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by John Helmer, Moscow 

Last week in a Moscow court, Michael Bloomberg’s (lead image, right) organisation of New York City did something it has never done before. It admitted it has been publishing lies about Russia.  It also paid a penalty of Rb12,600 ($170.25).

Bloomberg even promised that in future its reporting on Russia will “be guided in its work by recognised editorial standards of truthfulness, accuracy and objectivity of published information in accordance with its internal code of journalistic standards and ethics [and] best practices in the news industry.”

What Bloomberg was promising not to do was to print fabrications about Russia fed in secret to its reporters by agents of the US Government.

The Moscow bureau of Bloomberg said it had nothing to do with the court proceeding and refused to comment. The spokesman for Bloomberg’s European division in London also refused to answer questions.

Bloomberg has been lying about Russia for years.

Before the US Government accelerated its information warfare for regime change in Moscow in 2014, Bloomberg reporters regularly published fabrications about the businesses of selected Russian oligarchs to advance their interests against their rivals; lift share prices for their owners or drop them for shorters; and boost crooked borrower reputations with international banks. Two Bloomberg reporters distinguished themselves as winners of the Cat’s Paw award for fabricating on behalf of Mikhail Prokhorov.   

In this line of reporting, Bloomberg invented a special arithmetic for blind attribution to a source. The first time this source was used, it was reported by Bloomberg as “someone familiar with the matter.”  The number of “people familiar with the matter” then grew in correlation with the untruthfulness of the information, and the reluctance of Bloomberg to identify the sources as  insiders. To make the lie more credible, three, four or more sources “familiar with the matter” were added to the running copy by Bloomberg reporters. This has now become the industry standard at the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones and Reuters.  The lying was recognized long ago as a market abuse by the European Union and the London stock exchange regulators; their reports are no longer accessible on the internet.

During 2018 and 2019 US disinformation agents worked to put into international media circulation a number of stories intended to damage the governments of Russia and Venezuela; upset the relationship between the two of them; claim high Venezuelan and Russian officials were either bribing or insulting each other; and that they were in league to transport and trade Venezuelan oil secretly and in violation of US sanctions.

Reuters started the ball rolling in November 2018 and then in April of 2019, employing a US-trained journalist named Marianna Parraga, together with reporters in Caracas, Mexico City, Houston, Washington, DC, and London.

The image is of Reuters’ chief executive in New York, Stephen Adler, a dedicated agent in the US info-war against Russia.  Source: http://johnhelmer.net/

The Venezuelan allegations against the Russian state oil company Rosneft, and its chief executive Igor Sechin, were – the company declared — an “outright lie…purposeful misinformation, legalisation of rumours…invent[ed] information fabricated for the purpose of causing damage to the Russian economy, Russian companies, and the Russian state.” Reuters retreated, but acknowledged no lying.  

Bloomberg reporters tried a makeover of the same material in November 2019. Weeks before,  Bloomberg reporter Stephanie Baker had published a near-identical story as Reuters was running whose targets were, again,  Rosneft and Sechin.  The source for both stories were lawyers for remnants of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos conglomerate.  The Khodorkovsky group’s  allegations were subsequently dismissed by the UK High Court.

On November 14, 2019, Bloomberg tried once more with a story headlined “Venezuela is secretly exporting millions of barrels of oil.”  Bloomberg management refuses to identify the  reporter; the internet archive reveals the reporter’s name is Lucia Kassai. As a byline Kassai is based in New York; she is a specialist in taking US intelligence feed.  Kassai identified the source for her story as “data compiled by Bloomberg and shipping reports” as well as the US Treasury Department.  She claimed Rosneft was chartering an oil tanker to load 2 million barrels of oil from Venezuela and deliver it secretly to Gibraltar by turning off the tanker’s position transponder before it moved into and out of Venezuelan waters.

According to Kassai, “the Trump administration wants to cut off the [Venezuelan] supply of oil to the Caribbean country [Cuba] because it helps to pay for intelligence, defense and security assistance to Maduro, the U.S. Treasury Department said.”  US intelligence of this kind reported by Kassai helps pay Bloomberg’s employment bill.

Source: https://twitter.com/

The Japanese-built, Liberian-flagged tanker named in the story as Dragon was originally named Taizan. Much more is known about this 300,000-deadweight tonne vessel than about the Blomberg reporter Kassai, who also turns off her transponder.

The Dragon (Taizan) -- source: https://www.balticshipping.com/

Kassai does not appear on Bloomberg television or Bloomberg Twitter; no photograph of her can be found on the Bloomberg sites or the internet;  nor is there media verification of her name and identity.  

Instead of issuing a press release against Kassai’s report, Rosneft prepared a lawsuit against Bloomberg in Moscow. Last week on February 18, in a judgement handed down by the Moscow Arbitrazh Court judge, M.A. Vedernikov, the story was acknowledged by Bloomberg’s lawyers to have been false.

The lawyers had come to an out-of-court agreement and presented the terms to the judge for court endorsement. Read the 3-page ruling here. https://kad.arbitr.ru/Document/Pdf/547a1d96-9659-4ad8-9768-e11ebc513d1f/84128085-996f-4f71-bc7c-c8c86d348192/A40-311050-2019_20210218_Opredelenie.pdf?isAddStamp=True  Bloomberg, reads the court order, “admits that the plaintiff [Rosneft] obtained oil under prepaid contracts with companies of PDVSA Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.] long before the introduction against Venezuela of US. sanctions, as a return on investment that does not indicate the commission of any illegal acts by the company in Venezuela or the violation of US sanctions against the designated country”.

Bloomberg retracted Kassai’s central allegation. “Bloomberg Limited Liability Company never and not in any way gave grounds to believe that Rosneft was involved in the decision to transport oil with the transponders switched off as mentioned in the publication, and  the Limited Liability Company Bloomberg…is not aware of any evidence for this circumstance.”

Source: https://kad.arbitr.ru/

In return for Rosneft’s agreement to waive litigation rights in other jurisdictions, Bloomberg agreed that if its reporters prepare reports about Rosneft in future, they will ask the company for response; Kassai had ignored Rosneft in her report.  Bloomberg promised to “interact [with Rosneft] based on the observance of freedom of speech and the right of citizens to receive reliable and timely information, and the right of the Plaintiff [Rosneft] to protect its business reputation.”

In particular, Bloomberg “promises to be guided in its work by recognised editorial standards of truthfulness, accuracy and objectivity of published information in accordance with its internal code of journalistic standards and ethics [and] best practices in the news industry.”

The original story link identified in the court ruling now leads to a notice that the publication has been removed. www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-14/secret-ships-boost-venezuelan-oilexports-despite-u-s-sanctions However, another Bloomberg source continues to run the Kassai publication.  https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/secret-ships-boost-venezuelan-oil-exports-despite-u-s-sanctions 

Source: https://www.bloombergquint.com/

Bloomberg’s management was asked why the story had not been retracted and apologised for in print. The Moscow bureau replied that it was not involved in the case. The London spokesman for the company refused to answer.

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