Russia seizes oligarch assets in Crimea

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On April 11, the so-called parliament of the Crimean Republic created the state enterprise “Krymenergo,” which will manage the energy assets of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, reports Espreso.TV. Since the pseudo government of Crimea has been adopting decisions recently that are not based on any legal framework but are more in line with “hostile takeovers,” this development can hardly be considered sensational.

In this case, however, there is one detail that points to a move to the next stage of the Ukrainian-Crimean “relationship.” Now Crimean officials are switching from raiding government property to raiding private property.

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Firtash Arrested in Vienna

Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash was arrested in Vienna on Wednesday evening, March 12. This information has been confirmed by German broadcaster “Deutsche Welle,” citing sources at the Federal Criminal Police Office of Austria.

Police sources also said the question of Firtash’s extradition to the U.S. would be resolved soon. Austria has no criminal cases against the businessman. Firtash’s arrest was based on a warrant issued by a U.S. court at the request of the FBI.

“In the evening on March 12, at about 20:00, members of the department for combating organized crime arrested Ukrainian citizen Dmytro Firtash, aged 48,” says the official statement from the Austrian police. Firtash is suspected of bribery and organized crime.

Among oligarchs, Firtash was one of those closest to the Yanukovych regime. In particular, he participated in the gas schemes between the Putin and Yanukovych regimes, even receiving a “discount.” As co-owner of the intermediary firm “RosUkrEnerho,” Firtash was involved in gas supplies during both the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko and the premiership of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Currently Firtash is owner of the TV channel “Inter,” which at the start of the Euromaidan protests was broadcasting distorted information on events with a decidedly pro-government stance. When protesters began to die, he shifted to a more balanced strategy.

Firtash was not included in recent lists of oligarchs subject to account freezes in the EU. According to “Correspondent,” he ranks 8th in the rankings of richest Ukrainians.

In the UK, Firtash formed an organization called “DF Foundation,” which later changed its name to “Firtash Foundation.” This organization was incorporated in Leeds. It is officially managed by Firtash’s Russian wife Lada Firtash.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed Firtash’s detention, said Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyynis, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda, March 13.

“According to our embassy in Vienna, we can say that he was indeed arrested at the request of the FBI. Firtash is currently in a penitentiary in Vienna,” Pereybyynis said. He added that “the embassy is looking into the matter and will try to hold a meeting with (Firtash).”

When asked when such a meeting would take place, Pereybyynis said it would depend on permission from the Austrian side.

http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2014/03/13/7018655/

http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2014/03/13/7018664/

Ukrainian oligarchs and businessmen speak in support of Ukrainian unity as Russia commences invasion of Crimea

As Euromaidan sent Yanukovych fleeing into Russia, and Russian troops de-facto began a military intervention in Crimea, Ukrainian oligarchs have begun speaking out in support of a united Ukraine and its territorial integrity, and against military conflict.

Henadiy Korban, a partner of Ihor Kolomoisky, believes that the oligarchs are ready to wage a war with Russia and only a united Ukraine can secure their prosperity.

That was Korban’s statement to Espreso.TV. “That’s true, policies established by the new government will shatter the economic positions of the oligarchs in Russia, and they will lose some benefits, but all this is only in a short-term perspective. I will tell you more – I have talked to Akhmetov, Kolomoisky, Novinsky – these people are no longer interested to multiply their money. They want to have a place in history. In the long run, only a united Ukraine will ensure them prosperity in a long run”, Korban says. Continue reading

Firtash discusses Ukraine with British Foreign Affairs Ministry

Dmytro Firtash, head of the Employers Federation of Ukraine (FRU), met with senior representatives of Britain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reported a statement released by FRU’s press service. The meeting, which took place on February 24, in London, focused on support for Ukraine. 
“During the meeting all parties discussed the most recent events in Ukraine as well as Britain’s possible political and economic support of Ukraine after the formation of the new Ukrainian government,” the statement said.
Firtash called the meetings “very useful and constructive.” Britain “has expressed a willingness in principle to support Ukrainian business and to promote stability and growth of Ukrainian industry,” he said.
It is well known that Firtash was one of the oligarchs closest to Yanukovych’s regime.
In particular, he was involved in gas schemes between the regimes of Putin and Yanukovych.
Together with the head of Yanukovych’s administration Serhiy Lovochkin, Firtash was co-owner of the TV channel “Inter,” where journalists last week complained about censorship and pressure from the administration.
Ukrainska Pravda
http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2014/02/25/7016253/ 

Yanukovych, Akhmetov and Firtash must pay the price instead of throwing bones to Maidan The

загруженноеSerhiy Leshchenko

The fact is that the Parliament voted to diminish Yanukovych’s powers through a return to the 2004 Constitution, and that Yanukovych agreed to holding early elections in December 2014. This was the resistance’s agenda a month ago. Before the first human victims. Like the opposition leaders, Yanukovych is lagging behind in his understanding of the situation.

Listen to the people on Maidan. Basically, today we want Yanukovych’s head. Whoever brings it to Maidan will be declared a national hero. Tens of thousands of people will donate toward the bounty. Quite possibly a street will be named after him. Continue reading

Privatization-2014: Under the Auspicies of Firtash and Russia

Viktor Yanukovych, Dmytro Firtash. Photo UP

Ukraine’s State Property Fund (SPF) recently announced that it plans to sell large stakes in several Ukrainian plants. In particular, the state-owned stakes of 99.6% in Odessa Port Plant, 75.2% of Turboatom, 50% of Azovmash, and 99,9% Sumykhimprom  will be up for tender. A government decision is necessary to carry out the privatization of Turboatom and Azovmash. In addition, Turboatom needs to bring its operations into compliance with the requirements of the Law On Joint Stock Companies.

If SPF manages to get its target price for these companies as well as a number of energy companies, hitting the 2014 privatization plan of UAH 18.2 billion (USD 2.2 billion) may become realistic, says Andrey Bespyatov, head of the analytical department at Dragon Capital. Continue reading