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By John Helmer, Moscow There is a famous old anecdote in which Zmei Gorinich, the three-headed Russian dragon, sits hungrily down to table, and proceeds to stuff each of his mouths with food presented to him by villagers too terrified to do otherwise. At night, however, the dragon’s stomach rumbles, then swells, and finally explodes. [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Alrosa, the Russian diamond miner, signed an agreement on Wednesday [November 28] to supply selected rough diamonds to Tiffany of New York. Signing with Alrosa chief executive Fyodor Andreyev was Andrew Hart, president of Laurelton Diamonds, a Belgian subsidiary of Tiffany, as well as executive vice president of Tiffany Corporation in [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Reporters can hardly call themselves investigative journalists if their object is to report the obvious in plain sight — that people keep their purposes and their assets to themselves. But when reporters hide their own purposes and fortunes as assiduously as those they investigate, the purpose of the chase has been [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Not even the two people usually familiar with the matter were able to convince Bloomberg that there has been genuine demand in the London market for Megafon shares at Alisher Usmanov’s asking price. Instead, as the company and its underwriters tried to sign buyers before the subscription book closed this afternoon, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The International Trade Administration (ITA) of the US Department of Commerce has revealed that the new reference prices it set early this month for imports to the US of Russian-made rolled steel products will rise by 47% over the prevailing regime. However, the US evidence suggests the impact on Russian exporters [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow For a country of Russia’s physical size, trains are an obvious strategic necessity. So it’s peculiar that there is a monopoly for pulling and pushing those trains from place to place, and that this monopoly for building locomotives should be held by a single man, who, with Kremlin approval, has buried [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Corruption is a global problem. That’s one of the opening lines in the US Department of Justice’s guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the law enacted in Washington in 1977 to prohibit US individuals and companies from offering inducements of value to the officials of foreign governments. “Corruption impedes economic [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The deadline for Canadian shareholders to accept or reject Alexei Mordashov’s takeover terms for High River Gold (HRG) is fixed for next Tuesday, November 27. The latest count to be released to the market suggests he will fail because the holdout shareholders are convinced the offer price is too low. The [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Going or coming, Russian users of private jet aircraft think they are screwed. If they fly on foreign-made planes which are registered in Russia, they are obliged under the current tax regulations to pay 18% value-added tax (VAT) on the customs-declared value of the aircraft, plus 2.2% annual property tax. If [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow If you are a steelmill owner working at safe distance when the bombs, rockets and body-packs explode in your market, the more destruction the better for demand, sales, and profit margins, especially at this point in the current cycle of the steel trade. Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine (MMK), the Russian steelmaker owned [...]