Thursday, December 02, 2010

U.S. Embassy Cables on Russian Gangster Semyon Mogilevich

"When I was the Prime Minister, we provided the President of Ukraine with documented proof that some powerful criminal structures, are behind the RosUkrEnergo company. I can only say as a politician: we have no doubts whatsoever that the man named Mogilevich is behind the whole operation called RosUkrEnergo."---Yulia Tymoshenko (BBC, 11-6-06)

"Gas supplies to Ukraine and EU states are linked to the Russian mafia, according to the US ambassador in Kiev...The US says [Semyon] Mogilevich is one of the world's top mafia bosses, accusing him of creating eastern Europe's most powerful crime group in the 1990s. He is on the list of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives for his alleged part in a multimillion-dollar fraud involving a Pennsylvania-based company in the 90s.---U.K. Guardian (12-1-10)

Wikileaks has released U.S. government information about the Ukrainian gangster Semyon Mogilevich (Wikipedia, 12-2-10), but the fact that he is a notorious criminal is not exactly news. The FBI includes Mogilevich on their Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list.

The U.K. Guardian (12-1-10) reports:

Gas supplies to Ukraine and EU states are linked to the Russian mafia, according to the US ambassador in Kiev.

His cable, released by WikiLeaks, followed statements by the then prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, to the BBC that she had "documented proof that some powerful criminal structures are behind the RosUkrEnergo (RUE) company".

Allegations have long swirled that the Russian crime don Semyon Mogilevich had covert interests in Swiss-registered RUE, which distributes gas from central Asia.

A billionaire Ukrainian businessman, Dmitry Firtash, nominally owns nearly half the company. (The Russian state firm Gazprom owns the other half.) In a confidential meeting with the ambassador, Firtash admitted Mogilevich was the real power behind his own multibillion-dollar gas interests. He insisted it was impossible to do business in Ukraine in the 1990s without striking sleazy deals with organised criminals. [See full text.]

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