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By John Helmer, Moscow Do snaps of businessmen playing cards, or dancing the lezginka together, prove they are in a concert-party relationship which is an unauthorized way of making money, according to Rule 9 of the Takeover Code for companies listed on the London Stock Exchange — if they keep it secret from other shareholders? [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russia’s state aluminium monopoly, United Company Rusal, has requested the help of the federal US court in Los Angeles in an attempt to delay or prevent the Nigerian courts and Nigerian government returning the country’s sole aluminium smelter to the Nigerian-American company which originally won the privatization auction of the asset [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow You don’t have to be a commercial rival of Ziyavudin Magomedov to notice that the billion-dollar business ventures he promises to deliver often fail to materialize. There was his claim, for example, that with his control stake of the United Grain Company (OZK is the Russian acronym), he intended to bid [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russia employs a special representative to Africa, Mikhail Margelov (rear window), whose best known statement of the policy he represents is: “Russia has returned to Africa, and Africa to Russia.” Margelov doesn’t answer questions about what this means. He was scarcely more explicit when he was the Russian negotiator for Muammar [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian oil company LUKoil plans to launch commercial production of diamonds at its Grib diamond mine in September, the company confirms. It is the first diamond mine to be opened in Russia since Alrosa, the state diamond miner, commissioned the Nyurba mine in Sakha in 2003. Alrosa’s Lomonosov diamond mine, less [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Noone at Davos this week owes as much money to as many banks, and has escaped as many default notices, as Oleg Deripaska, the Kremlin’s trustee for the state aluminium monopoly United Company Rusal. No surprise then that as he flew into Zurich enroute for this week’s World Economic Forum, the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Most American geopolitical risk analysts live in a row of northeastern towns far from the tornado belt. So they don’t understand what sowing the wind, reaping the whirlwind means. The Anglo-American strategists who thought it clever strategy to launch a little war in Libya, kill Muammar Qaddafi, and help themselves to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow At your peril, the one thing you must never say to a ranking Israeli intelligence officer, even one in mufti or retirement, is that he is suffering from a superiority complex. For the clinical symptoms of the affliction include conceptual deafness, ideological blindness. These stem from the frontal-lobe idea that the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The old oligarchs, and several new aspirants, have a new playground in the Russian transportation sector, where their profits are guaranteed by the state budget. Carrying cargo from mine and wellhead to plant and port, and back again from port to market, is already profitable in conventional terms, and so the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Last month Oleg Deripaska authorized a Washington lobbyist he employs to submit to the US Department of Justice the claim that Deripaska meets with American “businesspeople to assess economic development in the United States in connection with his role as an economic advisor to the President of the Russian Federation.” The [...]