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Post Ukraine and "Worthless Scraps of Paper"; on Burisma Holdings
Created by John Eipper on 05/19/14 3:28 AM

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Ukraine and "Worthless Scraps of Paper"; on Burisma Holdings (Boris Volodarsky, Austria, 05/19/14 3:28 am)

I was genuinely surprised to learn that some well-educated American citizens consider international agreements that their leaders sign to be "Worthless Scraps of Paper" (WSP). Shall we go further and say, based on our historical experience, that the American Constitution or the Charter of the United Nations are nothing else but WSPs, along with all other documents signed by the living and dead heads of state? If a country's president is shagging his secretary in the Oval Office and his wife then runs for the presidency with his former mistress gaining a worldwide celebrity status together with a master of psychology degree from my Alma Mater (she is now busy writing essays for Vanity Fair), then this may very well be true. Below is another story of how important international documents may become worthless scraps of paper:

While President Clinton is greeting the biggest European LGBT event in Vienna, Austria, the Burisma scandal is enveloping in Kiev. Burisma Holdings is one of privately owned companies registered in Cyprus that controls several Ukrainian producers who pump gas accounting for more than 10 percent of Ukrainian's domestic production. The sole shareholder of Burisma Holdings is another offshore company registered in Cyprus and named Brociti Investments, whose only beneficiary is Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky was appointed minister of natural resources in the Kuchma government and became environment minister under Yanukovych. He was removed from the Cabinet in April 2012 and got the less lucrative but more responsible job of deputy secretary of Ukraine's National Security Council, a role he held until the Yanukovych government collapsed in February 2014. For the career Soviet Army officer and a Rolls-Royce Phantom fan (Mr Zlochevsky also has a few Bentleys and BMWs in his garage), the appointment to the Security Council is a clear sign that he is a Moscow man. There can be little doubt about it because Mykola's liaison to the Kremlin is Victor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch (and a KGB agent alias "Sokolovsky"). Both of these high-net-worth individuals are members of what was once known as the Magnificent Seven in Ukraine.

Companies controlled by Burisma/Brociti produced about 450 million cubic meters of gas in 2013, making this holding the largest independent gas producer in Ukraine by volume in the first quarter of this year, according to a company spokesman. Burisma sells its gas domestically. What attracted media attention to this otherwise unremarkable business venture is its totally bogus Board of Directors. It is "chaired" by one Alan Apter, who used to work for the Russian investment firms Renaissance Capital and Troika Dialog. Mr Apter is also a board member and former CEO of Wood & Company, a Czech investment bank focusing on emerging equity markets. While many skeletons can usually be found in such firms' cupboards, suffice it to say that Renaissance Capital used to employ high-ranking KGB officers and agents who were directly implicated in the Magnitsky scandal. As soon as it was sold to a business group controlled by a pro-Kremlin Russian oligarch, its key executives were transferred to Troika.

Other board members of Burisma and its directors are Aleksander Kwasniewski, former president of Poland (1995-2005), Hunter Biden, the younger son of Joe Biden, and Devon Archer, a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry's stepson. In addition to being the ketchup heir's college roommate and business associate, Mr Archer was an adviser to Mr Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004. He is also the Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director of Rosemont Capital and the Executive Director of Rosemont Reality. Along with these appointments, he also serves on the Board of Viet Thai Joint Stock Company, Cataphora Inc., and the Howard J. Heinz Trust. Both Mr Biden and Mr Archer work for Rosemont Seneca Partners, affiliated with Rosemont Capital.

Finally, two other Burisma directors, all of them nominees of course, are Angelica Pasenidou, a Russian accountant from the city of Lermontov married to a Greek Cypriot, and one Riginos Charalambous.

All of those fake Western directors of the Cyprus offshore firm, 100% of whose shares belong to Mykola, should have signed three very real and valuable pieces of paper. Of them, the most important, is a promise of a director only to do what the real owner tells him or her. Two others are the "general power of attorney" that every director secretly hands over to the real owner and a signed, but undated, director's resignation letter.

It has additionally become known that the London-based PR firm Bell Pottinger was granted Burisma's media relations contract. This is another sign that the whole setup has been masterminded in Moscow. I shall remind that BP's other prominent clients included Margaret Thatcher, the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the late Boris Berezovsky, then with his help--Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, and with Moscow's help, the wife of the Syrian President Assad. A very interesting bunch. To hire the former agency of Premier Thatcher and Berezovsky to manage "media relations" of a shell Cyprus offshore company is an elegant move, one must admit.

Now, with the son of the US Vice President and a family friend of the Secretary of State firmly installed in Mykola's Board of Directors, all international agreements signed by the present administration regarding Ukraine automatically become WSPs. And if we do not want that our own discussions turn into Worthless Scraps of [Digital] Paper in our world's oldest e-journal, we should probably think of how to make our voices heard by the decision makers at least in Washington, London and Moscow.

JE comments: These are some intricate webs, difficult to follow. But if I understand Boris Volodarsky clearly, the Budapest Memorandum is not being enforced because some influential folks in Moscow and Washington have a great deal to lose.

Boris Volodarsky is correct that this post deserves a wide audience.  I'm certain that before too much longer, Burisma Holdings will become a household name.


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