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By John Helmer, Moscow In the world of mules there are no rules (so Ogden Nash wrote last century). In selling $50 billion worth of nuclear reactors, there are a few. Sergei Kirienko, the prime minister in charge of the Russian government’s default on its treasury bonds and other financial destruction in 1998, is no […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Interpipe, the Ukrainian pipemaker owned by Victor Pinchuk (left), son-in-law of ex-President Leonid Kuchma (centre, right), has released its first official acknowledgement that it is in default on $106 million of debt owed to its banks. In a statement yesterday on the company website, Interpipe said negotiations are under way with […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow By releasing on bail all but one of thirty Greenpeace protesters charged for an attack on the offshore Russian oil platform Prirazlomnaya in September, Russian prosecutors and a St. Petersburg court have pre-empted and defeated Greenpeace and the Dutch Government. Greenpeace and the Dutch had applied for “provisional measures” from the […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russia’s state-owned tanker company Sovcomflot has reported third-quarter and nine-month financial results showing that it continues to lose fleet operating revenues and run at a loss. In the nine months to September 30, the company says its time-charter equivalent (TCE) revenues were $657.2 million, down 1.6% on the same period of […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska’s (image right) associates inside Rusal say the company is so short of cash, the chief executive has no alternative but to squeeze the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon (left), and threaten to publish details of his offshore bank accounts, unless he comes across with almost $350 million. But Rahmon, […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow While the Greenpeace organization has been drawing worldwide attention to pending charges of a pirate attack against the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Barents Sea, Russian prosecutors and the Russian Navy reveal they have abandoned the prosecution of piracy threatening Russian vessels in the Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa. […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The sharp selloff of Mechel, the steel and coal group controlled by Igor Zyuzin, ought to demonstrate — if fresh proof were needed — that this is no longer a commercial operation in the normal sense of the term. Today Mechel is a nationalized enterprise kept solvent by five state banks […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow According to United Company Rusal, the Russian state aluminium monopoly, it is one of the most transparent multinational corporations in the world – that’s to say, in the emerging markets of the world, and across sixteen countries. A report of Berlin-based Transparency International (TI), issued on October 16, has ranked Rusal […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Three hundred and ninety years ago the Dutch water-boarded and then executed a group of British merchants on the trumped-up allegation of plotting to seize the Dutch fortress on the island of Ambon, now part of Indonesia where it is called Maluku. Remember the Amboyna Massacre! became fighting talk in London […]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Interpipe, the leading Ukrainian pipemaker, failed to meet last Friday’s deadline for repayment to its international bankers of $106 million, sources in Kiev have confirmed. Interpipe, owned by Victor Pinchuk (image above) and his wife Elena, daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, is the largest steelmaker in the former Soviet […]