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By John Helmer, Moscow Wednesday September 26 was Yom Kippur – the annual Day of Atonement for Jews, the most solemn holiday on the Jewish calendar, when according to the relevant Scripture, God opens his Judgement Book, and takes applications from everyone with an interest in having the black mark removed from his name. God’s [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The co-founder of the Mechel steelmaking and coal-mining group, Vladimir Iorikh, always said the over-confidence of partner Igor Zyuzin (parachutist) would get the company into trouble as big as this. So, rather than go down in flames himself when the crash he expected would come, Iorikh sold out to Zyuzin in [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian banks have been reflecting ponds for their owners since they began twenty years ago; wishing-wells too. That explains why Commerzbank accepted less than $200 million for its 14.4% shareholding in Promsvyazbank earlier this year, fixing the valuation of the bank at $1.4 billion; and why the bank owners, Alexei and [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The full text of Justice Dame Elizabeth Gloster’s judgement in the UK High Court case of Boris Berezovsky v Roman Abramovich runs to 356 pages, 1253 sections, one appendix, and 555 footnotes. She is kindly toward the case lawyers, the computer system operators, the courtroom administrators, and the simultaneous translators. She [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow After more than forty years, the last great Soviet state secret is out. And in its wake, a sensitive Chinese state secret, too. Russian geologists reported over the weekend that the Popigai crater on the border between the Krasnoyarsk and Sakha regions of north eastern Siberia, formed by the 100-kilometre wide [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Swiss bankers aren’t famous for their sense of humour. So it will come as no surprise that the Gnomes of Zurich were serious when they recently sent a questionnaire to 22 of the richest crooks and liars in Russia, asking them for their assessment of the prospects for Russian wealth management [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Yury Privalov, the Sovcomflot shipping manager charged with embezzlement from the company, has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison, and fined Rb1 million ($32,250), Judge Natalia Morovoza ruled this evening in the Dorogomilovsky court of Moscow. Privalov was not in court to hear the verdict; he is [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow There have been demonstrations this month in the Romanian town of Campa Turzii against plans by Russian steel maker Mechel to cut its local steelmill’s workforce by up to a thousand jobs, after rolling job cuts have already reduced the plant’s workforce over recent years. The Romanian government responded on Friday [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Private Eye, the only periodical of investigative journalism still made of paper and ink and for sale in the UK, is old enough to be a grandfather in his dodders. So when the editor, Ian Hislop (aged 52), and his anonymous reporters took sides with Pussy Riot last month, it may [...]

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By John Helmer,Moscow Russian government investigators are focusing on a tiny, little known Latvian bank through which Oleg Deripaska (front) has been holding and moving billions of dollars. The Latvian Trade Bank (LTB), as it was known for many years, has recently been renamed Expobank, after it was taken over by Igor Kim, who bought [...]