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European Union harbors Russian fugitives from justice

How is it that so many fugitives from justice are apparently able to find such sanctuary in European countries, including EU member states?

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Following the collapse of the Soviet Union many of the former republics found their legal systems unable to cope with the confused transition from state control to a free market economy. As a result, it became relatively easy for those corrupt individuals in control of state assets to “privatise” them, generally at hugely beneficial terms for themselves.

Against a backdrop of political uncertainty, corruption, and often violence, immense fortunes were made, and often lost, with the general population left to pick up the bill, and to cope with the resultant failing infrastructure and an increasingly uncertain economic situation, writes Phillipe Jeune.

It is this environment that gave birth to the oligarchs. Men and women who suddenly acquired great wealth and influence.

The former Soviet republics have struggled to regain stability, and to rein in these oligarchs. Many of the oligarchs, however, have fled their homelands and have found refuge in Europe, bringing their fortunes with them.

 

Amongst the most prominent of these is the fugitive from justice Mukhtar Ablyazov, described by the London Evening Standard in December 2013 as the “World’s richest fraudster”.

The disgraced former Kazakh Minister, and latterly head of the country’s BTA Bank, had fled the country having been accused of syphoning off up to $7.6 billion of the banks assets.

Having ensconced himself in the UK he then set about building an impressive property empire which included a £20 million mansion in the highly prestigious Bishops Avenue – known as ‘Billionaires Row’ – in North London’s Hampstead, a £1 million apartment in St John’s Wood, close to Lord’s Cricket Ground, and a 100 acre estate at Oakland Park in Berkshire, boasting eight houses and a private helipad, and conveniently close to the prestigious Oakland Park Golf Club, and Windsor Castle, home of Her Majesty the Queen.

However, justice eventually caught up with him and he was to be subjected by the High Court of England and Wales to an asset freeze, which he ignored, illegally transferring much of his assets away from the jurisdiction of said courts.

Found guilty of contempt of court, he failed to appear for sentencing (another offence) and fled the country by bus to France where he is believed to reside to this day, having also served a jail sentence there. He is also believed to have recently secured a deal for Belgian citizenship.

Sentenced to jail for 20 years in absentia in Kazakhstan in June 2017, Ablyazov is currently under investigation for the 2004 murder of his predecessor as head of BTA Bank, Yerzhan Tatishev. The killer, Muratkhan Tokmadi, has described how over several meetings the pair discussed “the elimination of Yerzhan” and how Ablyazov persuaded him to carry out the hit and make it “look like an accidental killing”.

Appearing in front of Judge Azamat Tlepov on February 16th of this year, Tokmadi admitted his guilt. He had previously received a short sentence for causing death through negligence in what was thought to be a hunting accident. However, following further investigation, witness testimony, and expert advice, it was confitrmed that Yerzhan Tatishev was intentionally shot in the head.

This led to Tokmadi publicly confessing to murdering Tatishev,  saying that the murder had been ordered by Mukhtar Ablyazov

Ablyazov also remains subject to extradition warrants from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine.

But he is not alone: his cohorts also fled Kazakhstan.

Viktor Khrapunov, former mayor of Almaty, named in the English High Court as an accomplice of Ablyazov found sanctuary in Switzerland.

Khrapunov’s son, Ilyas, who is also Mukhtar Ablyazov’s son-in-law, is also the subject of numerous arrest warrants, and is also resident in Switzerland.

Both are wanted by Interpol to answer charges of “The Creation and Guidance of an Organised Criminal Group or Criminal Association (Criminal Organisation), and Participation in a Criminal Association; Expropriation or Embezzlement of Trusted Property; Fraud; Legalisation of Monetary Funds or Other Property Obtained Illegally”.

Botagoz Jardemalie, is the former member of BTA Bank’s Management Board, and also wanted for questioning over the disappearance of the bank’s funds, has relocated to Belgium where she was able to establish various business interests. How interesting that both Ablyazov and Jardemalie, both allegedly extremely wealthy, are able to find safe haven in the financially strapped Belgium.

Questions hover over the facts: how is it that so many fugitives from justice, and the case studies mentioned are by no means exhaustive, are apparently able to find such sanctuary in European countries, including EU member states?

Ablyazov, a charismatic man who has been described as a “financial genius”, has been able to find his way into the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where he has been able to represent himself as a victim

Questions have been raised, not least in the European Parliament, over Ablyazov’s alleged influence over a Polish based human rights NGO that purports to address human rights issues in former Soviet states, but which does appear to be heavily focussed on sanitising the history of Ablyazov himself, and also his cohorts. It is certainly the case that the aforementioned NGO, the Open Dialog Foundation, lobbied MEPs to sign a letter calling upon Interpol to withdraw its ‘Red Notice’ on Ablyazov.

As the UK introduces legislation to uncover the source of the oligarch’s wealth, the oligarchs exploit the democratic and legal processes, and governments cut dubious deals with wanted, but extremely wealthy criminals, the media is now starting to focus on the issue, and most importantly the names.

As Sherlock Holmes himself would have said “the game is now afoot!”

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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