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By John Helmer, Moscow It’s midsummer. Time for the oligarchs, even the insolvent ones, to go aboard their yachts, and set sail for the resorts of the Mediterranean. Oleg Deripaska’s Queen K is this week cruising in the eastern Aegean between the Greek islands and the Turkish coast. Andrei Melnichenko’s A is in the Gulf [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Mikhail Fridman (lead image, centre) and Alexei Reznikovich (left) have a telephone problem, and it’s got a name, Gregory Shenkman (right). It’s not that Vimpelcom, the global mobile telephone company they control through LetterOne (L1), Fridman’s offshore holding, isn’t a lucrative business. In market capitalization Vimpelcom is currently worth $8.7 billion; [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Vladimir Potanin (right), control shareholder of Norilsk Nickel, loves Oleg Deripaska (left), control shareholder of Russian Aluminium (Rusal). Potanin made his inamorata official on Monday. He even quoted Vladimir Lenin’s version of withdrawing before ejaculation, announcing that with Deripaska it has been necessary to “disconnect before combining…Time has shown that it [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Leonid Lebedev (lead image) has been ousted from the Federation Council, the Russian senate, after serving twelve years as a senator representing the Volga region of Chuvashia. This follows a Council investigation exposing earnings from offshore entities which Lebedev had failed to disclose in his official income and asset reports to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow In the seedier studios of California, when the director cries “We’ve got wood!” he means the male lead has an erection, and it’s his cue to start his business while the cameras roll at a pornographic scene. Russia’s plywood business isn’t as sexy, but it’s faster growing and bigger too. It’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The old saw about how to make a small fortune can be adapted in Vitaly Mashitsky’s case, but you must still start with a large fortune — he’ll take care of the rest. In a surprise to the amber industry of Kaliningrad, where about 95% of the world’s supply of amber [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow What if the Ukrainian government resumes the war noone wants to pay for – not the US, the European Union, Poland, Canada, least of all Kiev? Public statements by Ukrainian and international officials identify two payment deadlines for war, and for peace. The first falls on May 31, Natalie Jaresko, the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Insiders at the Russian aluminium monopoly Rusal say that chief executive and control shareholder Oleg Deripaska has been miscalculating the effect of share price surges Rusal has enjoyed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in recent weeks. That’s because the share price gains have been quickly reversed – and because Rusal’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow When Ukrainian warlords need a well-earned rest from fighting the civil war, there’s always Cleveland, under State Department protection, or Miami for the warm weather. Igor Kolomoisky has accumulated more than a quarter of a billion dollars in US investments through a chain of front companies which stretch from several American [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Cyprus Government’s unit for combating money-laundering will consider an investigation of Igor Kolomoisky if it is requested by the Ukrainian or US Governments, Eva Papakyriacou revealed on Tuesday. Papakyriacou is the head of the unit, whose acronym, following the Greek, is MOKAS. She declined to say if there has been [...]