Monday, December 8, 2008

Russia shows new desire to seize assets

I expect the Obama thugs to pull off the same antics.

In late October, one of Vladimir Putin's top lieutenants abruptly summoned a billionaire mining oligarch to a private meeting. The official, Igor Sechin, had taken a sudden interest in a two-year-old accident at the oligarch's highly lucrative mining operations here in Russia's industrial heartland.

Sechin, who is a leader of a shadowy Kremlin faction tied to the state security services, said he was ordering a new inquiry into the mishap, according to minutes of the meeting. With a deputy interior minister who investigates financial crime at his side, Sechin threatened crippling fines against the company, Uralkali.

Startled, the oligarch, Dmitri Rybolovlev, pointed out that the government had already examined the incident thoroughly and had cleared the company of responsibility. He further sought to fend off the inquiry by saying he would pay for some of the damage to infrastructure from the accident, a mine collapse that injured no one but left a gaping sinkhole.

His offer was rebuffed, and it seemed clear why: the Kremlin was maneuvering to seize Uralkali outright.

Putin, the former president and current prime minister, has long maintained that Russia made a colossal error in the 1990s by allowing its enormous reserves of oil, gas and other natural resources to fall into private hands. He has acted uncompromisingly — most notably in the 2003 attack on the Yukos Oil Company — to get them back.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.