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Dec 19, 2014

Special Report: Opaque middlemen exact high price in Russia’s deals with the West

MOSCOW/LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Russia pays hugely inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination has found.

These middlemen firms, which have no easily traceable owners or offices, add mark-ups that mean Russian state hospitals frequently pay two or three times more than hospitals in the West for the same equipment. A Reuters examination of Russian customs data and state procurement records shows the price differences can be hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single item.

Dec 19, 2014

Opaque middlemen exact high price in Russia’s deals with the West

MOSCOW/LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Russia pays hugely
inflated prices for vital medical equipment made by Western
companies, in part because some manufacturers channel sales
through obscure intermediary companies, a Reuters examination
has found.

These middlemen firms, which have no easily traceable owners
or offices, add mark-ups that mean Russian state hospitals
frequently pay two or three times more than hospitals in the
West for the same equipment. A Reuters examination of Russian
customs data and state procurement records shows the price
differences can be hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single
item.

Dec 11, 2014

Special Report: How a 29-year-old Ukrainian made a killing on Russian gas

KIEV, (Reuters) – A young businessman accused of being a frontman for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich made $100 million or more from buying Russian gas at a preferential rate and selling it on at higher prices, according a former senior employee and a Reuters examination of official data.

Serhiy Kurchenko, 29 years old and a self-declared billionaire, made the money by selling cheap gas supplied by companies run by Dmitry Firtash, a prominent Ukrainian oligarch. Firtash has long-standing business connections to Russia and his companies were able to buy gas cheaply from Gazprom, the giant gas company run by allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dec 11, 2014

How a 29-year-old Ukrainian made a killing on Russian gas

KIEV, Dec 11 (Reuters) – A young businessman accused of
being a frontman for former Ukrainian president Viktor
Yanukovich made $100 million or more from buying Russian gas at
a preferential rate and selling it on at higher prices,
according a former senior employee and a Reuters examination of
official data.

Serhiy Kurchenko, 29 years old and a self-declared
billionaire, made the money by selling cheap gas supplied by
companies run by Dmitry Firtash, a prominent Ukrainian oligarch.
Firtash has long-standing business connections to Russia and his
companies were able to buy gas cheaply from Gazprom, the giant
gas company run by allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nov 26, 2014

Special Report: Putin’s allies channeled billions to Ukraine oligarch

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) – In Russia, powerful friends helped him make a fortune. In the United States, officials want him extradited and put behind bars. In Austria, where he is currently free on bail of $155 million, authorities have yet to decide what to do with him.

He is Dmitry Firtash, a former fireman and soldier. In little more than a decade, the Ukrainian went from obscurity to wealth and renown, largely by buying gas from Russia and selling it in his home country. His success was built on remarkable sweetheart deals brokered by associates of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, at immense cost to Russian taxpayers, a Reuters investigation shows.

Nov 26, 2014

Putin’s allies channelled billions to Ukraine oligarch

MOSCOW/KIEV, Nov 26 (Reuters) – In Russia, powerful friends
helped him make a fortune. In the United States, officials want
him extradited and put behind bars. In Austria, where he is
currently free on bail of $155 million, authorities have yet to
decide what to do with him.

He is Dmitry Firtash, a former fireman and soldier. In
little more than a decade, the Ukrainian went from obscurity to
wealth and renown, largely by buying gas from Russia and selling
it in his home country. His success was built on remarkable
sweetheart deals brokered by associates of Russian leader
Vladimir Putin, at immense cost to Russian taxpayers, a Reuters
investigation shows.

Nov 18, 2014

The Kremlin allies behind the RD-180 rocket engine

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Reuters) – He has money, media
power and the ear of President Vladimir Putin. Such is his
influence that some observers have described Yuri Kovalchuk as
the Rupert Murdoch of Russia.

Kovalchuk is one of an elite group close to Putin and has
come to prominence outside Russia because he was sanctioned by
the United States in March. The U.S. Treasury described him then
as the “personal banker for senior officials of the Russian
Federation including Putin.”

May 23, 2014

Factbox: Russian bankers and their railway connections

By Stephen Grey and Douglas Busvine

(Reuters) – Every year state-owned Russian Railways does business worth billions of dollars with private sector companies. They include a number of organizations where Andrei Krapivin – a banker once described by Yakunin, head of Russian Railways, as an “old acquaintance” – has held board positions or share stakes. Krapivin is a large shareholder in Interprogressbank (IPB), a Moscow private bank. He and other senior figures at the bank have connections to Russian Railways as detailed below.

Andrei Krapivin * Director of Rusagrotrans from 2008, according to corporate documents. The company was founded that year with the approval of Russian Railways, according to its website, and is now Russia’s top grain shipper by rail, operating 30,000 rail cars. * Director of Transmashholding, a locomotive and railway carriage manufacturer, from 2008 to 2012. * Director of Freight One, which calls itself “the leading freight operator in Russia,” from 2007 to 2011. * Owner of 28 percent of IPB, according to corporate filings in December 2013.

May 23, 2014

In railways transactions, red flags and open questions

May 23 (Reuters) – Patterns of bank transactions relating to
Russian Railways described in a Reuters investigation show signs
of so-called suspicious banking activity, according to Russian
and U.S. financial investigators and consultants. But some
cautioned that the unusual activities, while meriting further
attention, don’t necessarily constitute illegal behaviour.

Courtney Linn, a former U.S. federal prosecutor, said the
payments to Russian Railways contractors and complex subsequent
transactions – described in a Reuters Special Report
– contain signals of possible money laundering
which, if they occurred in the United States, would likely
trigger an investigation.

May 23, 2014

Russian bankers and their railway connections

May 23 (Reuters) – Every year state-owned Russian Railways
does business worth billions of dollars with private sector
companies. They include a number of organisations where Andrei
Krapivin – a banker once described by Yakunin, head of Russian
Railways, as an “old acquaintance” – has held board positions or
share stakes. Krapivin is a large shareholder in
Interprogressbank (IPB), a Moscow private bank. He and other
senior figures at the bank have connections to Russian Railways
as detailed below.

Andrei Krapivin
* Director of Rusagrotrans from 2008, according to corporate
documents. The company was founded that year with the approval
of Russian Railways, according to its website, and is now
Russia’s top grain shipper by rail, operating 30,000 rail cars.
* Director of Transmashholding, a locomotive and railway
carriage manufacturer, from 2008 to 2012.
* Director of Freight One, which calls itself “the leading
freight operator in Russia,” from 2007 to 2011.
* Owner of 28 percent of IPB, according to corporate filings in
December 2013.