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DWB_1705c

By John Helmer, Moscow

Officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are in flight from evidence of negligence, incompetence, and corruption in their management of billions of dollars in loans for Ukraine.

Nikolai Gueorguiev, head of the Ukraine team at IMF headquarters in Washington, DC, and Jerome Vacher, the IMF representative in Kiev, refuse to respond to questions on their role in the offshore diversion of IMF loan money through Privatbank and Credit Dnepr Bank, banks owned by Ukrainian oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Victor Pinchuk. The Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde (lead image, front) and her spokesman, Gerry Rice (rear), are covering up evidence of conflicts of interest and multiple violations of the IMF Staff Code of Conduct which have been occurring in the Ukraine loan programme. Simonetta Nardin, head of the Fund’s media relations, refuses to explain her apparent violations of the Code, or respond to evidence that she fabricated elements of her career resume.

On Tuesday a spokesman at the US Department of Justice in Washington confirmed that an investigation is under way of the role played by US clearing banks in the movement of IMF funds through the Privatbank group and companies connected with Kolomoisky. Speaking for the Asset Forefeiture and Money Laundering Section, Peter Carr declined to give more details.
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DwB_1707

By John Helmer, Moscow

Listeners to US Government radio and readers of the London papers are being told that Kaliningrad is a Russian dagger pointed at the soft underbelly of the NATO alliance in central Europe. According to NATO sources, the dagger must be reversed so that it threatens the Kremlin instead.

Officials in the German Chancellery in Berlin and in the Polish government in Warsaw have begun asking their intelligence chiefs to prepare memoranda on how vulnerable the Russian outpost, formerly Königsberg in German East Prussia, is to a campaign of economic pressure and political subversion. Does this make Kaliningrad a potential flashpoint on the eastern war front, the next Crimea?
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DwB__1706

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akhromeyev

On August 24, 1991, Marshal Sergei Fyodorovich Akhromeyev committed suicide. He had returned from his holiday at Sochi responding to the attempted removal of Mikhail Gorbachev from power. According to the reports of the time, he hanged himself in his Kremlin office, leaving behind a note. One version of what it said was: “I cannot live when my fatherland is dying and everything that has been the meaning of my life is crumbling. Age and the life that I have lived give me the right to step out of this life. I struggled until the end.”

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I have a hope

By John Helmer, Moscow

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has taken sides in the homicide trial of Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian military volunteer who is standing trial in Russia for the murder last year of two Russian journalists reporting on the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Jerome Vacher, the resident representative of the IMF in Kiev, appeared at the Ukraine art pavilion at the Venice Biennale, at the official opening sponsored by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk. The event took place on Thursday, May 7, and Vacher was there at the invitation of the Pinchuk Art Centre. The day was a regular working day in the Ukraine office of the IMF, and at IMF headquarters in Washington, DC. Pinchuk’s insolvent Ukrainian bank and steel company are beneficiaries of the current multi-billion dollar IMF loan to Ukraine, the disbursement of which Vacher is responsible for supervising.
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DwB_1698


It’s traditional at this time of year to rest, chew things over, do a little flossing of the teeth, and return sharper than ever.

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DwB_1678

By John Helmer, Moscow

Leonid Lebedev (lead image) has been charged with stripping millions of dollars from TGK-2, the regional electricity utility he controls. Details of the lawsuit have been revealed this week in the files of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI).

The 4-page court filing of June 24, 2015, names Lebedev personally, according to the court’s registry clerk, plus seven of his companies in the scheme. The core allegation against Lebedev is that he arranged to strip cash out of TGK-2 through transactions with Russian subsidiaries of his Sintez holding and offshore companies which Lebedev registered as TGK-2 shareholders. These sold shares among themselves, passing cash out of TGK-2 on terms which ran up TGK-2’s liabilities and diminished the value of its assets, and hence the equity value left to minority shareholders and investors. When they woke up, they described the “knowingly unprofitable transactions” on the internet in this way. Unless the culprits are sent to jail, another investor said, the probability of recovering the money which has been moved offshore “tends to zero.”
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DwB_1700

By John Helmer, Moscow

The board of directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was unsure until the last minute on Friday that the Ukrainian government in Kiev would get their delayed loan instalment of $1.7 billion. The board and management were much swifter in erasing personal communications which the IMF representative in Kiev, Jerome Vacher, has been conducting on Facebook with Ukrainian officials; with his personal stylist and hairdresser; and with public relations agents and media publicists for the Ukrainian government.

A Facebook publication by Vacher, in which he identified as his friends the Minister of Finance, Natalie Jaresko; a deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), Vladyslav Rashkovan; and the former governor of the NBU, Stepan Kubiv, was erased last week, hours after a Polish investigative reporter Stanislas Balcerac, queried the propriety of the publication with Vacher’s superiors in Washington.
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DwB_1702

Comment by GB, London

We used to fly the Zimbabwe roses (and some Zambian) to the Dutch auctions; about 100 tonnes a week on Boeing 747s. Ours were cut, trimmed and boxed, and we delivered them to Amsterdam very early in the morning so that they could make the auction at the flower market in Aalsmeer that morning.

The Dutch control the flower producers in Africa as well. We spoke with some friends in Russia who wanted to import the roses directly into Russia, avoiding the Dutch middlemen. They were incensed that the price the Zimbabwean growers earned from the roses was less than a quarter of the delivered price to Russia – an important flower consumer; especially on Women’s Day.
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Dwb_1699b

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Dutch auction, as it’s called in the wholesale flower trade of Europe, is a clever scheme which simulates competitive bidding while it hides premiums in the prices Dutch growers and traders rig for their flowers. To cut the cost of flowers you have to deadhead the Dutch. And that’s exactly what Russia is threatening to do this week.

The Dutch are crying foul. That’s what monopolists usually do when the game is up. In Dutch history going back to the time when the Amsterdam merchants held a monopoly on the world supply of nutmeg – a prophylactic against bubonic plague , it was believed at the time — they organized slavery, torture, and other atrocities to protect their nutmeg trading scheme. Before you jump to condemn the Russian phytosanitary authority for issuing a warning against Dutch flower exports, remember the Amboyna Massacre of March 9, 1623.*
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