Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Boyko threatens journalists over drilling rig

Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko claims the recent article in 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' about "Chornomornaftohaz's" scandalous $400 million purchase of a jackup drilling rig [see previous blog] was "zakazukha -100%""- ordered and published in order to discredit him.

He has requested the Ukrainian Security Service [SBU] investigate who the 'shit-stirrers' are and suggests that the article was ordered in bad faith to disrupt the dates of commencement of production of oil and gas by Ukraine on the Black Sea shelf.

Boyko did not deny the installation could have cost $ 250 million, but claimed this did not include "additional costs".

"In fact the cost of installation may be 250 million, but that does not include the cost of any rescue helicopters, or ships, and this is extra money," he said.

"On the one hand, 400 million [paid to a 'name-plate' shell company with registered offices at a small bathroom and kitchen shop..LEvko], on the another 250, but they forgot to mention all the spare parts and accessories ... I have to conclude that this is "zakazuha". Nobody looked at the details, simply [everything was done] to create a scandal .." said Boyko.

LEvko wants to know why did he not provide any details where the additional $150 million went?

Why did he give a company whose offices lie between 'Tony's Italian and North Indian Cuisine Cafe', 'Chillies Take-Away', and 'Tattoo-U' tattoo parlour, $400 million?

Why was this company, who obviously now supply helicopters and ships, have a website written by Borat?

Why are the guys behind the two sole companies who submitted tenders linked?

Why was the drilling platform not purchased direct from SDRL - Seadrill? Is it because, in their own words, they endeavour to adhere to "stringent ethical requirements and the highest standards of corporate governance"? I.e. no chance of kickbacks?

By threatening 'DzT' with an SBU investigation over a perfectly sound piece of investigative journalism Boyko is merely providing more evidence of press harassment by the ruling authorities. His response sounds as phony as the 'copy' on the 'name-plate' company's website..

p.s. Boyko used this outfit to register it. They share the same premises as the plumbers..

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fuel and Energy minister linked to drilling rig scam?

On April 1 this year minister of fuel and energy Yuriy Boyko appeared on on the 'Velyka Polityka' tv programme. He announced: "Today we have purchased a most up-to-date drilling platform from Singapore. I have in mind 'Naftohaz Ukrainy'".

The current 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' exposes a massive scam surrounding its purchase. The drilling rig was bought for $ 400 million, supposedly via competitive tender, by the state company 'ChornomorNaftogaz' . However, only two companies - the New Zealand Falcona Systems Ltd, and the Cardiff UK-based Highway Investment Processing LLP submitted tenders.

The initial suppliers of the rig, the Norwegian SDRL-Seadrill, received almost $250 million for the rig, so the winners of the tendering process, Highway Investment Processing LLP, took a mind-numbing $ 150 million 'cut' on the deal.

Strangely, the images of the rig in question on the latter's website, are entitled 'tovar001' and 'tovar002', which means 'goods' or 'article of trade' in Ukrainian and Russian.The website's designers and owners are registered in Kyiv, and its name is also registered in Ukraine. The website, written in appalling sloppy English [almost certainly- google-translated -*see below] was set up two weeks before the 'winner' of the tender was announced.

Detective work by 'DzT' provides prima facie evidence that the two companies submitting tenders are linked - the bidding was, dare we say, "rigged"? The heads of the companies, Erik Vanahels and Stan Gorin were named in the US 'Trout Cacheris' report investigating alleged 'dodgy business' in Yulia Tymoshenko's goverment [page 151 of the report]

And, no surprise at all, Highway Investment Processing LLP is merely a 'name plate company' behind which are concealed two off-shore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Highway Investment Processing LLP's registered address is 82 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3LX. A few minutes on Google street view shows this to be a nondescript street with small nondescript shops, in a distinctly average neighbourhood - hardly the location for a business trading in hundreds of millions. Number 82 is a small bathroom and kitchen installation company.

What LEvko finds amazing is how little effort the organisers of this scheme have made to cover their tracks..what arrogance..what sh*tbags..what two-bit shysters..

Meanwhile former Interior minister Yuriy Lutsenko has been 'banged up' in prison over half a year accused of overpaying his driver...[The current Prosecutor-General, in a recent tv interview added that former minister of the interior Lutsenko was detained after he had sent indecent written comments to his successor...he had been out on parole prior to this..]

*"e.g. "We organizes bizness on the sale of the borings settings and supplying with all necessary for high-quality research bottom exterminating. «HIGHWAY INVESTMENT PROCESSING LLP» is a global contractor, with the strong local being in strategic and appearing areas as for example Western Africa, North Africa, FSU, Central Asia, Middle East, and South East Asia."!?!?! - This is the company Yuriy Boyko paid $400 million ?! - Was this crap written by Borat?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tymoshenko's hubby

Yesterday Yulia Tymoshenko's husband Oleksandr, looking as if he had just climbed down from a prison roof, appeared outside the Prosecutor-General's office when it seemed his wife was about to be detained.

The normally camera-shy Oleksandr was wearing a $35K watch, and a $500 tee shirt - I have one that looks just the same - I wash my small Nissan with it every Sunday morning..

With a face like that it's dangerous to hang around the P-G's office. He'd get 6 months for looks alone..

Imagine if Tymoshenko had become president...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Danish Helsinki Committee on Lutsenko/Korniychuk

A 13 page preliminary report by the Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights , in English, on the trials against former Minister of Interior Yurij Lutsenko and former First Deputy Minister of Justice Yevhen Korniychuk, is available here

It clearly highlights the massive shortcomings in the Ukrainian legal system and the enormous shake-out that needs to take place in order that it can meet the commitments and obligations that it undertook when it joined the Council of Europe.

One would imagine that with such a high profile case being closely watched by outside observers, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and judiciary would pay particular attention to ensure legal norms were strictly adhered to. But this report exposes their incompetence, sloppiness and indifference to the views of others.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Back-pedalling over Lutsenko?

Today former minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko appeared in court but his appeals to be released on bail were denied, and he is back behind bars again.

He has, however, ended his month-long hunger strike.

Deputy prime minister Boris Kolesnikov, who it is commonly believed to behind Lutsenko's arrest in revenge for Lutsenko's brief imprisonment of Kolesnikov just over six years ago, today sounded a conciliatory note: "I'm sure if [his] lawyers analyse in depth the crimes of which he is accused, he can achieve a positive outcome for himself. At the moment, in essence, no one is actually saying anything. Everyone [just] talks about politics. In any case I hope he will defend himself with dignity."

There may be reasons why the maltreatment of Lutensko may be now tempered.

It looks as if "all those who played a role" in the arrest and death in custody in 2009 of the prominent Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and in the alleged cover up of the corruption he exposed, will pay a price...About one hundred of them, Russian prosecutors, judges and law enforcers, may be subjects of visa and financial sanctions in the USA. [check out link for more info]

The European Court of Human Rights are looking into Lutsenko's case too and have asked the Ukrainian authorities to explain the circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention. Two European ambassadors reportedly attended today's court hearing and Lutsenko's treatment is being closely observed by high-ranking European Helsinki committee observers. Yulia Tymoshenko, who was also present, later met with other European ambassadors.

Magnitsky died from from pancreatitis and heart failure while in detention in jail - Lutsenko's hunger strike has caused him to suffer similar ailments. He is due in court at the end of the week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thugs in parliament

The depths to which Ukrainian so-called 'politicians' regularly descend never fails to astound me, even after many years observing their behaviour.

Today, during a plenary session, the 1st deputy speaker of Ukraine's parliament, Adam Martynyuk, assaulted and attempted to strangle parliamentary deputy Oleh Lyashko. [Check out video here ]

The maverick Lyashko apparently had called Martynyuk "a pharisee".
Will the deputy speaker be disciplined? Are you kidding?

Martynyuk and his ilk wear swanky Italian suits and drive around in the classiest of automobiles. They live in the most exclusive dachas around Kyiv procured by the most devious means...and yet behave like hoodlums..

Quite disgusting and macabre....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What really happened on Victory day in Lviv

A good 'Global Voices' report on recent Day of Victory clashes in Lviv, here.

After the Soviets annexed/liberated Western Ukraine in Autumn 1939, many hundreds of thousands of Poles and Ukrainians [including members of your blogger's family] were deported to Siberia and elsewhere, or were destroyed in the most terrible ways. However, a great number of Western Ukrainians [including other close members of your blogger's family] served loyally in the Soviet armed forces and made an important contribution in the defeat of Hitler's Germany, of which their families are proud. A lesser number may have joined Ukrainian Insurgents or volunteered for the SS Halychyna divisions.

Such a multi-strand narrative is common amongst the current population of this part of Ukraine. As a result, events such as those described in the 'Global Voices' link above have not occurred before to any significant degree. WW2 memorials are invariably well maintained and regularly adorned with flowers, and local veterans have always been free to parade in their Soviet regalia on Victory Day in Western Ukraine without being bothered.

As 'Global Voices' points out, the silent majority Ukrainians and Russians in Lviv have little time for the new big political game being played out by political technologists in Moscow and Kyiv...

Are ruling politicians in Kyiv wise enough and smart enough to deal with this kind of provocation? Sadly, I fear not - it's worse, because they helped set it up..

Friday, May 13, 2011

John Demjanjuk: The Last Nazi

"Funny thing is, he was never a Nazi, nor Ivan the Terrible, nor even German. So why now is he standing trial in Munich as accessory to 27,900 Nazi murders? Is this one last blow struck for justice for the Holocaust? Or is it a farce?"

LEvko says ignore the pompous editorials - and read more of last year's excellent extended 'Esquire' article, by Scott Raab, here

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Friday, May 06, 2011

"Pain, but no grain"

Good 'write-up' on the shady grain market in Ukraine by Anna Babinets here

"The Ukrainian Minister for Agrarian Policy Mykola Prysyazhnyuk drives a Maserati Quattroporte and makes no secret of the fact. This Italian car costs about 260,000 USD. The ministerial salary is about 2,000 USD per month." Very patriotic - the Maserati trident badge is a good selling point...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Yanukovych - a man of the oligarchs?

Check out this very good analysis from Olga Shumylo-Tapiola of the Carnegie Endowment for International piece, entitled: "Viktor Yanukovych - a man of the oligarchs", here

"Perceptions of Yanukovych vary. He is alternately seen as a tyrant-in-the-making or an effective strongman, a weak personality controlled by oligarchs or a politician trying to rise above them, a pro-Russian president or one afraid of a Russian takeover. The simple truth is that Yanukovych is neither one nor the other. While he is not ideological—and doesn’t have an evil plan to subvert Ukrainian democracy and turn the country into a police state—he also doesn’t seem to want to improve the lives of average Ukrainians.

His goal appears to be to create a system that will allow him and his network of oligarchs to gain and consolidate control over Ukraine and its assets, benefitting from them without external interference.

Staying in power is a matter of survival for Yanukovych and his entourage. They will do everything to establish their control over the different branches of government, putting their people in the right places, and silencing those who speak out against them."

Right on...