Monday, November 06, 2006

Price of gas

The BBC last night broadcast a current events 'Panorama' program -'Price of gas' .

There are some bits on RosUkrEnergo, Firtash et. al. - about 16 minutes into the program and onward. It includes brief interviews with Yuliya T., a decidedly 'shifty' and sweaty Robert Shelter Jones, and old clips of Mogilevich.

See it here

And a full transcript here

Here's a portion:

YULIA TYMOSHENKO: 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.
STEVE BRADSHAW: Simeon Mogilevich is on the FBI's most wanted list - wanted for alleged money-laundering.
Seven years ago Panorama made a film about him and asked about his complex business deals- and why he'd opened offshore accounts in Britain's channel islands.
Then in April this man - Dimitry Firtash - a Ukranian gas trader - said it's not Mogilevich - it's my company that owns the mystery half of RosUkrEnergo.
Attention now focussed on mister Firtash's business associates - including one who did seem - well - unusual. Her name - Louise Lukacs. Gas baron? Mobster?
No - out of work Romanian actress with a role in another gas trading company MR Firtash had helped set up.
She'd agreed to be on the share register saying she needed help with her phone bill.
We asked Mr Firtash for an interview, but were offered instead his British representative.
STEVE BRADSHAW:But what on earth was this woman doing with a company in the first place?
ROBERT SHETLER-JONES: As is usual in some private businesses, ownership is held on trust for the beneficial owner. It was ... this was one of the trustees who was known to the team that created the company and she was asked, approached, to be a trustee on behalf of Mr Firtash.
STEVE BRADSHAW: Figure head for Mr Firtash.
STEVE BRADSHAW: Necessarily because... ?
ROBERT SHETLER-JONES: Mr Firtash at that time did not want to be a public figure.
STEVE BRADSHAW: Was Mr Mogilevich - people wanted to know - perhaps using Mr Firtash as a figurehead? The two men had met and had used the same lawyer.
But both deny ever having done business together. Mr Firtash says the hugely lucrative shares he holds in RosUkrEnergo are his own.
ROBERT SHETLER-JONES: Mr Firtash is his own man. I think you have to look at...
STEVE BRADSHAW: Are you sure he's not acting on behalf of anybody else?
ROBERT SHETLER-JONES: I'm positive he's not acting on behalf of anybody else
STEVE BRADSHAW: Would you know?
ROBERT SHETLER-JONES:Given how close I am to him and his business I would know. I would argue that Rosukrenergo is not a murky company, in fact it is very open and transparent. It is a Swiss registered company. The owners of the company are known, and Ukraine is benefiting today from some of the cheaper gas in Europe as a result of RosUkrenergo's business.
STEVE BRADSHAW: Why could Rosukrenergo matter to us?
JONATHAN STERN: What happens ... if RosUkrenergo breaks up because there are some problems of governance, or some problems of alleged mafia connections, that could eventually disrupt gas supplies, and that's what we should be concerned about.
STEVE BRADSHAW: Gas supplies to?
JONATHAN STERN: That could disrupt Russian gas supplies to Europe. That's why we need to be concerned about it.

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