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By John Helmer, Moscow

The state media organ British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is preparing a television broadcast on Oleg Deripaska and asking journalists in Moscow to help.  Deripaska is the Russian state aluminium monopolist. The cue for the BBC is the new round of sanctions which the US Treasury says it is preparing,   and the campaign of Russian race hatred which American and British government officials conduct each day.

The last television documentary the BBC did on Deripaska was aired in July 2009. The idea for that one was the presenter’s, Tim Whewell. Read more and watch the film by clicking

Left, Oleg Deripaska; right, Tim Whehell. Source: BBC Newsnight: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8146052.stm

This time BBC Panorama, edited by Rachel Jupp, has engaged a Romanian journalist who specializes  in what she calls self-shooting research, secret filming,  and undercover investigations. Her name is Oana Marocico.

Left, Rachel Jupp; right, Oana Marocico.

Marocico comes from Iasi, the second city of Romania. Its location, northeast of the capital Bucharest, is 600 kilometres from Deveselu, where a nuclear-capable US missile base became operational late last year. It targets Russia, and for that reason it is the principal target in Romania for Russian nuclear countermeasures.  For details, read this

When Marocico arrived to study film production in London, she wrote in her hometown social media “now she lives in London, a city that, says the journalist from Iasi, allows luxury to dream big. “

Last week Marocico’s big dream was a film on Deripaska. The emails tell Marocico’s story; and much about the BBC.


From: Oana Marocico-Panorama <Oana.Marocico01@bbc.co.uk>

Date: Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 2:09 PM

Subject: Confidential conversation (Transworld and Reuben Brothers)

Dear John,

I am a Romanian researcher working at the BBC, in London. I appreciate how busy you must be, but I was hoping that I could ask you a couple questions in confidence both ways around (no one would need to know we’ve spoken and I hope you will be ok to handle this confidentially).

I am trying to get a better understanding of Oleg Deripaska’s Transworld links to the UK in the early 2000s, particularly involving the Reuben Brothers. I know you’ve published several insightful articles on the matter.

I just want to discuss with you on several points published at the time in the press and some of the things you’ve written about, if possible please. Is there a time I could call you or could you call me on +44 ……, please?

Look forward to speaking to you. Thank you, John.

Kindest regards,



BBC Broadcasting House

Portland Place


W1A  1AA


From: John Helmer

Sent: 25 February 2018 20:37

To: Oana Marocico-Panorama

Subject: Thanks


Dear Oana:

Many thanks for your message. As I recall, the BBC’s expert on your topic is Tim Whewell. I don’t believe there’s anything informative I could possibly add to what Tim has to say — if I haven’t already said it.




From: “Oana Marocico-Panorama” <Oana.Marocico01@bbc.co.uk>

To: “John Helmer

Sent: 26/02/2018 12:48:55

Subject: RE: Thanks


Dear Mr. Helmer,

Thank you so much for your reply, I can appreciate how many less experienced journalists must bother you. I am working with a number of colleagues at the BBC, and will look into Tim Whewell. However, if there is any chance I could speak to you as well I would be very grateful: you are the undisputed expert on Deripaska’s business dealings, and hopefully may be able to point me to other people I can speak to about the Reubens as well.

What I’m hoping is that you can point me towards the best contacts who might in confidence help me to understand the Reubens’ business dealings and connections in the immediate post-Transworld period, right after they ceased to own Transworld, so roughly 2001-2005.

I would be super grateful for any confidential advice.

Please, let me know what your thoughts are.


Thank you.

Best wishes,



From: John Helmer

Sent: 25 February 2018 23:05

To: Oana Marocico-Panorama

Subject: Re[2]: Thanks


Dear Oana:

One small question from me: what are the names of the BBC colleagues to whom you refer?





From: “Oana Marocico-Panorama” <Oana.Marocico01@bbc.co.uk>

To: “John Helmer”

Sent: 27/02/2018 15:46:43

Subject: RE: Re[2]: Thanks


Thank you again for coming back, Mr. Helmer. That is a fair question. The best I can do, before we’ve spoken, is to say that there are staff journalists from both the BBC’s World Service and the BBC’s news and current affairs teams who I am working with to try to look at some of these issues.

I understand if not naming them means you won’t be able to offer any advice or have a chat over the phone, but it doesn’t seem right to send over team details / names by email on this sort of enquiry.

Just to confirm, I would be grateful if all correspondence is handled in confidence, not published.

Thank you again for coming back to me – I am grateful,



From: “John Helmer”

To: “Oana Marocico-Panorama” <Oana.Marocico01@bbc.co.uk>

Sent: 27/02/2018 19:26:29

Subject: Re[4]: Thanks



I’m not following so well. You wish to keep the names of your colleagues confidential while you ask me to disclose the names of my sources and provide you with confidential information I have not published — is that so?

I’m also puzzled. Like your colleagues and I, you work to the rule of our profession that everything you say is on the record unless you request off-the-record status in advance. The request in your penultimate paragraph is well, penultimate, isn’t it?




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