Saturday, November 20, 2010

Russian Mogul Alisher Usmanov

"I had known from my own intelligence sources while British Ambassador in Uzbekistan that Usmanov was in charge of Gazprom bribery and slush funds."---Craig Murray (6-1-07)

"As well as heading Metalloinvest, [Alisher Usmanov] is general director of Gazprominvestholding, an investment subsidiary of Russia's gas monopoly, Gazprom, and also owns Kommersant, a business newspaper."---U.K. Guardian (11-19-07)

This is a photo of the Russian-based, Gazprom-affiliated, Uzbek mogul Alisher Usmanov, one of the richest men in the world. The U.K. Guardian reports that Usmanov "studied at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations - known for producing diplomats and spies."

According to Gazprom, as cited by Wikipedia:

[Usmanov] is chairman of Gazprominvestholdings, the investment holding subsidiary of Russia's state-owned gas company Gazprom, where his role is to manage what Gazprom calls its "most difficult and sensitive financial transactions."

Usmanov's newspaper Kommersant (Businessman) attacked the British climate scientists on 12-16-09. Usmanov's Kommersant (11-11-10) also published an article that mocked the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR. The businessman is close to the head of the ruling United Russia Party, Prime Minister Putin.

The U.K. Guardian (11-19-07) has profiled Usmanov:

He studied at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, a university renowned in Soviet days for churning out diplomats and spooks and the odd foreign correspondent. It was here that he forged many of the alliances that would assist his extraordinarily successful post-Soviet business career, friendships with people like Sergey Yastrzhembsky, former press attache for Boris Yeltsin and aide to Putin.

On graduating he returned to Tashkent, where he was appointed director of the Foreign Economic Association of the Soviet Peace Committee. This is an intriguing detail of his CV, as it is now widely suspected that the Peace Committee was a front for the KGB.

There have been several other occasions when Usmanov can be seen to have enjoyed close connections with members of Russia's intelligence community. His friends include Yevgeny Primakov, who was the director of Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, before being appointed prime minister. For a couple of years he was first deputy chairman of a financial institution called the MAPO bank, once described as "the spies' bank" because of its links with Russian intelligence agencies.

In his email, Usmanov described questions about the Soviet Peace Committee as being "based on misinformation", and added that he has never served in the KGB, or any other Russian or Uzbek intelligence agency...

He also developed a number of banking interests before tapping into the real source of wealth in Russia - its natural resources - acquiring steel, timber and mining concerns. Today he is the 142nd richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

As well as heading Metalloinvest, he is general director of Gazprominvestholding, an investment subsidiary of Russia's gas monopoly, Gazprom, and also owns Kommersant, a business newspaper. In 2003 he began investing in Corus, the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker, eventually acquiring 13.5% before selling his stock.

Over the years, Usmanov has been dogged by allegations that he is a less-than-legitimate businessman, and that he has connections with Russian and Uzbek criminals. In particular, questions have been asked about Gafur Rakhimov, a man who has repeatedly been named as an Uzbek mafia boss and who was once banned from entering Australia because of his alleged connections to organised crime. [See the full text.]

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