Monday, October 02, 2006

Kyivstar, and the President

The latest 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' ['Zerkalo Nedeli'] includes a small piece which illustrates Yanuk's and Klyuyev's nonchalant attitude to the attempted 2004 Presidential election steal. The excellent 'Neeka's Backlog' translates a portion of the article.

The DzT article also includes this: [which I have loosely translated]

"The head of Presidential commission for Foreign Investments, Mr. Gaydutskiy was absent from a [recent] sessional meeting of the commision's group which investigates problems encountered in Ukraine by important foreign investors.

During the meeting [representatives of] "Telenor", which is engaged in a legal battle with the Russian "Alfa-Group" for the control over the [telecoms] company "Kyivstar", complained about the wilfulness of Ukrainian courts.

[Interestingly] At the same time President Viktor Yushchenko was receiving Alfa-Group boss - Mikhail Friedman [one of Russia's richest oligarchs - $10Bn+]; Mr. Gaydutskiy was also present. Media reports said that they discussed Alfa-Group's sponsorship and participation in the "Mystets'kiy Arsenal" project. [one of Yush's pet cultural projects]. "

A few minutes Googling turned up the following:

Ukrainian court gives Telenor priority on Kyivstar’s board 21 Sep 2006

Ukraine’s Kharkiv Region Court of Appeals has given Norwegian telecommunication company Telenor a priority vote on the board of directors of Ukraine’s largest mobile operator Kyivstar, Telenor said in a press release Wednesday.

Telenor filed an appeal with the court seeking to overturn a previous court ruling that gave Telenor and Ukraine’s Storm, the two shareholders of Kyivstar, equal voting rights on the board, Cellular-News reported.

Telenor holds 56.5 percent in Kyivstar, while Storm, controlled by Russia’s Alfa Group, holds 43.5 percent. In 2005, Storm’s direct owner, Alfa Group’s telecom unit Altimo, filed a lawsuit with the district court seeking to amend Kyivstar’s charter and won the case. Kyivstar’s subscriber base totaled 16.6 million users as of August.

I did a bit more Googling - which quickly revealed a mass of entangled financial shenanigans involving many of the 'usual suspects' - Kuchma, Lazarenko. etc. around what everyone knew would be a big moneyspinner - Kyivstar.

Check out here and here.

The deeper you dig, the dirtier it gets.. With all of these lawsuits flying around what does the President think it looks like when he meets the likes of Alfa-Group chief Mikhail Friedman, particularly as he met him when he should have been attending a Cabinet Meeting with Yanuk and other ministers? Maybe he is not bothered any more..

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