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Deripaska2.10

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Nigerian government was ordered by the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday to oust United Company Rusal from the country’s aluminium smelter, and hand it over to a Nigerian-American group which has been suing for a decade.
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evraz_ipo

By John Helmer, Moscow

During his lengthy testimony and cross-examination in the UK High Court, Roman Abramovich (below, left) claimed he couldn’t remember much about what taxes he paid. The judge believed him. That remarkable episode in the history of Russian taxation took place on November 5, 2011, at 3 in the afternoon.

Now Abramovich has presented the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with a prospectus for selling shares of the North American division of his steel company, Evraz. The document runs to 218 pages, and except for the minuscule print on one, Abramovich omits to say who he is, and how he controls Evraz. He glosses over one key word from his description of Evraz, and the big risk for shareholders in North America: that word is “Russia”.
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flyboy_deripaska

By John Helmer, Moscow

Oleg Deripaska is flying to the rescue of the Fatherland, again.

Russia is now a war economy, even if not all the Kremlin officials in charge will admit it publicly, as they squabble privately over what to do, and who will gain. “A new industrialization for the country”, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the military-industrial complex, Dmitry Rogozin, announced on Sunday night television – without saying what place the old, unsanctioned oligarchs may have to play, or the new oligarchs on the American proscription list.
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pinchuk_cow

By John Helmer, Moscow

What do Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Anders Aslund, Steven Pifer, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and the Brookings Institution have in common? Answer: they drink unpasteurised milk from the Ukraine. Lots of it.

How damaging this may be for the health depends on how Victor Pinchuk (image left, right), the Ukrainian pipemaker, responds to filings in the Moscow Arbitrazh Court. Reported publicly this week, the court papers suggest that through companies registered in Cyprus, Pinchuk milked about $200 million from the Rossiya Insurance Company in Moscow. For the time being, the Russian court action is a civil one, and seeks repayment by Pinchuk’s East One holding and related companies. If Pinchuk doesn’t repay, Cyprus, European Union, and US court action, alleging conspiracy to defraud, is likely to follow. Pinchuk’s innocence should be assumed in the meantime. Drinking raw milk, however, carries a contamination risk.
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canada_challenge

By John Helmer, Moscow

A legal challenge by Canadians against government evidence for sanctions against Russia has won a reversal by the Canadian Foreign Ministry. The victory conceded by the ministry in Ottawa last week opens the door to legal challenges to the US Government’s campaign to topple President Vladimir Putin and force regime change in Moscow.

The Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, admitted in parliament on September 18 that the government had removed two Russian banks, RosEnergoBank and Expobank, from its sanctions list. “Following receipt of new information and further investigation and analysis, these entities are being removed from the list,” Baird said in reply to a question in the House of Commons from opposition member, Paul Dewar. According to Baird, the banks were “sufficiently divorced” from events in Ukraine to warrant sanctions.
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alrosa_strings

By John Helmer, Moscow

When a man falls on his sword, his demise isn’t usually blamed on medical reasons.

A statement from the state diamond miner Alrosa on Monday reported that chief executive Fyodor Andreyev (image, lower right) “decided to resign from the post of ALROSA president for medical reasons. He announced about this decision at the weekly management meeting held on 22 September. Stepping down from the operative management of the company, Fyodor Andreyev will continue to take part in ALROSA governance as a member of the Supervisory Board.” Now the smallest child in Russia knows that to absent himself from school, he must deliver a signed medical certificate. For a publicly listed shareholding company, as Alrosa has been since October 2013, to omit such a detail, and for Andreyev to judge it unnecessary, signals how little has changed in the governance of the company, and how unaccountable and non-transparent Andreyev was both in his coming to Alrosa, and in his going from it.
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g20_war

By John Helmer, Moscow

The Australian Government is threatening the personal security of President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, to be held in November. The state government of Queensland, where the summit meetings will be located, is threatening to attack Putin with public displays of homosexual symbols, including pink sequins.

The calculation is that Russia’s international isolation should be intensified, Putin evicted from the G-20, as he was in March from the G-8; reviled in his absence as justification for violent schemes to overthrow him. If Putin attends the Queensland meeting, the risk of the latter will be high. Fear for himself is what the Australians intend him to have.
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eu_justice

By John Helmer, Moscow

Anders Fogh Rasmussen departs in two weeks from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), where he has been secretary-general since 2009, with a present from the General Court of the European Union Court of Justice. It’s a golden tongue depressor.

In a judgement issued in Luxembourg on Thursday, September 18, the court ruled that the European Union(EU) cannot lawfully introduce sanctions against states, corporations, state organizations, or individuals without stating reasons which can be substantiated in evidence to a standard of proof tested in court.
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By John Helmer, Moscow

Polling of Ukrainian voters since the ceasefire in the civil war was negotiated on September 5 reveals that large, growing majorities of Ukrainians throughout the country are in favour of keeping to the ceasefire terms and stopping hostilities. The only political party Ukrainian voters say they support to do this is President Petro Poroshenko’s Solidarity bloc, an alliance with Vitaily Klitschko, Yury Lutsenko and Olga Bogomolets.

Ukrainian politicians, including the current Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, are losing support, the voters say, because they favour war in the Donbass, sanctions against Russia, and military intervention of NATO on Ukrainian territory. Yatseniuk and Timoshenko are leading blocs they are calling Patriots of Ukraine and Fatherland in the campaign for parliamentary seats to be decided on October 26. On current polling trends, their voters across the country will number less than 5%, the threshold for winning party seats in the new Verkhovna Rada.
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titanium_wars

By John Helmer, Moscow

Ukrainian government and commercial interests are lobbying the US Government to support a stealth sanction against VSMPO-AVISMA, the Russian supplier of titanium to Boeing and other US aerospace companies. Instead of VSMPO, the Ukrainians are seeking US government financing for the establishment of new high-grade titanium production lines at Zaporizhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine (ZTMC), and expansion of Ukrainian titanium exports to the US.

This week, a confidential message from the US Department of Commerce revealed that, “in recent meetings with U.S. Department of Commerce officials, the GOU [Government of Ukraine] expressed that it would like to have U.S. companies involved in the development of the titanium resources in Ukraine. The Commerce Department is, of course, very interested in encouraging the involvement of all U.S. companies in all relevant sectors given such an opportunity, and we are inviting input from industry regarding this topic.”
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