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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.

May 21, 2014

Special Report: Billion-dollar medical project helped fund ‘Putin’s palace’

MOSCOW (Reuters) – In 2005, President Vladimir Putin personally ordered up a vast program to improve Russia’s poor healthcare facilities. Five years later, authorities found that suppliers were charging some hospitals two or even three times too much for vital gear such as high-tech medical scanners.

Dmitry Medvedev, serving as Putin’s hand-picked successor at the time, went on national television to denounce the alleged scam. The perpetrators, he said, had engaged in “absolutely cynical, loutish theft of state money.” Medvedev instructed Russia’s top law enforcement agencies to make sure that “everyone who participated in this is seriously and sternly punished.”

May 21, 2014

Exclusive: Russian state project helped fund ‘Putin’s palace’

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A grand estate on the Black Sea, allegedly built for Russian President Vladimir Putin, was partly funded by taxpayer money from a $1 billion hospital project, a Reuters investigation indicates.

While the existence of the property is well known, this trail of funding has not been revealed before.

May 21, 2014

How Russian money flowed through banks in Europe

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Two Putin associates, Nikolai Shamalov and Dmitry Gorelov, struck lucrative deals to supply medical scanners and other gear for Russia’s state health program. Some of the proceeds from those deals, Reuters found, ultimately wound up helping to finance the luxurious mansion on the Black Sea popularly known as “Putin’s palace.”

The money trail is a convoluted one.

A UK-registered company owned by the two men, Greathill, received at least $195 million from sales of medical equipment to Russia.

May 21, 2014

Billion-dollar medical project helped fund “Putin’s palace”

MOSCOW, May 21 (Reuters) – In 2005, President Vladimir Putin
personally ordered up a vast programme to improve Russia’s poor
healthcare facilities. Five years later, authorities found that
suppliers were charging some hospitals two or even three times
too much for vital gear such as high-tech medical scanners.

Dmitry Medvedev, serving as Putin’s hand-picked successor at
the time, went on national television to denounce the alleged
scam. The perpetrators, he said, had engaged in “absolutely
cynical, loutish theft of state money.” Medvedev instructed
Russia’s top law enforcement agencies to make sure that
“everyone who participated in this is seriously and sternly
punished.”