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By John Helmer, Moscow A porcelain figurine (lead image, left) produced by the Popov Manufactory of Moscow sold in London on Wednesday for £2,700. The auction by MacDougalls revealed unusually strong demand from Russian collectors. They paid record prices for some figurines, including Tsar Nicholas I (right), from the Sipyagin Manufactory, who fetched £29,700. The [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Igor Kolomoisky, the single largest beneficiary of international lending to Ukraine and until Tuesday night the most powerful figure in the country, has lost his residence permit for Switzerland, according to a reliable source in Geneva. Coming after the news of Kolomoisky’s armed and vocal clash in Kiev with Ukrainian President [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Works of art are only reliable investment assets if the trade in them is tested and transparent enough to prove they aren’t stolen goods, forgeries, or what is known in Russian as falshak (фальшак), a term originally applied to counterfeit coins. Naturally, as the art trade generates higher and higher prices [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska (left), chief executive of the Russian state aluminium monopoly Rusal, makes a practice of thriving when everyone else is suffering. That’s because the Russian government and the state banks cast a more protective cover over heavy debtors when times are bad than when times are better. Rusal owes $9 [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Victor Pinchuk, the Ukrainian oligarch who took sides for the European Union (EU) against Russia, is running out of money, company officials admitted last week in a confidential briefing. Pinchuk has been forced to provide his company with $20 million in emergency cash to stave off insolvency, but bondholders and banks [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Burisma, an influential Ukrainian oil and gas company with disputed ownership involving Nikolai Zlochevsky and Igor Kolomoisky, is under criminal investigation in the UK. But you wouldn’t know it from a release issued by the company on January 22. According to Burisma, “Britain closed criminal proceedings against the assets of Nikolay [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The UK High Court has rejected a lawsuit by Rosneft challenging the legality of sanctions against its oilfield operations and international financing. The court has ruled that for testing the legality of the sanctions British law and British courts are subordinate to the European Union, and that Rosneft must try its [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow A federal US judge has dismissed a 17-year long attempt by Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC) to recover damages for the alleged theft of its stake in a multibillion-dollar Russian diamond mine by two Russian oligarchs, Alisher Usmanov and Vagit Alekperov (lead image, left), and Alekperov’s company, LUKoil. The legal action protects [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Roman Abramovich has bought two houses, and is negotiating for at least one more, on East 75th Street in New York for about $70 million. The New York papers are reporting that Abramovich is planning to live there with his family because his wife prefers it for her work. Abramovich’s spokesman [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow President Vladimir Putin’s summons to the oligarchs for dinner on December 18 turned out to be a teddy bears’ picnic. And why not – they got all they came for, and more. The country outside got decidedly less, but for the time being how little is a state secret.