraud depends. One of the valuations has reportedly been carried out by the KPMG accounting firm; another by the Central Bank which has been inspecting Vostochny Bank’s books since it reached the verge of collapse in 2017.
Calvey raised his shareholding in the bank from 20% in 2010 to 64% by mid-2015. He was the control shareholder of the bank when its losses started to mount in 2013. Calvey was responsible on the bank board for losses in 2014 of Rb5.3 billion ($95 million); in 2015 the losses had almost doubled to Rb9.5 billion ($130 million); in 2016, the losses were Rb4.7 billion ($77 million). The Russian prosecutors haven’t charged Calvey with criminal loss-making, apart from the fraud count which allegedly occurred in February 2017. Calvey’s supporters have no explanation for his earlier mismanagement of the bank’s capital. The two Russian shareholders whom Calvey accuses, Artem Avetisyan and Shersod Yusupov, didn’t become Vostochny shareholders until the second half of 2016. That’s after Calvey had supervised accumulated losses over four years of $329 million.
“This is unprecedented. He’s a US citizen,” the Financial Times quoted a western backer of Calvey. He meant the fraud charge. Not the bank’s loss-making. (more…)
Twenty years ago, on April 25, 1999, the annual memorial service for ANZAC Day at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church of Moscow allowed the Turkish Ambassador to speak from the pulpit, in front of the altar. I walked out, and then protested to the Australian and New Zealand ambassadors – Ruth Pearce and John Larkindale at the time – for inviting the Turk to make a speech to the audience. It was unfitting to the history of the event for the representative of the enemy against whom the ANZACs fought, and of a country which had invaded and continued to occupy an allied country, Cyprus, to be permitted to speak at the ceremony. The protest was ignored. I became persona non grata at the two embassies. (more…)
Alexei Kudrin (lead image) is the longest-running candidate for regime change in the Kremlin who is not in jail, or outside the country. “We need a friendly global environment,” he told a business conference in Moscow last week. Currently chairman of the Accounting Chamber, the state auditor, Kudrin explained this is “currently not being achieved fully due to global geopolitical disagreements and sanctions. Russia should try to reduce this factor and to mitigate political disagreements and sanctions by way of talks and other means.”
Kudrin’s remedy, he added, is that Russia and the US “have to meet each other halfway.” (more…)
Oleg Deripaska has filed a lawsuit in federal US court in Washington, DC, requesting US help to save him “from… the devastating power of U.S. economic sanctions… in a manner that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.”
Deripaska has also accused the US Government of aiding and abetting the Russian Communist Party by accepting false accusations against him. In court papers lodged last Friday in federal district court in Washington, DC, Deripaska’s lawyer, Erich Ferrari, claimed that the Communist Party “which holds the second highest number of seats in the Russian Parliament and whose leader has publicly attacked Deripaska and organized rallies against him because of his divestment and relinquishment of control in the companies that were recently delisted by OFAC. Specifically, Gennady Zyuganov, has called for a criminal investigation of Deripaska for allegedly giving the companies ‘to the Anglo Saxons to control’ and for acting against the strategic policy and national security of Russia.” (more…)
“We have the right to expect,” Mikhail Gorbachev, then President of the Soviet Union, declared to James Baker, US Secretary of State, in Washington on February 10, 1990, “that you won’t just wait until the fruit falls into your basket”.
Baker relaxed. By “right” he knew Gorbachev was holding out a begging bowl. By “expect” Baker understood Gorbachev was crossing his fingers. By “just wait” Baker marvelled that Gorbachev appeared to be deaf to his advisors and the Soviet chief of staff, Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev. By “fruit” Gorbachev meant Russia and the Soviet Union. Of course, Baker and his colleagues and successors did more than wait, as Akhromeyev warned they would. The fruit did fall, Gorbachev first of all.
The lesson of Gorbachev’s political biography is that every Russian has the duty to expect the US Government will be doing much more than wait for Russia to fall into the American basket. Instead, to accelerate the fall and make it irreversible, the US Government wages permanent war against Russia. Failing to understand this was one of the reasons for Gorbachev’s retreat from the advance of American forces on all of Russia’s frontiers – the advance which President Vladimir Putin must defend against today.
What fresh lessons can an American historian’s study of Gorbachev add to the story which Gorbachev’s subordinates, one-time friends and former allies have already told in their own memoirs? Lessons which ordinary Russians have acknowledged for years? The lessons start with the Russian proverb President Ronald Reagan used to repeat at Gorbachev — Доверяй, но проверяй, trust but verify. This cannot be Russian policy towards the US because it’s never been American policy towards Russia. The correct expression should be: Никогда не доверяй, они мошенничают — never trust, they always cheat. (more…)
That’s an expression inventedby western politicians for their schemes of Russia warmongering, and for their media, universities and think-tanks to promote the military budgets required.
In this month’s case of Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian foreign minister scheming to replace Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in time to win the election eight months away, the expression means her rules-based order, not anyone else’s rules-based order. Freeland means Ukrainian rules, not Russian rules; US rules, not Venezuelan rules; Canadian court rules, not Chinese court rules; and most of all, she means Freeland to rule, not Trudeau to rule.
In Moscow, accordingto Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “we saw the attempts to usurp multilateral institutions, erode their interstate character and replace universal norms of international law by a sort of rules-based order. This term hides the desire to invent rules based on the political environment and in the interests of using them as a tool for exerting pressure against targeted states, and very often against their allies.”
In Russia since January 1, there is a new rules-based order.
It’s for fishing in the domestic rivers and lakes. Millions of amateur and sports fishermen across the country are up in rods and nets, if not up in arms, over what the rules will do to them. They accuse the government in Moscow of privatizing the fish with rules to reserve the choicest fishing spots for affluent angling clubs, hotels, foreign tourist companies, and other outsiders with money the locals lack. By limiting the amateurs to single-line rods and by prohibiting nets, the new rules-based order makes sure the fish stay plentiful where the well-heeled fishermen want them, turning everyone else into poachers. In this new rules-based order, poachers are easier to net than fish. (more…)
William Burns is the man who might have been US Secretary of State if Hillary Clinton had been elected President in November 2016. Since then he has been composing an apologia pro vita sua — a book of religious convictions describing what went wrong through no fault of his own or of God’s, explaining what a victim Burns and the United States have been of bad luck; bad timing; President Donald Trump’s “narcissism”, “erratic leadership” and “active sabotage”; and Russian malevolence.
To the ex-Ambassador to Russia and ex-Deputy Secretary of State, the Russian evil is a motiveless, psychopathological crime. Russians, especially the few high-ranking ones Burns met as a State Department apparatchik, can’t help themselves. There is no cause and effect between action and reaction, between US offence and Russian defence. Nothing Christian Brothers alumni and missionary Americans like Burns have done explains (in Burns’s tract) why the Russians behave so badly, and why their souls must forever burn in hell unless they repent. Five hundred pages of holier-than-thou, confessor to the wicked Russians — that’s been the Burns mission. (more…)
When India, one of Russia’s largest and longest-serving allies, was attacked by Pakistan in Kashmir since mid-February, the Kremlin sent condolences, expressed hope for a “prompt settlement”, and authorized Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to offer to mediate between the ally and its enemy. “Russia is ready to offer a negotiating platform for India and Pakistan to settle relations”, Lavrov told the state news agency Tass. “If they want to, of course.” The display of Russian equanimity and neutrality between its Indian ally and Pakistan, long a US ally, has produced open anger in the Indian media; dismay among senior Indian politicians, civilian officials and military officers.
“Indians would not admit it,” comments an influential Indian in Moscow, “but there are signs that Putin is fence-sitting. Lavrov even proposed mediation. That would be like India proposing to mediate between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. On the one hand, Lavrov says India and China will shape the new world order, but on the other, he talks like a [US] State Department spokesman.”
For the India-Russia alliance, the question Indians ask is: if not now, then when? Russia’s other strategic allies – China, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela – ask the same thing. (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.