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By John Helmer, Moscow If you believe what RusPetro Plc says, this loss-making venture on a small oil patch in Khantiy-Mansiysk — a patch no major Russian oil company has wanted to bother with — is already worth a billion dollars, and is bound to be worth multiples of that. The reason, also according to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Judge Natalia Bulavintseva ruled yesterday in Chelyabinsk Arbitrazh court that the hearing she had previously fixed for argument by lawyers on the substance of the case against Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine’s (MMK) purchase of Flinders Mines will be delayed for another month. Instead of April 25, this hearing has now been set [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oleg Deripaska has insulted another President of the Republic of Guinea as Rusal’s entire country position, including its bauxite mine concessions and the Friguia alumina refinery, is now under review by a presidential commission. More than 20% of Rusal’s worldwide mineral resources and the raw material base supplying its Russian smelters, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow From the Bo Xilai case it can be inferred that at the senior level of the Chinese government, the only things done really fast there are taking bribes and poisoning squealers. By contrast in Moscow, not having a Russian government for several months and not having capital punishment should be the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Flinders Mines (FMS) is what one investor calls a hedge fund hotel, a hangout for bettors on a sure thing. The source means that after Victor Rashnikov (front seat, left), owner of Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK), decided to buy FMS last November, roughly half the value of the company was bought [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Vladimir Kekhman, owner of the Joint Fruit Company (JFC), the near-monopoly supplier of bananas to the Russian market, has wound up his dispute with Star Reefers, the banana boat supplier whose charter contracts JFC cut short and terminated in 2010. The Star boats were operated by JFC to ship bananas from [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The unprecedented display of judicial power against the steel oligarch, Victor Rashnikov, on his home turf continued yesterday and today. Yesterday, at a hearing in the Chelyabinsk Arbitrazh Court Judge Natalia Bulavintseva took a few minutes without the attendance of lawyers, plaintiff Elena Egorova, or executives of Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK), [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow This is not the time of year when there’s much sympathy for the plagues in Egypt. If you are Jewish, there’s the lot the Pharaoh richly deserved — the gnats, flies, frogs, locusts, boils, etc. If you are Russian, there’s pseudomonas solanacearum Smith, the potato brown rot. This Egyptian plague is [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If, and it remains a big if, Victor Rashnikov’s Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK) is not clandestinely behind the attempt last week by an unknown shareholder to block the completion of MMK’s proposed takeover of Australian iron-ore prospector, Flinders Mines, then a ruling yesterday by Judge N.A.Bulavintseva is the first sign. According [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow To those who listen, it has been made clear that President-elect Vladimir Putin and his closest policy advisor, Igor Sechin, believe that what they need to know about the oligarchs’ misconduct and mismanagement of Russia’s resource concessions, they don’t need to ask the Federal Security Service (FSB) or the Foreign Intelligence [...]