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footbal

By John Helmer, Moscow

United Company Rusal, the Russian aluminium monopoly, has announced it has won a judgement of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) confirming its shareholding control of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (Alscon), the only aluminium producer in the west African state. The LCIA, Rusal claims, has defeated the Nigerian Government’s challenge to the legality of the privatization of the plant in Rusal’s favour in 2004, and Rusal’s subsequent purchase of Alscon shares in 2006.
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Company

By John Helmer, Moscow

“The genius of you Americans is that you never made clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves.” That was Gamal Abdel Nasser addressing a CIA man he knew well, who’d been involved in a series of plots to assassinate Nasser, all hapless.

The year was 1957; that’s 57 years ago. If Nasser lived long enough to come across the Clinton family (lead image, rear left), President Barack Obama (front right), Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (rear right), Nasser was smart enough to have modified his observation to acknowledge that the genius of Americans is that they make clear-cut stupid moves, too.
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design1560

By John Helmer, Moscow

A Washington think-tank, funded by the US Government, has discovered that at least half of all Ukrainians think that not enough force has been used to put down the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Even more Ukrainians express confidence in the military – 66% in the pro-Kiev volunteer battalions, and 76% in the regular Ukrainian forces. At the same time, the poll reveals that 73% of the Ukrainians believe the country is now worse off than it was six months ago, before Petro Poroshenko was elected president. If the opinions of those living in the Donbass aren’t counted, the percentage of pessimists is still 69%.
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Design 1559B

By John Helmer, Moscow

Last Thursday the government in Beijing struck a new blow against the domination of global commodity markets by countries allied with the US in the sanctions war against Russia.

The measure announced is a 3% to 6% tariff to be imposed on coal imports to China, commencing on October 15. Australia, the largest supplier of coal to China, will take the largest hit in its trade. Indonesia, the second largest coal supplier to China, will be exempt as a member of the free trade zone between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Russia and South Africa, the next largest coal exporters to China, are allied with China in the BRICS geopolitical group: they are to benefit, too. Russian officials and industry sources confirm that negotiations on tariff relief are underway in Moscow this week as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met his counterpart, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
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Rusal 1557
By John Helmer, Moscow

United Company Rusal, Russia’s aluminium monopoly, lost a prop for its sale revenues, debt repayments, and share price this week, when the UK Court of Appeal allowed a new aluminium stocking rule by the London Metal Exchange (LME) which Rusal has been opposing since July 2013.
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rosneft1558_отредактировано-1

By John Helmer, Moscow

Following the publication of yesterday’s report on the case of Vladimir Yevtushenkov, an insider from the Russian oil industry has communicated this analysis of what provoked Yevtushenkov’s arrest, and what will happen next. The insider has had more than 15 years of experience working with Igor Sechin, now chief executive of Rosneft.

“The problem of Yevtushenkov is in his misunderstanding of what it means to own an oil company. He was given a right just to touch the object [Bashneft]; to clean and polish it; and then to hand it over to Sechin [Rosneft]. But Yevtushenkov decided that he was the real owner, and he started disputing with Sechin over the price of the asset. That’s something that is totally indisputable.The Ukrainian theory [of the case] is just camouflage.”
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Gauntlet

By John Helmer, Moscow

Conspiracy or screw-up — there is no shortage of complicated theories in Russia to explain why an oligarch of Vladimir Yevtushenkov’s (image, left) size is being made to run the gauntlet, quite apart from the fact that he’s probably guilty of the crimes alleged against him. What is missing is the Russian equivalent of screw-up. That’s to say, who screwed up – if this is what is happening.
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Ironman

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Ukrainian civil war, and its aftermath, economic warfare between the US, the European Union, and Russia, are transforming the global flows of the minerals from which steel is made. Starting with iron-ore, the future for steelmaking will start at the minehead, not in Australia, nor Brazil, but in West Africa. That is if Gennady Bogolyubov, the Ukrainian miner, can help to produce high-grade iron-ore at a cash cost of $20 per tonne. At that price, Bogolyubov and China’s iron-ore traders and bankers calculate, they will be able to break free of the global price-fixing for the mineral which has been dominated, until now, by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto in the US camp, and Vale of Brazil.
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The bill
By John Helmer, Moscow

If one man aims to prove, all by himself, that Russia is a country ruled by a handful of cronies of the President, that man is Arkady Rostenberg.
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Sovcomflot
By John Helmer, Moscow

A decade of lawsuits promoted in the UK courts by Sovcomflot’s chief executive, Sergei Frank (right), has ended disastrously with a judgement issued against him and his company in the High Court today.
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