Archive for category Oligarchs

what about Belarus?

Belarus - click to enlarge
Ousted Kyrzyg President Bakiev has arrived in Belarus.

Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday he had arranged for Bakiyev to come to the Belarusian capital. His presence, however, could exacerbate Belarus’ tensions with both the West as well as neighboring Russia. “President Bakiyev and his family are in Minsk under the protection of our state and me personally,” Lukashenko said in televised remarks to parliament, adding that his guests were undergoing medical checkups.

Belarus borders Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Belarus seems to be a country that’s easy to miss. The country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in power for about fifteen years. The Bush administration described him as “the last dictator in Europe” heading up “an outpost of tyranny.” He is sometimes linked to Chavez of Venezuela, Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Kim Jong Il of North Korea. Axis of Evil stuff. Take it from where it comes.

Human rights campaigners and Western governments complain that opposition voices are harassed and stifled and independent media has been all but eliminated. Opposition activists are closely monitored by the secret police - still called the KGB. However, the president does enjoy the support of many Belarussians for maintaining political and economic stability - a campaign slogan in 2006.

In a land which lost one-third of its population in World War II, most people fear instability and the prospect of civil war far more than they fear their president. That makes the kind of popular uprising seen in Georgia and Ukraine unlikely in Belarus.

Lukashenko’s single mother raised him in a poor village. He admits to adopting an authoritarian style.

“An authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it. You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people’s lives.” ~ Lukashenko in 2003

Belarus enjoys reasonably stable relations with Russia. Belarus and Russia share many cultural, religious, and linguistic similarities. Belarus is much closer to Russia than to the West. If Belarus had to choose between the EU or Russia….

Does Belarus have to choose? Maybe someday.

Lukashenko brushes off criticism.

Mr Lukashenko appears undeterred by criticism, whether it be from home or abroad. “I’ve been hearing these accusations for over 10 years and we got used to it,” he said before polling. “We are not going to answer them. I want to come from the premise that the elections in Belarus are held for ourselves. I am sure that it is the Belarus people who are the masters in our state.”

He warned that anyone joining an opposition protest would be treated as a “terrorist”, adding: “We will wring their necks, as one might a duck”.


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Belarus depends heavily on Russian energy supplies, but Russian energy also travels through Belarus to European markets. Russia can apply pressure to Belarus by using alternate routes if Belarus makes moves toward the EU. (Belarus’ Oil Sector: A Target of Opportunity)

Belarus provides transit service for more that 70 million tons of Russian oil per year to Europe (not including the oil supplies to Belarus itself) through the Belarus Druzhba pipeline. This staggering quantity takes two directions from Belarus territory: one westward into Poland and Germany, and the other one southward via Ukraine into Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary (with pipeline links to each country). All these countries critically depend on Russian oil supplies through Belarus and Ukraine.

Druzhba Pipeline Map (source)
click to enlarge

Every country is valuable on the grand chessboard these days. So let’s assume there are those who would like Belarus to join the EU, and there are those who would like Belarus to rejoin Russia. And Belarus would presumably like to have options to exercise up until the last possible moment.

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In mid-2008 Belarus hired a professional PR firm to improve it’s image in the international community. Belarus hired Chime Communications and Lord Timothy Bell to run an information campaign as well as marketing campaign to make Belarus more attractive to investors.

As we have informed, on March 13 Lord Bell met with Alyaksandr Lukashenka. According to official reports, it was a private business visit. After the meeting with the Belarusian ruler Lord Bell told to journalists that his company works in many countries of the world “improving image”. The PR-manager believes that there are many “two-faced and hypocritical comments about Belarus” at informational web-resources. A serious work is to be done to change that, he said. The most important thing, Mr. Bell believes, is to make information about the country just, and true to reality.

Later Timothy Bell said in an interview to foreign media that he and his company would earn millions of dollars over improving of Lukashenka’s image of several years.

It should be noted that with the beginning of the British lord’s cooperation with the regime of Belarus political repressions, crackdown on opposition and disbanding of peaceful rallies intensified in the country. The cruel crackdown on the peaceful protest on March 25 took place two weeks after the first meeting of Lukashenka and Bell.

Within months, the Financial Times profiled Belarus. (’Last Dictator’ seeks to woo the west, 11/08)

Also interesting to see the official line on Belarus’s decision to go down the privatization road now — in reality because Russia isn’t prepared any longer to prop up the economy with cheap gas — is essentially, we decided to wait, we weren’t ready, we wanted to take our time and do things properly. And now we’re doing things properly. This fits nicely into Lukashenka’s old narrative of how Belarus was always blessed as it managed, due to his skillful leadership, to escape the ravages of criminal capitalism in Russia. (source)

Within one year, the PR campaign had produced some more positive results.

Lukashenko with his young son and the Pope in April 2009. (source)

Who benefits from this PR campaign? Well the campaign is supposed to make Belarus attractive to investors. So, presumably, the beneficiaries are: Belarus, and investors of The West.

But will Belarus strike good deals with investors of The West? That is always the question. Sometimes countries get into deals with investors, and the deals turn out to be not so good for the country in question. But they are great for the investors. See, for example, the continent Africa.

That could happen in Belarus if Lukashenko is not careful.

So Lukashenko hired Lord Tim Bell. Will that help?

Lord Tim Bell is a powerful, connected man. Lord Bell presumably knows many powerful, connected people who would like to do business in Belarus. For instance, Lord Bell handled PR for Margaret Thatcher, oligarch Boris Berezovsky, and Alexander Litvinenko. (source)

Would you like to do a deal with Boris Berezovsky?

Boris Berezovsky lives in the UK. He is not a fan of Vladimir Putin.


Shortly before he died of poisoning, Litvinenko publicly blamed Putin for involvement in his murder. But the murder has not been solved. (Who killed Litvinenko? The Independent, 11/25/06)

Known as Sasha to his friends, he had come to Britain in 2000 after turning whistleblower on the FSB, claiming he had been ordered to assassinate the virulently anti-Putin oligarch ­ and his subsequent patron ­ Boris Berezovsky. He was quickly submerged into Berezovsky’s circle of influential emigrés.

Last month we learned that Sergey Serykh, the man who, along with his wife and son, jumped to their deaths in Glasglow, Scotland, may have known who killed Litvinenko. (aangirfan: Servey Serykh, Litvinenko, and the Russian Israeli Mafia)

According to Vitali Alexandrovich, Sergey Serykh’s landlord in London, Sergey “said that since he defected from the Ukrainian secret services they were trying to assassinate him.
He said he knew who had killed Alexander Litvinenko (the Russian dissident poisoned in London in 2006).” (Daughter of asylum-seeker.)

But Serykh committed suicide before saying.

Also last month, Berezovsky won a Litvinenko poison spy libel case.

Businessman Boris Berezovsky has won a libel case over allegations he was behind the murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London. He was awarded £150,000 ($224,000) at the High Court over a claim made by Russian TV channel RTR Planeta. Mr Berezovsky, 63, said he had been a friend and supporter of Mr Litvinenko and the comments were “outrageous”.

Allegedly, Lukashenko and Berezovsky also know each other well.

Which relates to this, and this.

A lot of stories and intrigue. A lot of deaths.

What will happen to Belarus? With Poland reeling, will Belarus step out of the shadows? And if so, who will benefit? Will the Belorussian people benefit? Will Lukashenko make sure that it’s “the Belarus people who are masters in {their} state?” Will Lukashenko stick to the main thing, by his own words, which is: “not to ruin people’s lives?”

Something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE: Good article at Pravda: Belarus’s Lukashenko does not know what to do with so much enriched uranium

Removal of nuclear weapons from Belarus that occurred in 1996 was “a major mistake,” President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told media on 14 April during his working visit to Gomel region….

Them the Belarus leader complained that he was not invited for the world summit on nuclear matters held in Washington on April 12-13. Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan participated in the summit. At some point, Ukraine and Kazakhstan also had a part of Soviet nuclear arsenal which was taken to Russia in early 1990s.
“If you don’t want to give away the uranium, we will not invite you to the summit,” Lukashenko said. He said that unwillingness to invite Belarus to the summit is the proof that Americans and the West in general are not trustworthy.
“I will not allow anyone to bend over Belarus. We will talk only respectfully, like partners however hard America or Russia may pressure us. The pressure is from two sides and we feel it,” he added. Alexander Lukashenko added “if Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS states had been reliable friends, they would have made it a firm point: Belarus is ours and must attend the summit. Americans would have had nothing to do but agree.”
It may be that Lukashenko was simply offended that he was not wanted in Washington. And he is right. For the last 15 years the US have been calling him “the last dictator of Europe.” The warming of relations between Belarus and the West in the last couple of years mostly concerns the connections between Minsk and Brussels rather than Washington.

watch it spread

In March, Kyrgyz authorities were “spoken to” about their pressure on independent news channels.

In its letter, the OSCE has called on the Kyrgyz government to respect its international obligations to protect freedom of speech and to restore access to a number of online media sources and to Azattyk Radio (the Kyrgyz Service of RFE/RL). Similarly, “Press freedom violations seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity,” Reporters Without Borders and other groups have lamented. Since 10 March, agencies like ferghana.ru, centrasia.ru and paruskg.info (whose editor Gennady Pavlyuk was murdered last December) have been blocked.

Local sources report that independent media have been pressured not to report certain news or lose their licence. Consequently, many have refrained from publishing articles critical of the government. The opposition press has also been targeted. All 7,000 copies of the newspaper Forum were seized by the police in Bishkek on 15 March without any explanation, whilst its editor, Ryskeldi Mombekov, and five other journalists were detained. President Kurmanbek Bakiev appears eager to prevent news from reaching Kyrgyz that a businessman close to his inner circle was arrested in Italy on suspicion of mafia links. Mr Yevgeny Gurevich is a financial consultant to the Central Agency for Development, Investments and Innovation, which is run by the president’s son, Maksim Bakiev.

Not just “mafia links,” but links right to Berlusconi and other very highly placed people. Here’s the news that Bakiev wanted suppressed:

BISHKEK — A business associate of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s son says he will step down as head of his company after a warrant was issued for his arrest in Italy, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports. Yevgeny Gurevich, who is also known as Eugene Gourevitch, told journalists through a representative in Bishkek today that he is leaving all his posts to “fix misunderstandings [that have] occurred in Italy.” Italian media reported on March 9 that a judge in Rome had issued an arrest warrant for Gurevich, who is accused of embezzling some $2.7 billion from divisions of Telecom Italia and the Fastweb telecom company between 2003 and 2006.

So March 9th Italian media report the arrest warrant for Gurevich, and March 10th the websites are blocked. Because it’s not just Gurevich.

He is being charged with criminal conspiracy and money laundering as part of a bigger case involving dozens of others. Gurevich has reportedly held a U.S. passport since 1990. The MGN Group has been actively involved in the Kyrgyz investment market since 2008. It has numerous holdings, including banks, and is one of Kyrgyzstan’s most powerful conglomerates. MGN became a major partner of Kyrgyzstan’s Central Agency for Development and Investments, which is led by President Bakiev’s son, Maksim Bakiev. The acronym MGN is thought by many to stand for Maksim, Gurevich, and Nadel, the last name of businessman Mikhail Nadel. Both Gurevich and Maksim Bakiev have repeatedly denied having business ties with each other.

Kyrgyzstan’s state Development Fund, which reports directly to the president, announced today that it has annuled all agreements it has made with MGN.

As noted yesterday, MGN stands for Maksim, Gurevich, Nadel. In other words, the Kyrgyzstan president’s son, Gurevich the Kyrgyz Jewish banker, and Nadel the Russian Jewish oligarch.

MGN’s mission: “to realize the investment potential of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.” MGN receives a license in November 2008, and by the end of 2009 manages assets of $250 million. Key sectors of the Kyrzyg economy came under MGN management.

The Kyrgyz leadership also plays a prominent role in NATO logistics for Afghanistan. In Bishkek, Gurevich is considered the most influential financial consultant and government agencies and state corporations use his services.

Kyrgystan’s population: approximately 5,000,000. The number of Jews in Kyrgystan: approximately 1,200.

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Connections to Italy:

In Italy, the allegations include laundering money through fictitious companies set up in the UK, Switzerland, Panama and Luxembourg. (Excellent article at Russian Mafia.)

One of the people named in the warrant is Gennaro Mokbel. Allegedly Mokbel used his contacts in the Calabrain mafia to elect his friend to the senate. Mokbel has alleged relations to right-wing extremists including terrorists. He collects photos and memorabilia of Mussolini and Hitler. Italian newspapers suspect the group has connections with intelligence operatives, police and political leaders. One suspect, Paul Anthony O’Connor was often accompanied by a former agent of MI6.

Being confident that none of his calls could have been intercepted, Mokbel openly chatted on the phone. In one of the angry calls to “his” Senator - Nicolas Dia Girolamo - he is believed to go outraged: “You may become the president of Italy, but for me you will always be a doorman, or to be more precise - my slave.” The newly elected senator, as suggested, meekly replied: “Please forgive me.”

From November 1-3, 2009, the richest Jews in the world gathered in the luxurious palace of Silvio Berlusconi, as his personal guests. (On December 13th, a man struck Berlusconi in the face with a replica of the Milan cathedral. Maybe some symbolism there…)

The event is held regularly in various capitals of the world, the Israeli national fund “Keren Ha-Yesod” - International Leadership Reunion (ILR). Only the elect are invited to attend. 180 people.

Members of this Congress offers luxurious balls, inspections of palaces and villas of Italian nobility, traveling on Jewish places of Rome and visit closed to normal tourist facilities Vatican.

Oooh, that’s so nice.

The fund attaches great importance to the “business elite of post-Soviet space” — the CIS countries.

International Leadership Reunion (ILR) - an exclusive club sponsors “Keren Kha-Yesod,” brings together hundreds of leading businessmen and philanthropists. Among the members of this elite club are the following: Sheldon Edelson (USA), representatives of the De Rothschild dynasty, members of the Safra family, Mendel and Robert Kaplan (South Africa), Charles and Edgar Bronfman (Canada), Frank Lowe (Australia), Richard Pratt (Australia, New Zealand), Pierre Besnaynu (France) and many other representatives of the financial elite of various countries, including Russia and other CIS republics.

They “raised” $40 million dollars in three days. Look at these statements:

On three days’ stay in Rome, the largest Jewish philanthropists portal IzRus told a representative of the Keren Ha-Yesod, “in Russia Ronny Vinnikov. He said that the commemorations have begun in a symbolic location - near the Arch of Titus, which depicts the victory of the Romans over the Jews and the imposition of the menorah from the Temple of Jerusalem (AD 70). Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau asked the guests: “Where are those Romans and where are we? the language of the Emperor Titus long been told of his empire was nothing left, and Jews have preserved their language, have created their own state, and revived their culture.”

Then, Jewish philanthropists, accompanied by a government escort motorcyclists have visited the palaces of the president and prime minister of Italy, met with Speaker of Italian Parliament, the Mayor of Rome and the chief rabbi of the country. In one of the palaces of Italy’s best opera singers sang “Hatikva”. At the Villa Madama, the official residence of the Prime Minister for receiving heads of state, the Jewish oligarchs met at a top level - with a solemn guard, saluting each guest as a leader of a foreign power. By the way, the ball to Jewish patrons of the palace came from Berlusconi and the Ambassador Russia to Italy Alexei Meshkov.

“The joy of Jewish organizations and beneficiaries, the ranks of the world of philanthropy is increasingly supplemented by people of the” Russian “origin - those who live in the CIS, Europe, USA, Canada and Israel. The arrival of these people to charity - this revolutionary moment,” - said Ronnie Vinnikov. He expressed the hope that the leaders of world Jewry “open the door to benefactors of the CIS could go with the right foot to the leading position in the Jewish world.” According to Vinnikov, vote-rich Russian Jews should be equally heard on all matters of collection and distribution of funds from donations.

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Connections to the US (surely just a start):

In 2005, the NYT reported that Pentagon’s Fuel Deal is Lesson in Risks of Graft-prone Region.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - Soon after the American invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, the Pentagon opened an air base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan and made a deal to get jet fuel from the only two suppliers in the country. The companies just happened to be linked to relatives of the country’s president. Now the two businesses are under scrutiny by Kyrgyz prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who are looking into whether the president at the time, Askar Akayev, and his family pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars, partly from Pentagon fuel contracts, before he was ousted this year.

…Pentagon officials say the two businesses, Manas International Services Ltd. and Aalam Services Ltd., were used not because of their connections but because they were the only ones with facilities to transport and store fuel at the air base in Bishkek, the capital. Though the Akayevs may have benefited, the officials said, Pentagon rules do not bar contracts with companies that have ties to a foreign leader.

An internal F.B.I. report given to Kyrgyz prosecutors in September found that the two businesses might have been involved in money-laundering through accounts at Citibank in New York and the Dutch bank ABM Amro. The companies also had transactions with “a myriad of suspicious U.S. shell companies” associated with Mr. Akayev, his family and arms traffickers, the report said.

…Lacking its own facilities in Bishkek, Avcard, a Maryland aviation fuel company, proposed using Manas and Aalam as its only subcontractors there, said Warren E. Boin Jr., a company vice president. The Pentagon awarded the Maryland company the contract in early December 2001 without soliciting any other bidders, documents show. Kathryn Fantasia, a Defense Energy Support Center official, said in an interview that Avcard had been brought in because it had promised to meet the military’s needs, using Manas and Aalam or other suppliers.

Soon after the fuel deliveries began, Avcard’s president, Linda Kropp, said she had learned that Aydar Akayev, the president’s son, was a part owner of Manas. The general manager of Manas boasted about the Akayevs’ involvement, she said. She then asked about Aalam, where an executive told her that Adil Toiganbayev, the president’s son-in-law, was one of the owners, she said. The discovery led her to call Ms. Fantasia and Deborah L. Vankleef, the Defense Energy Support Center officials responsible for the fuel contract, to report that the president’s family members were benefiting from the deal. “They said they were aware of it from other sources and there really wasn’t anything they could do about it,” Ms. Kropp said. Ms. Hampton, the agency’s spokeswoman, said the two women did not recall that conversation.

Hmm. Wrong answer.
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According to this writer, the coup was about the base. I would just add: At the very least.

Russia considers the Central Asian Republics as its sphere of influence. ALl of them used to be part of the USSR. US encroachment into Central Asia is not welcome. Only those living in caves may not know the goings on in Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan’s deposed president, Kurman Baki (Russianized to Kurmanbek Bakiyev) took the Russians for a ride, and now he has paid for it. He tried to hoodwink the Russians by promising to shut down the US base. Mr. Kurmanbek did actually shut down the American base, he then took the Russian money ($2 billion) worth more than the total budget of the country and then double crossed Moscow by allowing the US to operate a base. Mr. Kurmanbek thus was trying to be very smart. The coup was all about the US base.

If Washington thought that Mr. Kurmanbek would get away with his double dealing then there are a few naive diplomats working in the State Department.

pretty much self-explanatory

More news from Kyrgystan — translated.

The scandal centered on a Russian Jew with American citizenship in Israel is not noticing. But, according to a Knesset, the story involving Italian politicians, mafia, big businessmen of the EU, USA and Russia and Kyrgyzstan, may continue in Israel.

In the last week in Kyrgyzstan, a scandal erupted in the center of which was a number of big businessmen of Jewish descent. The protagonist of this story was born in the USSR and U.S. citizen 33-year-old Yevgeny Gurevich. Authoritative Central Asian Internet resource Ferghana.ru dubbed him “personal financier (president’s) family Bakiyev, contributing to its partners in the project to control the most profitable sectors of the Kyrgyz economy.”

According to Western media, last week the Roman court issued a warrant for the arrest of Hurewicz, which Italian law enforcement authorities are suspected of involvement in criminal groups engaged in fraud and money laundering in the amount of billions of euros. In this case, were issued arrest warrants for 55 more people, including executives of several Italian companies and politicians from the encirclement of President Berlusconi [worth clicking through to this one -ed.] According to the Sun Francisco Chronicle, the 1600 pages of the indictment brought against Gurevich, alleged that he played a key role in laundering illegal proceeds of Italian criminals. According to La Stampa, employees of the Central Bank of Italy received a warning from the Cypriot colleagues that the company Gurevich used for laundering the proceeds through a scheme of carousel fraud and smuggling of tobacco and drugs, committed, apparently, in Italy and the United Kingdom. ” Austrian publication Profil added that the investigation of the case involved and law enforcement agencies of this state.

Chief Jew Kyrgyzstan

Publications in the Western media to embarrass the Kyrgyz leadership, which had a prominent role in logistics contingent of NATO in Afghanistan. In Bishkek, Evgeny Gurevich still considered the most influential financial consultant, whose services are used by government agencies and state corporations. In Kyrgyzstan, he founded the MGN Group, and before the outbreak of the “Italian scandal” is its CEO.  In October last year, Gurevich explained Kabar.kg, that its holding “is focused on Central Asia, and offers a range of services in asset management and corporate finance.”  He noted that the mission MGN - “to realize the investment potential of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.”  After receiving a license in November of 2008, the consulting structure in record time included in the list of its clients the biggest bank in the country AUB (AUB), the government’s Social Fund and Development Fund, whose shares are managed by the Central Agency for Development, Investment and Innovation (TSARII ), chaired by the President’s son Maxim Bakiev. By the end of 2009, MGN, according to Gurevich, managed assets totaling $ 250 million. He himself went to the boards of a number of major Kyrgyz companies as well as the International airport “Manas” (the leader of the local market in air services), “Power Station” (State monopoly for the production of electricity), Kyrgyztelecom, Kyrgyzgaz, etc.

Distribution of activity of holding company led by foreigners, especially in such a short time, the key sector of the economy led to mounting criticism not only to the Hurewicz as his alleged backers around President Bakiyev.  In the local media began to appear publications that MGN owes his meteoric rise to Maxim Bakiyev, eager with the help of foreign consultants to take control of the most profitable market segments. Gurevich categorically rejected such accusations.  “We are absolutely without any support for the president’s family or the government” - he said in October last year.  And only in February of 2010 MGN CEO said in his blog that “had the honor to meet recently with Maxim Bakiyev,” after he led TSARII (October of 2009).  “I do not have long to meet a more talented and creative leader,” - noted Gurevich, although the president’s son is in the country rather odious figure.

Linking Hurewicz with Bakiyev, Jr., and “implementation” MGN in the public sector of the economy, caused manifestations not yet characteristic of Kyrgyzstan’s anti-Semitism. This was facilitated by the fact that other key positions in the leadership of the holding and take Russian-American Jews, and business partner

MGN is the founder of a Russian Jew - the owner of AUB Michael Nadel, who played a role in the emergence of Yevgeny Gurevich in the Kyrgyz market. As a result, he himself declared Zionist, but on local Internet forums began to appear the following remarks: “Walking in the wake of the Max (Maxim Bakiyev) resulted in a financial power of the country’s Jews, amerovskih and Russian, for which Kyrgyzstan - a base for enrichment, and people for them - black cattle.  Journalism is one of the leading online editions of the republic is explained in this regard, local visitors and blog-sphere, that the Jews “was originally in the blood is no such thing as a conscience - therefore they Kyrgyzstan just another litter, they poimeyut and thrown out ….”

Against this background, it is natural that with the publicity “the Italian scandal, opposition leaders tried to use” popular anger “to intensify attacks on clan Bakiyev.  March 11 Party Ata-Meken, led by former parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev, demanded the resignation of the president and his son - Director TSARII.  They are accused of that lobbied for the “interests of individuals to the detriment of national interests” and created an environment in which private company will have a fabulous profits at the expense of the impoverishment of the population.  Another opposition activist Edil Baisalov added: “The company is so deeply intertwined Gurevich with the current regime, that it is not limited to just financial, he actively participated in the gosreformy, promoted the idea of constitutional change.”

March 10, leaving all their positions (including CEO MGN), Gurevich publicly responded to the accusations made against him by the Italian court. Categorically refuting them, and calling a “misunderstanding”, he said that he intends “to the end to defend his innocence and innocence in court.” But the next day to a warrant for his arrest in Italy added to the charges of the company Eventis Telecom, lost in last year’s control over the second mobile operator of the republic “Bimikom.  By announcing now Gurevich involvement in the raider attacks, representatives Eventis Telecom announced that they would seek redress through the Court of Arbitration in Stockholm.

Some customers and partners even Gurevich rushed to distance themselves from him.  Since March 10, the Development Fund announced the termination of the agreement with MGN. 12-second press-service of the Holding Company issued a formal statement, which stated: “the charges against Yevgeny Gurevich charges not related to the activities of MGN Group, and refer to that period of time when the company MGN Group did not exist.”

Although the number of the local Jewish community is just over a thousand people, the special role of Jews in Kyrgyzstan’s economy - not a new phenomenon.
Even before the overthrow of the first president, Askar Akayev, Bakiyev of the clan in 2005, a noticeable influence on the economy benefited from an approximate one of the key Kyrgyz politicians Felix Kulov - Yuri Sosnowski.  Being a native of the republic, the former staff member of the Institute of Physics and Mechanics of Rocks of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, in the early 90’s went into business, mostly food imports from Kazakhstan and Russia.  Eventually he became the unofficial financial adviser Kulov, who until the change of power had time to visit the vice-president, minister of national security, the head of Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Mayor of the capital.  After the coup, from mid-2005’s to the beginning of 2007, Kulov was the head of government, and another three months before the official formation of the new cabinet proposed Sosnovsky take the post of Minister of Finance.  Preferring to remain in the shadows, he refused such a tempting offer, and at the same time, the virtual monopoly of foreign trade contacts Kulov.  How then, and Gurevich, special attention he paid to the development of linkages with foreign investors, especially from Western Europe and the USA.  In 2006, Sosnowski tried to draw on the local market, and Israeli businessmen, in particular liaising with the former IDF Chief of Staff Lipkin-Shahak.

But as soon as the clan Bakiyev sufficiently appreciated in the power, the new president hastened to get rid of a strong competitor, and squeezed Kulov from the government.  Replaced by Yuri Sosnovsky came other “gray cardinal” of Jewish origin. Besides revealing that, on suspicion of Moscow in the coming to power clan Bakiyev played a role disgraced oligarch Boris Berezovsky and his partner, Latvian banker Valery Belokon (one of the biggest foreign players in the Kyrgyz market).

In the second half of 2000’s local and Russian media have brought to the role of the new “gray cardinal” Michael Nadel - the main shareholder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of AUB (AUB).  This - the largest commercial bank in Kyrgyzstan, which account for, according to Russian sources, “more than half of the republic’s budget, including salaries of employees of the public sector, all types of compulsory insurance, retirement savings, loans.  According to some media, AUB has managed to achieve such a special situation in the Kyrgyz market in no small measure due to the close connection with Bakiyev

This also contributed to the emergence of a banker in the country Yevgeny Gurevich. “I arrived in Kyrgyzstan, because my close friend, Michael Nadel, a long time working here, and built the most advanced and just a cool commercial bank in the country (and I helped him a bit) - Gurevich, admitted in early February of 2010 in its blog. For the three months before he is called AUB one of the main clients MGN Group.  However according to several media in the past few years Gurevich par with an allotment was a member of AUB Board of Directors.

As the portal IzRus one of the Knesset, which supports communication with Kyrgyz colleagues in Bishkek does not rule out that some representatives of business community of the republic, the situation will be interested to receive Israeli citizenship and even return to their historical homeland.

Interlocutor portal IzRus chose not to name any specific names, but noted that “there are already clear signs of this.” According to him, talking about individual representatives of an entire group of big businessmen and top managers, subject to the Israeli Law of Return.  And although almost all of them have American or Russian citizenship, “in the current difficult situation, Israel might be their ideal destination.”

“Another question: whether Israel is ready to accept them. In this case, is difficult to draw a parallel here with some of repatriated Russian businessmen. They are in contrast to the” Kyrgyz “colleagues before moving preoccupied by the creation of - sponsored various humanitarian projects, including those of national importance , acquired bonds among the local establishment. But representatives of the business community in Kyrgyzstan within the Law of Return, Israel has so far not interested. Moreover, the current scandalous background obviously will not help to provide them with Israeli citizenship, “- said the same MP.

In related news, 4/9/10:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel is following with concern the developments in Kyrgyzstan and, given the friendly relations between the two countries, unpleasantly surprised by the anti-Semitic incidents in Bishkek. We hope that the government clearly favors on this occasion.”

MK Amnon Cohen of Shas, is actively involved in relations with Muslim countries of the CIS, believes that Israel should be ready for more drastic measures if the new government of Kyrgyzstan is not put to anti-Semitism in the country….A native of Uzbekistan, Amnon Cohen, a member of Knesset since 1999 he has served as chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Association Israel, Uzbekistan, and is also active in relations with Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. The last time Cohen visited Central Asia last December, when held in Tashkent a series of meetings with senior Uzbek officials. In addition, the MP is considered one of the most prominent figures of the World Congress of Bukharan Jews , whose president is an Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev.

From April 2009:

Tuesday, March 31, several hours before the formal entry of Avigdor Lieberman into the new office, the Israeli ambassador in Astana Yisrael Mei-Ami, who is also a non-resident ambassador in Bishkek, presented his credentials to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Day on March 31 Mei Ami went to the residence of the president to par with the ambassadors of Egypt, China, Vatican, Mexico, Switzerland, Greece and Hungary, to present his credentials Kurmanbek Bakiyev. As the portal IzRus mentioned Kyrgyz officials, in the waiting room an Israeli diplomat shook hands with his Egyptian counterpart.

Addressing foreign ambassadors Bakiev stressed that Kyrgyzstan is ready to cooperate with Israel without exception in all fields and relations between the two countries have absolutely no problems.

After the ceremony at the presidential palace Tsur and Mei-Ami, met with leaders of the Jewish community of the republic, whose strength is about 1200 people. As the portal IzRus one of the local Jewish leaders, at the cocktail party was attended by more than a dozen guests, of whom stood out: the Chief Rabbi of Kyrgyzstan Arie Reichman, chairman of the Society of Jewish Culture “Menorah” Boris Shapiro, and the leader of the local branch of the international Jewish charitable organization “Hesed” ( “Joint”) Rose Fish.

…Before them, the last official representative of Jerusalem, visited Bishkek in June of 2008, was the then Deputy Foreign Minister Majali Uahabe. But the history of diplomatic relations established between the two countries in 1992, Kyrgyzstan has been only one representative of the Government of Israel - Avigdor Lieberman in July 2001 the.

administering the dope slap

In December a Russian journalist was murdered.

Gennadyi Pavlyuk, a well-known political journalist and media-expert, was pronounced dead December 22 in Almaty, Kazakstan. Pavlyuk’s death is the latest in a string of suspicious incidents and violent attacks against freelance reporters in Kyrgyz Republic. According to Radio Free Europe’s Kyrgyz branch, “Azattyk,” on December 16 in the city of Almaty (Kazakstan), Kazakh police responded to a report, arriving to a scene where unconscious Pavlyuk was found on the ground by a residential building, after falling off the sixth floor. (See more)
Kazakh police confirmed that Pavlyuk’s death was violent. RFE/RL reported that his feet and hands were bound behind his back with duct tape.
Pavlyuk has been working as freelancer for various Russian news agencies in Kyrgyzstan. He is also a founder of a popular and independent news outlet Parus.kg in the country.

I wrote a post about Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan
after reading a Sorcha Faal report (yes I know just stay with me for a sec…)…
which mentioned a secret Mossad base in Kyrgystan.

It was this paragraph that I found so interesting:

Important to also note in these reports is that the US spray plane shot down in China was reported to be targeting a secret Israeli base located in the Central Asian Nation of Kyrgyzstan, which many Ashkenazi Jews (Ashkenazi Jews make up approximately 80% of Jews Worldwide) consider their ‘spiritual homeland’ after their long exile their under Soviet Communist rule, and where Russian Intelligence Analysts report the Israelis are nearing the end of their decades long deciphering of the ancient Epic of Manas manuscript (with close to half a million lines the Epic of Manas is twenty times longer than Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad combined) that they believe contains our World’s oldest warning to our present age and which (coincidentally?) agrees with the ancient Mayan peoples that the year of 2012 will see the ending of our present age.

A month earlier I wrote about Birobidjan and the Northern Caucasus and the Khazars, excerpting from Koestler:

…The history of the Ashkenazi Jews was widely known and appreciated in the former Soviet Union. Ashkenazi militants traced the area where the Turkic Khazars originated before their migration to Southern Russia to Birobidjan, an Eastern Siberian area as big as Switzerland bordered by the Amur river, by China and Mongolia. Around 1928 they started building settlements with the Soviet government’s help and in 1934 the Autonomous Republic (Okrug) of Birobidjan Yevrei came into being with official languages of Yiddish and Russian. It is still there as an Autonomous Republic to this day, offering the only historically legitimate settlement area for Ashkenazi Jews willing to exercise their “right to return”…

And concluding:

Of course I can’t speak for anyone else but I find this amazing.

In fact, today, Birobidjan is a virtual Jewish paradise. The home of two synagogues, Birobidjan City has 77,250 inhabitants. Yiddish theaters opened in the 1970s. Yiddish and Jewish traditions have been required components in all public schools for almost 15 years, taught not as Jewish exotica but as part of the region’s national heritage.”

The Birobidjan Synagogue, completed in 2004, is next to a complex housing Sunday School classrooms, a library, a museum and administrative offices. The buildings were officially opened in 2004 to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast (JAR). Concerning the Jewish community of the region, Governor Nikolay Mikhaylovich Volkov stated that he intends to “support every valuable initiative maintained by our local Jewish organizations.”

But noooooooo. That solution would require a lot of people to eat a lot of words. I’m sure they’d rather die in some blaze of glory. And that’s why nobody talks about this because Jesus God who needs the pressure of some common fucking sense solution complicating sixty years of elaborate Zionist propaganda?

Hey maybe Birobidizhan wouldn’t solve anything but we’ll never find out if it can’t be discussed, right? Exactly. And it can’t be discussed because it de-links the Jewish narrative from the Holy Land, and the Jews can’t be God’s Chosen People unless they came from the Holy Land, and if they’re not really God’s Chosen People… well you see it all just falls right apart like spit and toilet paper.

So Birobidizhan doesn’t exist.

And about halfway between the Northern Caucasus and Birobidjan lies Kyrgystan. I was wondering about that Epic of Manas translation, whether that could be verified, and why Israelis would be so interested.

I think some people might have their eyes on more than natural resources.
It’s just a suspicion.
Knowing how people are.
But I could be wrong.

If you wanted to control how the Kyrgyz people think, aside from the terrorism method, you’d have to insinuate yourself somehow into their Manas epic, into their ancient history.

It would take time, decades perhaps, of scholarly work. Of cultural appreciation. Of sharing and helping, until the “discovery” of long lost brotherhood, before. Before.

^^^^^^^

And then the embarrassment of Richard Holbrooke at Manas last month, beginning of March.

…Holbrooke and his party become concerned when Kyrgyzstan 454 is late. When the flight arrives, Holbrooke is told Rigi is not on board the flight and that two men were taken off the plane at Bandar Abbas. Holbrooke, clearly embarrassed and angry, departs Kyrgyzstan knowing the Iranians have nabbed one of the CIA’s top assets in the military operations being planned against Iran. Holbrooke, one of the most powerful American Jewish Zionists in the Obama administration, has egg all over his face, courtesy of a well-planned Iranian intelligence operation.

So regarding Kyrgystan, it’s not clear to me what’s going on, but this might be a clue:

February 23, 2010: Moscow chills relations with Kyrgystan

Relations between longtime allies Russia and Kyrgyzstan seemed as close as ever when Moscow agreed to provide Bishkek with a $2 billion loan and a large grant in February 2009. The pledges, announced during a visit to Moscow by Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev, followed his surprise announcement that the Manas air base outside Bishkek would be closed.

Considering Russia’s vocal displeasure with the United States’ use of the base as part of its military operations in Afghanistan, observers widely assessed the announcements as a quid pro quo. That appraisal seemed to grow more likely when Bakiev and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev later signed a memorandum that would bring more Russian troops to Kyrgyzstan and allow Moscow to establish another military base there.

The developments caused concern near and abroad. In Washington, officials scurried to find an alternative air bridge to supply the military campaign in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan, meanwhile, shuddered at the thought of Moscow allying with its neighbors in regional squabbles.

One year later, however, Moscow is not concealing its anger with the Kyrgyz government and has frozen its financial pledges. Uzbekistan appears to be trying to use the discord to advance its own regional ambitions. And the United States is again using Manas, not as a base, but as a “transit station.”

According to Vitaly Skrinnik, the first secretary of the Russian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, everything was going fine between Bishkek and Moscow until Russia’s financial aid began to arrive in Bishkek.

…”Nobody will give you that kind of money with such low interest,” Skrinnik says. “But what does the [Kyrgyz] government do with the money? They establish a new foundation [the Central Agency for Development, Innovation, and Investment, headed by Bakiev's son, Maksim], deposit the money there, and begin loaning it out with interest.”

Skrinnik describes the Kyrgyz actions as “complete nonsense,” saying the funds were provided “to pay Kyrgyz teachers, doctors, police, judges, etc. The Russian State Duma had to pass a law about this money. But the Kyrgyz authorities decided to make money out of that money.”

Yeah, so they start acting like little bankers. What of it?

Presidential son Maksim Bakiev (source)
I would like to be a banker using the Russian people’s money!
What could possibly go wrong?
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reportedly made the Kremlin’s unhappiness with Bishkek apparent at a November meeting in Yalta with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Daniyar Usenov. The Kyrgyz weekly newspaper “Belyi parus” reported that Putin told Usenov: “I’ve heard there is family business going on in Kyrgyzstan at the state level. Why is Russian money to Kyrgyzstan going straight to commercial banks?”

Putin’s statement was seen as an answer to Usenov’s question about when the rest of Russia’s promised $2 billion would be delivered to Bishkek.

So then, not content with merely pissing off Vladimir Putin, Maksim decides to kick some sand in his face.
The Kyrgyz government, apparently seeking a new financial suitor, didn’t travel far. Last month, the increasingly powerful Maksim Bakiev — in his new role as head of the cash-infused Agency for Development, Innovation, and Investment — led a high-profile Kyrgyz business delegation to China.

Modest Kolerov, editor in chief of the Regnum Information Agency in Moscow and who worked in the Kremlin from 2005-07 as chief of the department for interregional and intercultural relations, says the Beijing visit outraged Moscow.

“Maksim Bakiev, without waiting for the results of negotiations with Russia — negotiations on vital projects in Kyrgyzstan — goes to China, and offers to China some of those projects,” Kolerov says. “This kind of approach — it would be an understatement to call it ‘irresponsible’”

Among the investment opportunities reportedly discussed was the Kambar-Ata hydropower plant for which Moscow had already pledged funds, and which it had expressed interest in helping construct. A group of Chinese specialists recently visited Kambar-Ata and inspected the site.

Kolerov downplays the role the U.S. use of Kyrgyzstan’s Manas air base has played in Bishkek-Moscow relations. But he says the way in which Bishkek apparently played the United States and Russia off each other — offering Washington use of the base as a “transit station” after initially having told the United States the base would be closed — certainly damaged bilateral relations with Russia.

What a dope.
And then there is the matter of the Russian journalist who was tossed off a building.
There are other apparent bones of contention as well. Moscow has expressed concern over several incidents in which ethnic Russians have been attacked and beaten in Bishkek in recent months, not to mention the killing in Almaty of journalist Gennady Pavluk, who was thrown from a high building after having his arms and legs bound with masking tape.

One of the ethnic Russians attacked was Kyrgyz political scientist Aleksandr Kniazev, the director of the regional branch of the Moscow-based Commonwealth of Independent States Institute think tank, who was beaten in December in Bishkek. It was Kniazev who then announced at a press conference in January that that all assets and bank accounts in Russia that belong to Maksim Bakiev had been frozen due to a criminal investigation launched against them.

There were no media reports of such actions having been taken against any Russian-based assets belonging to Maksim Bakiev or anyone else in the Kyrgyz government. The statements by Kniazev are seen by many as a public warning from Moscow to the Kyrgyz government.
Kniazev is still in Bishkek, and has not been sued or charged with defamation. For his part, Maksim Bakiev denied the reports and that he has assets in Russia.

And we even have an oligarch in the mix.
In addition, there is also the well-known shadow of former Russian oligarch and Kremlin enemy Boris Berezovsky looming over Kyrgyz-Moscow relations.
Right after the 2005 Tulip Revolution that brought President Bakiev to power, Kyrgyz authorities were accused publicly — in parliament — of having secret relations with the self-exiled tycoon.

Kyrgyz officials, and even Berezovsky, denied any connections existed between them, but his influence and role in relations with Moscow are among the topics often discussed in Kyrgyzstan.

The palpable change over the past 12 months in Russian-Kyrgyz relations seems to be caused by an intentional disregard by Bishkek to Moscow’s wishes. Although it is unclear how upset the Kremlin is with the Kyrgyz government, one must note that Kyrgyz public opinion is strongly pro-Russian — over 90 percent of Kyrgyz in some surveys say they trust Russia – and be wary of the Kremlin’s ability to manipulate Kyrgyz politics if it so chooses.

March 10th, Maksim Bakiev is being asked to leave.

NARYN, Kyrgyzstan — Some 3,000 people rallied today in the central Kyrgyz city of Naryn to demand that President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s son, Maksim, resign as head of a state agency and leave the country, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

April 8th, they’re out.

The toppled President of Kyrgyzstan refused to admit defeat today despite a bloody uprising against him and formation of an interim government. Opposition leaders announced that they had taken power after a day of rioting that left as many as 100 dead and hundreds wounded. Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, has in effect recognised the new leadership and the opposition this morning took control of the country’s armed forces. They also demanded the resignation of President Bakiyev, who has fled to the city of Osh, in his southern heartland, after demonstrators set fire to government buildings and fought running battles with riot police in the capital Bishkek.

Punk: 0, Putin: 1
works for me

the virtuoso

Philadelphia area attorney charged in sex tourism case

by KYW’s Tony Hanson
A Philadelphia area attorney, who formed a foundation to assist aspiring performing artists reach their goals, is now charged in a sex tourism case involving a former student at the Bolchoi Academy. The defendant, who allegedly sexually assaulted the victim for years beginning in 1998, has been arrested in Cyprus and is awaiting extradition.

The Apogee foundation’s stated goal is to discover, develop and celebrate the creative potential of mankind, but  federal authorities alleged the president and founder of Apogee, Kenneth Schneider, used his wealth and position to victimize a pre-teen boy for years - starting at age 12. Federal authorities say the boy’s family could no longer afford the Bolshoi fee and Schneider offered to help. The boy would live with him.  The federal complaint says the boy’s parents had serious reservations, but agreed. U-S Attorney Michael Levy: “Anybody who is a parent knows you want the best for your children and you’ve got a child who has talent and can really do well, but you can’t afford it. And here is somebody coming forward to say your troubles are over.”

Schneider’s attorney has declined comment.

Actually it was an eight year relationship. The accused fled to Cyprus presumably to avoid prosecution.

And he’s actually a little more than just a Philadelphia area attorney. That’s so modest. Wait till you see what a rock star this guy is.


Kenneth Schneider, 45, is president and chief executive officer of Aurience Ltd., a mergers and acquisitions firm based in London and the founder of the Apogee Foundation, a philanthropic arts group that funds young performing artists.

According to the indictment, Schneider was working as a legal consultant in Moscow in 1998 when he met a 12-year-old boy who was a student at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

The boy, identified in the indictment by his initials, had been forced to leave the academy because his parents could not afford to pay the tuition.

Schneider offered to pay for the boy’s schooling and proposed to the parents that the child live with him in his Moscow apartment. The parents agreed.

Soon afterward, Scheider began “grooming” the boy for sexual contact by touching and kissing him and buying him gifts, according to the indictment. Eventually, Schneider engaged in intercourse with the boy, the indictment states.

In 2001, Schneider brought the boy to Philadelphia to study for the summer at the Rock School for Dance Education. Schneider and the boy, then 15, returned to Russia, where the sexual relationship continued, according to the indictment.

The dancer, now 24, lives with his wife, whom he met while studying at the University of the Arts.

A civil suit filed in Philadelphia by the dancer in 2007 prompted a federal investigation, Levy said.

It claims Schneider created the Apogee Foundation in order to make illicit contact with young male performers in the former Soviet Union.

Schneider promised to use the foundation’s influence to make the boy a star, according to the suit.

When the dancer began a relationship with his future wife, Schneider threatened to have him deported back to Russia and “his hopes of any career would be ruined,” the civil suit states.

As a result of his relationship with Schneider, the dancer suffered “inconsolable shame and depression,” says the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.

You might want to mosey over to see the logo: http://www.apogeefoundation.org/about/index.php.
Here’s an excerpt from a bio of Schneider written by Daisy Scott, World Web Media, a “research and journalism group based in New Delhi, India.” (I guess he is the main client.)

Kenneth Schneider Apogee Foundation and Aurience Ltd emerged to fulfill a dream much bigger than any one man: a dream for all mankind to dream and fulfill together. Kenneth Schneider Apogee Foundation and Aurience Ltd are thus like the knights and wizards of a modern-day fairytale — reaching into the past to help the world overcome the challenges of the present and summon into being a better future. But this is a real-world story with real-world heroes: fulfilling a mission that is as challenging as it is worthwhile, the quest for the real-world holy grail.

Oh The Drama.

Actually, the dramatic bio mentions that Schneider used to work for Millhouse Capital in London.

Milhouse Capital is a Russian holding company, whose current CEO is Roman Abramovich, a business associate of Oleg Deripaska. They are among the “New Money Oligarchs” whose rise to prominence and wealth was fostered by the Yeltsin administration. The roots of this company date back to the “Cold War”, when Richard Nixon initially invested in Russia, hoping that his investment would be mutually beneficial to the former Allied Nations during WWII. The founding CEO’s, Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska used connections with the Russian Aristocracy, known as “Oprachinas” to formally incorporate the entity. The company made them two of Russia’s wealthiest persons, as noted by Forbes Magazine[citation needed].
Today, in 2009, the company has seen better times, but through a strategic investment portfolio, is poised to make a big comeback[according to whom?], as the world’s economy improves. (Wikipedia, links removed.)

So it’s possible that when Schneider was working as a “legal consultant in Moscow in 1998,” he might have been working for Abramovich.

I mean, to downplay his status as a mere “Philadelphia area attorney” or a “man charged” with molesting a Russian pre-teen, as these headlines do, truly fails to appreciate Schneider’s contributions to humanity.

Here’s another bio, this time written by Richard Morrison.

Kenneth Schneider’s career has included mastering everything from music and mathematics to philosophy and physics and from linguistics and law to education and economics in the course of a stunning path taking him to and beyond the world’s leading academic institutions, professional firms and international powerbrokers. Throughout his life, Ken Schneider seems to have taken on mankind’s most complex challenges on scales larger than life itself by demonstrating an intellectual virtuosity so unlimited that it can transcend fields, nations and cultures.

During his early period as an international financial attorney practicing with several of the world’s leading law firms in New York and London, Schneider masterminded new ways of thinking about his own profession while handling headline transactions in more than 50 countries on all six inhabited continents. But he would literally rewrite history itself when he agreed to focus these skills on the revitalization of the former Soviet Union’s (FSU) newly free and completely chaotic economies at the end of the millennium. In 1993, Kenneth Schneider undertook an assignment to represent the government of one of the FSU’s largest and most resource-rich republics: rewriting their legal frameworks and negotiating foreign investment on a massive scale that would enable not only the economic but the social redevelopment of the nation.

Fluent in Russian and realizing that the FSU covered one-sixth of the Earth’s land surface and contained a quarter of the world’s natural resources, Ken Schneider would followed this opening act by relocating to Moscow, the heart of the former Soviet empire, to play a major role in changing the course of world history. In the years concluding the old millennium and beginning the new, Schneider marshaled his full spectrum of intellectual abilities and professional skills to reposition the very role of the intellect and of the professions in creating an era of unprecedented opportunities for massive transformation. Kenneth Schneider brought to bear his well-honed skills as a legal and financial virtuoso to rethink and reintegrate the old with the new and the best of East and of the West into new paradigms on which the future economic progress of the FSU – and of the world – could be re-founded.

In the series of monumental engagements that followed – sweeping across Eurasia from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic to the Indian Oceans – Ken Schneider did nothing less than redesign the legal and financial infrastructure of what had been the world’s largest empire. In doing so, he created a new fusion of emerging and mature market paradigms and Eastern and Western priorities that resulted in entirely new standards and models for legal and financial professionals not only throughout the FSU and other developing economies around the globe, but also in the world’s legal and financial centers where past generations’ touchstones had originally been developed.…With the arrival of the new millennium, Kenneth Schneider would outdo even these accomplishments upon becoming one of the founding members of Millhouse Capital, which – within an amazingly brief time – would have under management the largest collection of FSU assets ever assembled.

HOO! Boy.

i forgot the towel to kneel on

Well anyway, while Schneider was busy remaking the world with his bare hands, some deals might possibly have gone down that later maybe possibly looked a little teensy bit shady. NOT that Schneider would have necessarily had anything to do with these deals. I am not suggesting that. But Boss Roman Abramovich did come under scrutiny of Swiss authorities in the possible misuse of an IMF loan to Russia, and Schneider was reportedly doing “nothing less than” redesigning “the legal and financial infrastructure of what had been the world’s largest empire.” So it seems fair to ask…

From aangirfan, Banks and Crime, October 14, 2008:

5. The Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich was a suspect in the case of the possible misuse of a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF to Russia. (Did the $4.8 billion loan from the IMF to Russia finance the Chelsea Football Club…)

Abramovich and his Runicom trading group were named in documents from a Swiss inquiry into what happened to money meant to help Russia.

The Swiss believed that Abramovich was one of the controllers of a web of slush funds.

US Federal prosecutors allege that the Bank of New York was linked to $7 billion in Russian money, some from criminal activities.

Some allegations have said the Bank of New York case included funds lent to Russia by the IMF.

(For further reading on this sort of thing, like money laundering through professional sports teams and such, see Rome: “the promised land of foreign mafias.”)

Unfortunately, the Swiss were forced to abandon their investigation because Russian and US authorities refused to divulge what they knew of the scandal.

For the first time, the Swiss have publicly revealed why they were forced to abandon their investigation. Russia and the United States, it has emerged, refused to divulge what they knew about the scandal.

Marc Tappolet, the Geneva investigating magistrate in charge of the criminal inquiry, said that both superpowers ignored his repeated requests for help. Neither country would even reply to formal applications made through diplomatic channels for legal assistance.

As a wall of silence was erected from Moscow to Washington, the investigation was marred by violent intimidation. Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, the investigating magistrate who launched the Swiss investigation, was left bleeding and unconscious in an attack in St Petersburg during a visit to Russia.

Millhouse Capital, of which Schneider was a founding member, was very active during the time of the investigation, divesting assets and reinvesting, and moving money around. But…

No evidence linking Abramovich to the IMF funds was ever reported. (wink wink)

Might Kenneth Schneider have possibly applied his intellectual virtuosity somewhere in here, someplace? Especially since the IMF loan was made back in 1998, right around the time that Schneider had moved to Moscow and was working as a “legal consultant.” We don’t know. Way back in 2000 a freelance journalist, Lucy Komisar, spent three months in Russia investigating the impact of offshore bank and corporate secrecy. She reported on this missing $4.8 billion loan.

The $4.8 billion was supposed to avert a financial collapse brought on by widespread stripping of Russian assets, capital flight, and looting of international loans and investments. It was purportedly given to allow major Russian banks to buy rubles and stabilize the currency.

But according to Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the security committee of the Duma, Russia’s legislature, the money “was robbed.”

“The IMF money was sent from the Bank of New York via Russia to the Frankfurt Ost-West Hendelsbank, an affiliate of the Central Bank,” he said in June. …Ilyukhin claims to have copies of the paper trails showing $235 million went to the Bank of Sydney, was changed to pounds sterling and went to Great Britain with the help of Dyachenko. “Another part, $1.7 billion, went to the Swiss Bank of Lausanne. Our information is that Chubais and Berezovsky were involved,” Ilyukhin claimed, with a major part of that going to the Bank of New York. “In this, Chernomyrdin was involved.”

…Washington, the IMF, and Moscow (which has to repay the $4.8 billion loan) should be eager to recover any money that was diverted. But political interests apparently make them very reluctant to follow the money trail.

Masterfully done.

But was Schneider involved? Who knows. He may have been very busy doing other things at that time, like setting up the Apogee Foundation and grooming his boy.

the pure driven snow

“Do you guys understand now? Putin is the puppet of a few oligarchs, that fought against another faction of oligarchs.”
(source — see comments)

March 2009:

Putin’s retinue of loyal oligarchs—such as Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Potantin, Igor Makarov, and others—are now beginning to realize that Putin, their protector for nearly a decade, will not be able to protect them much longer; and each man will have to fend for himself in order to survive, even if this involves stripping the assets of their own companies. (Jamestown Foundation)

March 2010:

Russia has more billionaires than any other country in Europe, according to Forbes’ annual list of the world’s richest people. The number of billionaires in Russia has doubled in just over one year, from 32 to 62 persons.

50 of the 62 Russian billionaires live in Moscow which makes the capital of Russia #2 in the “billionaire city” list, with New York topping it with 60 of America’s super-rich and London in third position with 32 billionaires.

Vladimir Lisin, the Russian steel producer, was named Russia’s wealthiest man with US$15.8 billion dollars and has settled on the 32nd line of Forbes’ billionaire rating list He leapfrogged last year’s winner, ONEXIM Group owner Mikhail Prokhorov ($13.4 billion), TNK-BP’s managing director Mikhail Freidman ($12.7 billion) and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich ($11.2 billion). (Russia Today)

^^^^^^^

This is strictly my opinion, but Putin takes his job and the Russian people a lot more seriously than any American politican I’ve seen in my lifetime.

For evidence, please see this excerpt of his three four hour Q&A session in which he took questions from people all over Russia on a wide variety of topics and answered fully and thoughtfully from his head.

Question: Mr Putin, how do you relax after such marathons? Do you have any special relaxation techniques?

Vladimir Putin: I do not get that stressed, so I don’t need to do anything special to relax. This is part of my work, and it is a very useful part. Of course, it requires greater concentration, and you need to put extra time into the preparation. But in fact the preparation does not take that long, because my colleagues and I work hard throughout the year, dealing with all the problems mentioned today.

Question: This is your tenth Question & Answer session on TV. I understand that when you actually visit the place, you have enough time to go into the problems in some depth. But this four-hour session requires immediate response from you. Isn’t that too much pressure?

Vladimir Putin: Certainly not. Let me repeat that I consider this kind of work extremely useful, especially in this new format. I was able to return to the companies I visited. I did not just study their problems on my visits, we sat down together and tried to find and draft solutions, to set goals for the federal and regional government bodies, and company shareholders. Then we tried to implement our plans together; and we keep trying now.

This is not the sort of thing people in The West hear about Putin. But he does his damn job and politicians in The West do not, so he makes them look bad, see? Therefore we shouldn’t hear about it.

In any case, whether or not certain oligarchs toy with him and use him while other oligarchs busy themselves throwing him under the bus, it seems to me that he would not appreciate it either way.

^^^^^^^

One of the oligarchs, Michael Cherney, is not one of “Putin’s komanda.” He lives in Israel.

This Website will discuss and examine Russian oligarchs. Who they are, their contributions to society and the harassment that many of them have suffered under the government of Vladimir Putin.

A Business oligarch is a synonym for a Russian “business magnate” or “tycoon.” These are honest, intelligent and hard working individuals who have built up substantial financial resources and as such share many social responsibilities. Some oligarchs have political power while others may influence such power as a result of their potent roles in domestic and international trade and commerce. The term oligarch came into wide circulation after the collapse of the Soviet Union in application to the people that became extremely wealthy in some post-Soviet republics.

Russian oligarchs are business entrepreneurs who started under Gorbachev during his period of market liberalization. Oligarchs emerged as well connected entrepreneurs who started from nearly nothing and secured wealth through participation in the marketplace with democratically elected, government of Russia during the state’s transition to a market-based economy.

Mikhail Chernoy (Michael Cherney, Mikhail Chernoi, Mikhail Chorny) is one of the so-called Russian oligarchs. Cherney resides in Israel, where he established the Michael Cherney Foundation whose purpose is to aid the victims of Islamic terrorism.

^^^^^^^

Last fall Lieberman reported to Israeli police investigators that a brown folder appeared on his desk with transcripts between him and his friend, Michael Cherney. This story is dated December 12, 2009.

The folder which Lieberman was surprised to see on his desk contained e-mail printouts, most of which in Russian. Having read them Lieberman was seized with the suspicion that a certain organized group was secretly tapping his telephone conversations with a close friend of his – Michael Cherney, a businessman and a multimillionaire.

“It was evident from those e-mail transcripts that attempts had been made to bribe politicians of Israel and Great Britain”, Lieberman said, “and it was clear to me that there was a connection between the organized group’s representatives and the police.”

…When the investigating authorities conducted searches in the suspects’ residences, it became clear that the main target tracked was not Avigdor Lieberman but Michael Cherney.

Reportedly, Cherney and Lieberman speak to each other every day by telephone and have since 1996.

Meanwhile Cherney and Oleg Deripaska are locked in a bitter legal battle over soured business dealings.

Deripaska belongs to “Putin’s revenue of loyal oligarchs.”

But Cherney really likes Lieberman. A lot. Cherney claims to be persecuted, demonized by Deripaska and his cohorts. His friend Lieberman is being dragged down into the mud too, because of Deripaska, who allegedly owes Cherney money, like three billion dollars. By the way.

“In the past 13 years, there have been no bigger enemies to The System than me and Lieberman. We are like Satan. Worse than terrorists even”, said Cherney angrily. “Just try to imagine yourself in my and Lieberman’s shoes in order to understand all that. It costs me even more dearly because someone believes that to do a great harm to a person, that person’s friend should be made to look like a wicked character, the biggest villain on earth”.
“And who, in your opinion, runs that puppet show?”
“I don’t know.”

Avigdor Lieberman (source)

…Cherney says that the image of a mafioso, which has been attached to him as a result of lies and compromising campaigns, created by former associates of the secret Soviet services. According to Cherney, the only thing he did was to avail himself of the situation. The economy was being born again: everything that was not forbidden was permitted.

And how is he supposed to defend himself from this onslaught?

^^^^^^^

The Michael Cherney Foundation supports Israel Flying Aid. Remember that? Gal Lusky’s organization.

As the Israel Defense Forces continued to care for and transfer the critically injured to other hospitals, they slowly began to pack their supplies and take down their green tents. The IDF had arrived within 3 days of the earthquake and within 8 hours were operating on patients.

But contrary to press reports that Israel is leaving this Caribbean nation, Israel Flying Aid has announced that it plans to move its tent camp to a nearby orphanage.

Yesterday, Israel Flying Aid and the Israel Defense Forces visited an orphanage in Haiti where they examined 50 children who were suffering from severe starvation. Many of the children had bloated stomachs, something that Jews had not seen since the Holocaust. An IDF Lt. Colonel and three nurses began to vaccinate the children, while professional clowns which were brought to Haiti by Israel Flying Aid, provided the children with treatment for trauma. The children quickly grabbed and ate the fish, rice, beans and fresh milk that IFA had brought to them – food that they had not seen for almost two weeks.

Israel Flying Aid and Orange Israel Telecommunications announced that they plan to aid humanitarian efforts in Haiti by creating an orphanage which will immediately accommodate 70 children. This will be the first of three stages of establishing an orphanage which is expected to absorb over 200 children in Haiti.

The above news story was edited and SEO optimized by the Leyden Communications Internet Marketing, Digital PR, New Media, Crisis Communications Group www.IsraelPr.com with sponsorship for coverage of the Haiti earthquake disaster by the Bernard Leyden Memorial Foundation, Michael Cherney Foundation and the Rochelle and Richard Maize Foundation.

The Michael Cherney (Mikhail Chernoy) Foundation renders help new arrivals to Israel, victims of catastrophes, terrorist acts and to low-income victims of terror in other countries. The Michael Cherney Foundation is also involved in the news, media and information effort with regards to providing facts on Israel democracy and Islamic terror.

Remember?

teevee pimps

Oh brother. I was going to tell you about this new show offered by the same teevee station, Imedi, that ran the fake news of Russia invading Georgia… remember that? Vineyard of the Saker covered that fiasco here.

Georgia

In case you’re interested, you can read about the new show here, here, here. Evidently the people at Imedi want to sex up those uptight Georgians, so they hired a playboy bunny hostess to show them the ropes. Even MSN Lifestyle covered the news, so you *know* that Georgia must be a bunch of people desperately in need of loosening-their-morals cultural help from “The West.” So anyway, interesting as that may be, I couldn’t help but wonder, who own this station?

Well, I am not the only person to wonder.

First off, here’s an excellent analysis trying to make sense of who would decide to run the war simulation and why…

The most down-to-earth question remains: why exactly did Imedi embark upon this adventure controversial and potentially risk the survival of the media group? A citizens’ movement has already announced that it would drag the matter to court. In the fake report, the use and falsification of outrageous lyrics and existing persons of importance (Barack Obama, Eric Fournier, the French Ambassador, the leaders of Baltic states and Poland, who all called for aid to save Georgia ) would be sufficient to bring down the group in the lawsuit.

Currently, Imedi is run by a close associate of President Saakashvili, Giorgi Arveladze. However, it differs from the public channels and those that are clearly and openly allied to the power such as Rustavi 2. For a time the opposition’s main media source, owned by Badri Patarkatsishvili–personal opponent to Saakashvili–had been closed following the events of November 7, 2007. After the astonishing death of Patarkatsishvili during the presidential campaign in which he participated, the question of its ownership, with the purchase of a major part of shares by a certain Joseph Kay, whom the opposition accuses of being a government agent, has been a murky issue. In any case, Imedi has since become another voice of the party in power.

About Giorgi Arveladze: “A longtime ally and deputy of president Mikhail Saakashvili, Arveladze was a central actor in the Rose Revolution of November 2003. He was put in charge of President Saakashvili’s PR campaign of 5 January Georgian presidential election.” (wikipedia)

Supposedly Arveladze did not expect the simulation to cause such a panic. Mm hmm.

^^^^^^^

As for the mysterious Joseph Kay…

Kay *claimed* to be the cousin of the last owner of the station, who died of a “heart attack” while exiled in the UK.

The last owner of the station, Badri Patarkatsisvili, was a Jewish Georgian oligarch. He was into it all — all the typical oligarch business interests, dirty cut-throat dealings, the whole thing.

Arkady Shalovich Patarkatsishvili, was born in 1955, to a family of the Jewish Georgian intelligentsia in Tbilisi, then capital of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. …[big snip covering his life as an oligarch - ed.]

Although Patarkatsishvili had initially supported the administration of President Saakashvili, he became disillusioned, notably after the mysterious death of the Prime Minister, Zurab Zhvania (obituary, February 4, 2005) . He became involved in opposition politics, and it was after a rally in November last year that the Georgian government declared a state of emergency, shut down Imedi and accused Patarkatsishvili of plotting a coup. The station was later allowed to reopen.

Patarkatsishvili went into exile in Britain and Israel. In December it was claimed in The Sunday Times that a Georgian government official had been plotting to kill Patarkatsishvili. Despite this, he launched a chaotic campaign in the snap presidential elections called by Saakashvili. Unable to return to Georgia, and pulling out and then re-entering the race days before the vote, he scored only 7 per cent.

Despite this failure, Patarkatsishvili was a household name in Georgia. People knew him for his eccentric appearance, with his moustache a flamboyant blaze of white on his upper lip - and for his excesses. While he was in Moscow rumours spread that, for example, he bought his wife the whole floor of an apartment block in the heart of the city. He also owned a large estate in Georgia, as well as the Dinamo Tblisi football team, and a multimillion-pound mansion in Leatherhead, Surrey, where he died

I’m guessing a split opened up between these guys, probably because Saakashvili reportedly has very serious personality defects, like tie-sucking under stress, which tends to reduce confidence in his abilities. But, probably Saakashvili seemed easier to control for TPTB. In any case, Patarkatsishvili opposed Saakashvili.

^^^^^^^

Anyway, back to Kay, who suddenly claimed to be this dead oligarch’s cousin, and the executor of his will as a matter of fact.

In what has been described as a “desperate step”, controversial US-based buisnessman Joseph Kay, who has claimed to the be the executor of the will of Badri Patarkatsishvili (pictured) has now accused the late billionaire’s widow of having him murdered in a new law suit filed in New York.

Patarkatsishvili died two years ago today, in exile in Surrey, England. He had fled Georgia after being accused of plotting a coup against Mikheil Saakashvili.

Patarkatsishvili was the owner of the Imedi TV station which was stormed by special forces on 7 November 2007. On his death Kay announced that Patarkatsishvili, whom he claimed was a relative (the claim is disputed), had given him control of Imedi.

Kay last year then said - in a statement subsequently underlined by Mikheil Saakashvili’s own office - that he had sold 90% of Imedi to the sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf emirate Rah Al-Khaimah.

Well most of this has since fallen apart.

But Patarkatsishvili’s family never accepted Kay’s claims and two weeks ago announced a major victory over him which has quickly led to the unravelling of much of Kay’s claims and seen the stain of corruption spread into the President’s office. In particular the authorities in Ras Al-Khaimah have chosen to claim that they did not buy Imedi - effectively exposing the president to the claim of having lied about a major business deal for reasons of political convenience.

…We are still searching for information about the mysterious “Mark Monem” who Kay said represented the RAK Invesment Authority when he announced the sale of Imedi. Please look here for more details.

The statement from the oligarch’s family begins…

Recently, several European courts have dealt with the dispute between the Estate of Badri Patarkatsishvili and his step cousin Joseph Kay. The High Court in England recently ruled that Joseph Kay is an unfit character to manage or have any control over assets as an Executor and is banned from doing so in England. Courts in Gibraltar and Liechtenstein also recently ruled against Joseph Kay’s claims that numerous assets under his management were his and not Badri’s.

^^^^^^^

This all devolves into chaos pretty quickly. The 90% ownership interest, Ras Al-Khaimah Invesment Authority (RAKIA), is the sovereign wealth fund of the absolute monarchy of the United Arab Emirates.

But allegedly, through a series of unfortunate mishaps and poor spelling choices and barely plausible explanations, as though these guys can’t afford laywers or something, RAKIA now claims they do not never have never did have anything to do with any of this no way. Nope. Never heard of it. It was RAAK, not RAK, and not RAKIA. Innocent mistake. Sorry we missed it, we’re just really busy counting our money. ‘ Kay?

In fact they ask us to believe they let a year go past where a bunch of imposters, with the active connivance of the president of Georgia, the Georgian telecommunications regulator, the national TV media and Giorgi Arveladze, passed themselves off as representatives of RAKIA when they were nothing of the sort. Indeed we all now know that the company that bought the station was RAAK, and not RAK, Georgia Holding.

mystery man, Mark Monem

And the only person who would seem to know is the person introduced by Joseph Kay as the local representative of the holding company which allegedly purchased 90% of Imedi, Mark Monem.

Rakeen used a specially established vehicle, RAK Georgia Holding, to buy the company, introducing Mark Monem (see video), a local representative of Rakeen at the press conference where the sale was announced.

…Who Mark Monem was or is, is not explained.

Are we supposed to believe this bizarre tale?

Noted expert on Georgia Cory Welt says we should. He might be right, but we confess to being not entirely convinced.

RAKIA’s denial of ownership just as they are staring down the barrel of a legal gun seems just too convenient. What sort of serious company lets people steal its brand for a year and says nothing about it?

One person who surely knows the answer is the mysterious Mark Monem (pictured).

Which is exactly why we are asking for all the help we can get to find out who he is.

And who is “noted expert on Georgia” Cory Welt, who encourages us to believe that it was all an honest mixup? No idea. He runs a blog to “monitor and promote democratic reform in Georgia.” His blogroll includes a few NGOs and government links. He has posted 13 times. He lists himself in Washington DC. He’s been on booger since October 2009. He has 110 profile views.

I’m not gonna say it. Draw your own conclusions based on your experience of the internet.

^^^^^^

Kay’s lawyer hails from New York. This is from March 2008. According to this source, Kay’s lawyer, Seltzer, was known to be a document forger two years ago:

Oddly, no one had known that Josef Kay is the Badri’s heir, except an American lawyer Mr. Seltzer. As reported by Josef Kay himself, “Mr. Seltzer came to me on the second or third day and told me that Badri Patarkatsishvili had left a will. He left it with Mr. Seltzer in New York.”

In the mean time, Mr. Seltzer is known to have been involved in a few scandalous cases, the last of them being the action by Sergei Veselkov, the owner and founder of Nord Service, Inc (NSI). The action was brought to the Texas Court against former Company’s managers Palter and Keiser, and the lawyer of those two is Mr. Emmanuel Seltzer.

In his suit, the owner accused his hired managers of stealing his company.  During the court proceedings, the lawyer Seltzer presented a number of documents and witnesses to prove the alleged fact of selling the company by Mr. Veselkov.

Besides, poor Mr. Veselkov – whose oil drilling companies are working successfully in Siberia and who started the company in question in America for enlarging his business and patenting the technologies - was accused by Mr. Seltzer of procuring, organizing the channel of illegal immigration to the USA, and money laundering.

The experts from NSI managed to prove that all the submitted documents were forged.

3 March the judge Leonard Davis recognized the fact of falsification and declared Sergei Veselkov to be the only legal owner of NSI. It becomes clear from the court’s decision that Palter and Keiser could not be people who have forged the signatures at the presented deeds, as their signatures and those by the false witnesses were just copied from other documents. It’s difficult to figure out by whom it could have been done, if not by the lawyer Seltzer.

Emmanuel Seltzer, a USA citizen of Russian origin, was considered in the USA to be an expert in struggle with money laundering and organized crime. He cooperated with the US investigative bodies about the case of money laundering through the Bank of New York.
12 March [2008] Emmanuel Seltzer was arrested at the Minsk airport. It is known that the lawyers of Patarkatsishvili’s family had applied to Georgian and Byelorussian authorities, accusing Mr. Seltzer of fraud and forgery of the hereditary deeds. At the time being, Mr. Seltzer is arraigned under the Article 380 Part 2 of the Byelorussian Criminal Code – that’s about use of the forged documents by a group of accomplices.

Josef Kay (his real name is Soso Kakiashvili) said the arrest of his lawyer to be the result of intrigues by Berezovsky.

So why is anyone listening to Kay? He has ZERO credibility.

^^^^^^^

I started by noting the corrosive effect played by Imedi teevee, given the decision to do a sex talk show in a largely Orthodox Catholic society, hot on the heels of disturbing the Georgian people with a clumsy and outrageous “war of the worlds” stunt.

It’s all still a little murky, but by their fruits shall ye know them.

Meanwhile, in other Georgian news…

Mikheil Saakashvili to visit Brussels on March 25

US Congress delegation to visit Georgia March 27-28

69 suspected Georgian mafia members arrested in huge crackdown in Europe, most detained in SPAIN

Rome: “the promised land for foreign mafias”

The UK has a very serious crime problem. Where do all these criminals come from?

In Farnworth, near Bolton, Greater Manchester (the upper red zone on the map):

A wealthy businesswoman was forced to watch her nine-year-old son being threatened at knifepoint by travellers during a vicious raid. Clare Topcu, 46, was tied up and her young son Demir beaten when the two yobs burst into their luxury farmhouse in the dead of night whilst stealing roof slates….At Bolton Crown Court, one of the attackers Romanian traveller Visinel Andrei who claimed to be 16, was allowed to be named and given six years youth custody after he admitted robbery and false imprisonment….He told officers he had been pressured into taking part in the robbery by older Romanian men and that he had gone into the house with another man who has not been caught. (Mail on Sunday)

“Romanian traveller?” There must be someone at every newspaper whose job is to make up euphemisms.

^^^^^^^

In December 2009, the Telegraph UK reported on organized mafias in Rome. The organized crime syndicates have decided to cooperate with each other, as it’s better for business if they don’t go stepping on each others’ toes.

The impoverished south of Italy has been the traditional power base for the country’s four mafia groups – Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, the Camorra from Campania, the ‘Ndragheta of Calabria and the lesser known Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia….In moving north, mafia gangsters have developed a new, less overt modus operandi. Rather than collecting protection money from restaurants, shops and businesses, as they do in southern cities like Naples and Palermo, they are laundering the proceeds of crime by buying into legitimate enterprises [restaurants, etc. - ed.]. …The city’s international airport at Fiumicino, and the sea port of Civitavecchia just to the north, have become key points for drug trafficking. Criminal activity in Rome was now on a par with southern Italy, Libera Informazione claimed.

And to make matters worse, the organized crime families in Italy have joined forces with organized crime rings from other countries.

Mafiosi had become much more powerful and sophisticated in recent years, expanding into prostitution, drug trafficking, the counterfeiting of consumer goods and illegal building. In a disturbing trend, godfathers have struck up alliances with Chinese, Russian, Albanian and Romanian organised criminals operating in Rome, with the capital now “the promised land for foreign mafias”.

In July last year, police arrested seven alleged mafia members suspected of attempting to buy into the Lazio soccer team [to launder money - ed.]. … After the offer was turned down, the Casalesi allegedly tried purchasing shares in the club through front companies based in Switzerland or Hungary. Police said the attempt to acquire a soccer club was “a new phenomenon”.

The mafia has no shortage of cash to invest. An Italian think tank, Eurispes, estimated earlier this year that criminal syndicates earned 130 billion euros, or nine per cent of Italy’s GDP, in 2008. Drugs made up nearly half the revenue, followed by the illegal dumping of environmental waste.

Rome

I believe it. And you know who else keeps popping up? Spain. You know when you don’t see someone for months on end and then all of a sudden you bump into them five times in one week? It’s like that. Ever since I started looking into the Sabbateans, I see Spain every time I turn around.

But look how they work together. If you focus on Russians or Romanians or Spanish or British, you lose the picture. They work together.

Traces of drugs found on 99% of British bank notesCocaine hidden in frozen fruit, requiring labs to separate and prepare for saleSeven tons of cocaine seized in multinational operation, some dissolved in tubs of molasses, requiring labs to separate and prepare for sale…I guess the drug traffickers know people with nice big laboratories to reconstitute their drugs. How convenient is that?

Investigators in Tenerife have decided that Scott Miller took his own life by ramming a dagger into his throat - despite continuing claims that he was murdered by gangsters. ….A Tenerife journalist, who has investigated the case, believes Miller’s business interests may have been a front for laundering money raised through drugs and arms dealing.

The Romanian Mafia are suspected of controlling much of the south of the island and have previously demonstrated their ruthlessness in dealing with anyone who threatens their operation.

The journalist, who asked not to be named for reasons of personal safety, said: “It is possible Miller failed to cover up his tracks properly and that meant the police started asking awkward questions. “I believe a contract killing was arranged to stop their inquiries getting any further.” The journalist alleges Spanish police recorded Miller’s death as suicide because they are running scared of the mafia, and to close down damaging publicity about the presence of criminal gangs in the holiday island.

^^^^^^^

In December 2009, aangirfan wrote about the Romanian election, revealing longstanding ties to the CIA and the KGB.

“According to CIA officials, cited by the New York Times, ‘one jail (secret CIA prison) was a renovated building on a busy street in Bucharest, Romania’. (European Commission Demands Investigations Regarding CIA Secret … / Report details CIA prisons in Europe)

Romania, which is in NATO, has troops in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The 1989 revolt in Romania led to the fall of Ceausescu.

An article apparently written by former Securitate officers (’Was This Your Revolution? This is How It Was!’ Democratia, No. 36, 24-30 Sept. 1990) describes how the CIA and KGB organised the fall of Ceausescu.

Reportedly, key figures in the revolt were working for the CIA and KGB, including Militaru (allegedly a KGB-CIA double agent) and the former Securitate officer and adviser to Ceausescu, Dumitru Mazilu (allegedly a CIA agent), and Silviu Brucan (allegedly both a CIA and KGB agent).

Reportedly, just before the revolt, there were ‘massive arrivals of so-called Hungarian tourists in Timisoara and Soviet tourists in Cluj’.

Aha, like “Hungarian travelers?” The foreign travelers arrive and all hell breaks loose? That sort of thing?

aangirfan: Do Jews run the security services?

In 2006, The Sun reported on the expected UK crime surge when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.

In a Sun exclusive yesterday we told how a leaked Cabinet memo shows Britain faces a leap in crime when Romania and Bulgaria join the EU on New Year’s Day. …There are fears that, from next January 1, along with the legitimate workers and holiday-makers coming to our shores there will be many people from the criminal underbelly of the two nations. Immigration Minister Liam Byrne and EU minister Geoff Hoon compiled the leaked report that has been forwarded to Tony Blair and the heads of MI5 and Scotland Yard.

The mafia gained their toehold in the two Balkan nations at the end of the Eighties as the Berlin Wall fell and they cut loose from the Soviet Bloc. As soon as the communists moved out, the gangsters took control of much of the free enterprise that seemed likely to succeed. Soon they were dealing in drugs, people trafficking and fraud.

That’s funny. You know, the oligarchs — Russian Jews — made a bloody fortune at the same time.

The oligarchs’ rise to prominence dates back to the late 1980s and the first meetings of a group of egghead economists known as the “young reformers”. When communism was toppled in 1991, these ambitious young men persuaded Yeltsin to let them kickstart Russia by smashing the centralised economy, liberalising prices and selling off state assets.

Gee Wally, do you really think there’s a connection?

^^^^^^^

The Romanian mafia seems to specialize in human trafficking, human slaves.

2005: Sex trade’s reliance on forced labor… and 2010: Czech Mafia Ruthlessly Exploits Bulgarians, Romanians…

A report published by local Czech non-governmental organizations and specialist Czech police departments has revealed mafia exploitation of Bulgarians and Romanians. The documents, announced on Thursday, claims that a significant increase in human trafficking from Bulgaria and Romania for cheap labor has been observed, with the citizens of both countries being turned into true slaves. After the accession of both countries to the European Union in 2007, “the importation of a work force from Romania and Bulgaria” increased dramatically due to the lack of a required work permit in the Czech Republic for the those citizens. “This criminal business turned out to be very profitable for the local mafia, which makes millions of Euros a year”, said the report.

Many of the trafficked women end up in Spain.

“Police say that around one third of the women they have rescued from prostitution rackets over the last two years are Romanian. They also believe that Romanian mafias have virtually complete control over prostitution networks in Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia, as well as a significant share of the sex industry in Andalusia and the Balearic Islands.”

And now, March 2010, the so-called Russian Mafia abroad includes up to 300,000 people and dominates organized crime throughout the world (this article is well worth reading in full):

In today’s “Versia,” Ruslan Gorevoy says that law enforcement personnel in many countries — including Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, France, Mexico, “and even the US” — have been surprised by how “confidently” criminal groups consisting of people from the former USSR now dominate their national criminal worlds (versia.ru/articles/2010/mar/01/russkaja_mafija).

Indeed, the “Versiya” reporter continues, the Russian groups, which include “up to 300,000 of our compatriots,” have succeeded in pushing aside local groups and establishing their own “spheres of influence” to the point that they no longer need to “clarify relations with the help of arms.”

Of course, the “Russian mafia” is another euphemism, since the top people carry Israeli passports.

The state of Israel is a major factor in the rise in power of the Jewish Mafia, Jewish drug dealers, child porn pushers and slave traders. The CIA has commented that there is no major “Russian” Mob figure that does not carry an Israeli passport but the Israeli state refuses to take any action against the gangsters. The power of the Jewish gangs is wielded more ruthlessly than any other criminal gang. All of whom are free from prosecution in Israel. Israel does not consider these to be crimes so long as the victims are non-Jews and the Israeli state will not extradite its citizens to non-Jewish countries.

So why are they all meeting in ROME? Well for one thing, because it’s convenient, and for another thing, because the Sabbateans are also in Rome. So we’re good, see?

Church of the Gesu (Jesuit headquarters), Rome

^^^^^^^

In closing, here’s a 2004 story from The Sun, found on this message board.

This is organized crime, trafficking poor little girls into sex slavery in the UK and elsewhere, and please note, dumping them into the ocean if that seems more convenient.

From OLIVER HARVEY in Vlora, Albania
THE Sun today exposes a sex slave scandal in which 1,400 innocent young girls a year are smuggled to Britain to work as prostitutes. The racket is run by the Albanian Mafia and I tracked down one of its key figures in an undercover operation. I posed as a pimp from London and within minutes of us meeting he offered to ship children to the UK for me - for only £527 each. And - with sickening callousness - he boasted he would transport ten for the price of nine. We reveal the sordid trade only 48 hours after police smashed an African child-slavery gang importing kids to London.

I travelled to Albania to infiltrate the sex-slave trafficking mobs. The investigation led me to hear accounts from a string of girls who had been raped, beaten and forced to work in brothels abroad. Some were sold like animals by their families for £1,000. The underworld - in Albania and Britain - is reaping huge profits from the booming business.

Our rendezvous with the Albanian mobster was at the isolated Kalaja restaurant on cliffs towering above the Ionian Sea. A contact in the Albanian criminal fraternity in London had put us in touch with a middleman in the smuggler’s paradise of Vlora, southern Albania. After a flurry of mobile phone calls we were told to meet the hoodlum at 3pm. I arrived ten minutes early with a bodyguard and an interpreter. Meanwhile, Sun photographer Dan Charity hid in a room 100 metres from our table.

Call … Gyjmi and minder A beige saloon car pulled up at the restaurant soon after and two thick-set men in their 40s got out. One, wearing slacks, Italian loafers and sporting a chunky signet ring, was introduced to us as Nasi Gyjmi. The other, clad more casually, was his henchman. I told cigar-puffing Gyjmi through the interpreter I needed girls smuggled to the UK. He replied: “No problem. We can take them by boat to Italy.” Then he added: “If you pay for nine you get number ten free.”

I asked how much it would cost and he replied: “One thousand euros (£700) for an adult.” “I can take children across but they must be with an adult. “They’re cheaper. I’ll do it for 750 euros (£527).” He explained: “We have to wait for good weather and dodge the patrols.” I tried to haggle but he said through gritted teeth: “This is my last price.” I said I would would have to check with my boss in London then we shook hands and parted. The ease with which I could have struck a deal then and there shocked me. It proved the people smugglers were undeterred by an Albanian government clampdown ordered in the wake of international pressure.

There was evidence of that blitz by the authorities on the outskirts of Vlora where several rubber speedboats had been confiscated. Such craft are used to carry men, women and children the 100 miles to Italy. The treacherous night crossings last around three hours. Sometimes they end in tragedy, with the human cargo hurled overboard to their deaths to make it easier to evade intercepting Italian vessels.

Clifftop … restaurant where meeting was held But, for the smugglers, the risks are worth it. Some of the speedboats can carry 40 people - raking in up to £28,000 a trip. Albania’s poverty and ancient clan system have allowed organised crime to flourish since its Communist regime fell in 1991. Even the manhole covers on the streets of capital Tirana have been stolen and sold for scrap. Gang bosses can be seen in top- of-the-range Mercedes - stolen to order in Germany - weaving past horse-drawn carts

Some mobsters have made fortunes from drug empires stretching to New York. But, increasingly, they are turning to the lucrative sex industry. In Rome and Milan they have eased out the Italian Mafia to take over prostitution and vice rackets. And in Britain they are operating in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Hull. They are also believed to have made inroads in Telford, Shropshire. As many as 33,000 Albanian women are believed to be working as call girls in the West. Many girls are snared by pimps who pose as caring lovers. A third of those trafficked are simply abducted.

Seized … cops on a confiscated smugglers’ boat One aid worker told The Sun how a 14-year-old was snatched from the streets of Tirana recently as she went to school. She was beaten and forced to work as a prostitute in the city’s top hotels before fleeing to a safe house. She is now too terrified to return to her classes.

Britain’s National Criminal Intelligence Service has said: “The use of kidnap by traffickers appears to be on the increase in the ex-Soviet and Balkan region, in particular with organised criminals in Kosovo and Albania.” Albania, with a population of 3,544,841, has also become the clearing house for the illegal movement of people from eastern Europe, thanks to its location. Thousands of girls from countries including Moldova, Russia, Romania and the Ukraine are wooed by promises of a new life in the West. They arrive via Albania’s neighbours Montenegro and Macedonia. Pimps take them either by boat to Italy or walk them over the mountains into Greece, to the south. They are then given false documents and travel on to work in brothels and saunas in Britain.

The United Nations Children’s’ Fund- UNICEF - confirmed yesterday that child trafficking to Britain was soaring. Spokeswoman Soraya Bermejo said: “We welcome efforts by The Sun to highlight this awful practice. The life of a child has become cheap.”

news from Russia and the stans

1. Bagapsh inaugurated as president of Abkhazia

Sergei Bagapsh was sworn in on Friday for his second term as president of Abkhazia, thanking Russia in his inaugural address for helping the republic achieve independence from Georgia. …Bagapsh was re-elected as Abkhazia’s president on December 12, 2009, winning with over 60% of the vote in the republic’s first presidential election since Russia recognized its independence in August 2008 after a brief war with Georgia..

Bagapsh, 60, has been president of the former Georgian republic since January 2005.

The U.S. Department of State said the elections were illegitimate, while Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili condemned the vote as an illegal Kremlin-backed gesture in an “occupied territory.”

Russia is the guarantor of Abkhazia’s security with several thousand troops in the region under bilateral security and cooperation agreements signed since August 2008. Abkhazia’s independence has been recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

SUKHUMI, February 12 (RIA Novosti)

2. runaway journalist gathered shocking videos about South Ossetia

Vakhtang Komakhidze, a well-known Georgian journalist, who requested political asylum in Switzerland, has shocking materials about South Ossetia, received in the course of his journey to the region in December 2009.

He managed to record “scandalous interviews, videos that can shake”, and the government of Georgia doesn’t want these to be published, said Nana Kakabadze, the human rights activist, in her interview to the Alia newspaper.

She added Komakhidze made his decision to request a political asylum in the airport of Tbilisi, when realized he was watched by Interior Ministry representatives - the VZGLYAD.

The human rights activist explained that in Switzerland he must have interviewed one of the judges of the Hague Tribunal. Now he plans to complete his film in that country. Komakhidze stated he made this decision as he couldn’t perform his professional duties in Georgia. He also mentioned threat to health and lives of himself and his family. Komakhidze explains his decision by menaces from the authorities.

source: georgia times

3. photographer on trial for showing real life in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT (Uzbekistan) - AN AWARD-WINNING Uzbek photographer went on trial for slander Tuesday after her work documenting the daily struggles of ordinary people in the Central Asian state landed her in hot water.

Umida Akhmedova, 54, stands accused of portraying people in the ex-Soviet nation as backward and impoverished in a collection of her photographs and a documentary film, both financed by the Swiss embassy in Tashkent….Akhmedova put the blame for the trial not on the government, but on an expert panel it had convened to analyze her work. The panel concluded in its report that the ‘photo album does not conform to aesthetic demands,’ a throwback to Soviet jargon, and that it would damage the country’s ’spiritual values’. The trial sets a chilling precedent for artists, said Surat Ikramov, head of the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan. — AFP

source: straits times

see photos here and here

4. Russian court extends pretrial detention of oligarchs

A Moscow court ordered on Friday that Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev spend another three months in harsh pretrial detention rather than return to regular jail.

Khodorkovsky, 45, and Lebedev, 42, are already serving eight-year prison terms for tax evasion and fraud issued by a Moscow court in 2005 after a highly politicized trial seen by many in the West as part of a Kremlin drive to subdue politically ambitious business tycoons.

Both were moved in 2009 from prison in Siberia to Moscow’s notorious Matrosskaya Tishina jail to face new charges of embezzling 350 million tons of oil. Since then, their stay in the pretrial detention center has been repeatedly prolonged despite complaints from their lawyers.

Moscow’s Khamovniki District Court on Friday authorized keeping Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in pretrial detention until May 17.

“The court took into account the severity of the charges Khodorkovsky and Lebedev face when considering extending their detention,” presiding judge Viktor Danilkin said.

Russian officials have consistently denied any political motivation behind their convictions, but the fate of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev is still viewed by Russia-watchers abroad as an indicator of the state of Russia’s judicial system.

MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti)

5. Thailand drops arms case and releases Kazakhs — no decision on what to do with the seized weapons

BANGKOK - THAILAND said on Thursday it had decided to drop a case against the five member crew of a plane carrying sanctions-busting weapons from North Korea.

‘The trial here will not benefit Thailand so we have decided to drop the charges,’ said Thanapich Mulapruk, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General, in a statement. ‘Their countries of origin want to try the men in their home countries,’ he said.

Another official from the attorney general’s office said the Belarussian pilot and four Kazakh crew would not be formally extradited. ‘(We) are sending an official to file a petition with the court to release all five men,’ Kayasit Pissawanprkan told reporters. ‘This is not an extradition but we consider them as having entered (Thailand) illegally.’

more @ straits times

not for nothing

1. heeeyy, good news….Russia’s top ten billionaires — TEH OLIGARCHS — doubled their wealth! turns out this crisis wasn’t so bad after all… PHEW! i dunno about you but i was really worried about those guys.

Russia’s top ten billionaires have almost doubled their aggregate wealth in 12 months to $139.3 billion, the Finans business magazine reported on Wednesday. The global economic crisis saw the combined fortunes of the top ten richest Russians fall from 221 billion to 75.9 billion in 2008, the magazine reported. Since then, however, massive state injections of funds into global financial markets and government support for companies owned by Russian oligarchs has seen the trend bucked.

The 2010 rating of Russian billionaires to be released by Finans next Monday includes 500 people with an estimated fortune of 3.3 billion rubles ($110 million) As many as 77 Russians have a wealth of over $1 billion each.

As before, tycoon and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich is among Russia’s three richest people. His fortune will enable him to keep the club afloat for another 100 years, Finans reported.

The identities of the top two richest Russians will be revealed by the magazine on Monday.

MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti)

2. Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iran remain top 3 oil suppliers for China

Saudi Arabia, Angola and Iran remained the three largest oil sources for China in 2009, with the three supplying 47.7 percent of China’s total imports, according data released Wednesday by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

GAC figures showed that China’s oil imports from the three nations last year stood at 41.86 million tonnes, 32.17 million tonnes and 23.15 million tonnes, respectively. They represented a year-on-year increase of 15.1 percent, 7.6 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.

…Saudi Arabia, the largest oil supplier to China, accounted for 20.5 percent of China’s total imports in 2009. Angola supplied 15.8 percent while Iran contributed 11.3 percent, according to GAC data.

Other main oil suppliers to China included Russia, Oman and Sudan.

more @ people’s daily online

3. Greeks protest as government slashes public spending

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England was asked about Greece at a press conference on the BoE’s latest inflation report. His second statement could be translated as - their problem, not mine.  “I don’t think you can compare UK with Greece. We have different policies. We have very good track record and most importantly, the maturity of UK debt is much longer.” “This is an issue they’ll deal with within the euro area. It should be for my colleagues in the euro area to decide.”

…For a “I told you so” piece, here is Andrew Alexander of the Daily Mail, no friend of anything to do with the EU. His argument will be familiar to eurosceptics.

A particular flaw in having a ‘one-size-fits-all’ currency covering the rich and the poor, the cautious and the feckless, is that no member nation has its own currency which it can devalue or revalue in an attempt to extricate themselves from this crisis.

more @ guardian, many links

EU fear Greek ’spillover’ - “serious and persistent internal and external imbalance ‘threatens stability’ in the country. This in turn presents a ’serious risk of spillover into other parts of the euro area,’”

Berlin eyes ‘firewall’ to contain Greece debt crisis — “We are thinking about what we should do if the crisis spills from Greece into other euro countries,” said the official. “So it’s more about finding firewalls, containing the problem, than principally about helping the Greeks.”

nice. the EU: one big happy family.

4. Danny Ayalon faces hostile crowd in UK

(VIDEO) LONDON – Despite securing a promise by the UK’s Foreign Office that he would not be arrested upon arrival there, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon was not exempt from the rage of pro-Palestinian demonstrators waiting for him both outside and inside a lecture hall in London. One protestor at the Oxford University hall, where Ayalon spoke Tuesday, waved the Palestinian flag and interrupted Ayalon’s lecture for several long minutes, during which he did not stop yelling at the Israeli minister and called him a “racist” and “a war criminal.”

more @ ynet

http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3846746,00.html

5. Marines gear up for assault - “hailed by officers as the biggest offensive in the eight-year-old war.” great. what could possibly go wrong?

Thousands of Afghan, US and Nato forces are expected to launch Operation Mushtarak (Together) in a bid to clear the Taleban out of Marjah, home to some 80,000 people, and expand the control of the Western-backed Afghan government. A US Marines officer said late on Tuesday that the operation, to be led jointly by Marines and the Afghan army had not yet begun. ‘The Marines have not started the operation in Marjah,’ he said, adding: ‘The operation will be led by the Marines and their Afghan partners.’  Officials and witnesses say families have fled, loading goats, furniture and clothes on to vehicles and heading to safety in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province around 20 kilometres to the north.

more @ straits times

6. bases in Afghanistan indicate permanent presence

Today, according to official sources, approximately 700 bases of every size dot the Afghan countryside, and more, like the one in Shinwar, are under construction or soon will be as part of a base-building boom that began last year.

Existing in the shadows, rarely reported on and little talked about, this base-building program is nonetheless staggering in size and scope, and heavily dependent on supplies imported from abroad, which means that it is also extraordinarily expensive. It has added significantly to the already long secret list of Pentagon property overseas and raises questions about just how long, after the planned beginning of a drawdown of American forces in 2011, the US will still be garrisoning Afghanistan.

…The Pentagon’s most recent inventory of bases lists a total of 716 overseas sites. These include facilities owned and leased all across the Middle East as well as a significant presence in Europe and Asia, especially Japan and South Korea. Perhaps even more notable than the Pentagon’s impressive public foreign property portfolio are the many sites left off the official inventory. While bases in the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates are all listed, one conspicuously absent site is al-Udeid air base, a billion-dollar facility in nearby Qatar, where the US Air Force secretly oversees its ongoing unmanned drone wars.

The count also does not include any sites in Iraq where, as of August 2009, there were still nearly 300 American bases and outposts. Similarly, US bases in Afghanistan - a significant percentage of the 400 foreign sites scattered across the country - are noticeably absent from the Pentagon inventory.

more @ asia times

7. Russia: large-scale war less possible, but threats remain

MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s military policies are aimed at avoiding an arms race and military conflicts, but they should also correspond to real threats which the country faces, Russia’s security chief Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Russian government daily.

On February 5, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that he has approved the country’s new military doctrine, which allows preventive nuclear strikes against potential aggressors.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on Wednesday the full text of the doctrine.

“The unleashing of a large-scale war is becoming less possible… At the same time, regions, where conflicts are possible, remain,” Patrushev told the paper, adding “these conflicts could lead to a war with the use of both ordinary and nuclear weapons.”

Among the threats which could destabilize the situation in the world, the Russian security chief named the expansion of NATO, the Iranian nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

more @ ria novosti