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Fearing for his life in the UK, Russian oligarch returns to Russia (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 133.

Alex Christoforou

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Russian fugitive living in London, Sergei Kapchuk, fearing for his life returned home to Russia. Kapchuk was one welcomed in England and living a dream life when things took a sudden turn for the worse, and he began to fear for his life as a UK resident.

According to a Bloomberg article on Sergei Kapchuk, after fleeing Russia to avoid prosecution for alleged fraud in 2005, then escaping from Abu Dhabi on the back of a camel to avoid extradition in 2010, Kapchuk landed at Gatwick airport with his twin brother’s passport.

Kapchuk won political asylum in the UK within four months.

His eight years in London were charmed as the former regional lawmaker and factory owner from Yekaterinburg changed his name to Sergi Windsor, dated socialites such as Miss Russia 2008 and partied with other self-imposed exiles, who amassed dubious fortunes, stashed away in City of London banks.

A year after Russia put him on the country’s so-called ‘London List of most-wanted fugitives’, Kapchuk-Windsor went on the run, but this time, fearing that the UK government was going to kill him and then claim ‘Russia did it’, Kapchuk fleed back to Moscow to seek protection from British intelligence assassins.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the strange and fascinating story of Sergi Windsor Kapchuk…a man who left Russia for the UK in order to dodge fraud charges in 2005, only to seek safety back in Russia’s arms, after one too many Russian oligarch deaths finally motivated him to get out of Britain.

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Via Bloomberg

Just about everyone contacted for this article, including fellow exiles and even a KGB veteran, say Kapchuk’s claim that U.K. operatives are hunting Russian emigres is outlandish. But his narrative, told over multiple interviews in Moscow, fits the Kremlin line that even former fugitives are safer at home these days than in the West, where Russian wealth is increasingly vulnerable to sanctions.

Russian sleeper agent, British mole, lunatic—nobody knows quite what to make of Kapchuk. However improbably, the 46-year-old bon vivant is now the poster boy for one of many Kremlin efforts to lure back as much as $1 trillion of Russian cash stashed abroad. And like many good yarns involving Vladimir Putin, Kapchuk’s story starts with an unexpected visit from a presidential envoy—and a promise that seemed too good to be true.

Back in February, Putin’s business ombudsman, Boris Titov, flew into London with an unusual offer for Kapchuk and a few dozen other wealthy Russians accused of financial crimes. At Pushkin House, a cultural center on Bloomsbury Square, Titov vowed to use the power of his office and an army of lawyers to help the men clear their names through Russian courts. All they had to do was come home.

“You’d need to have your head examined to do that,” Ilya Yurov, a former banker, remembers thinking as he left the meeting. Like almost all of the attendees, Yurov received asylum in Britain precisely because Russia’s judiciary often functions as an arm of the Kremlin. (A U.K. judge in September rejected a request from Moscow to extradite Yurov.)

Well, Kapchuk, alone among Titov’s guests, bought the pitch. And his rationale for deciding to give up his cushy life to become a guinea pig in a quixotic experiment goes way beyond quashing charges related to the misappropriation of an apartment two decades ago.

Shortly after the Pushkin House presentation, two events happened that changed Kapchuk’s thinking about Titov’s offer. The first was the nerve-agent attack on turncoat spy Sergei Skripal that Britain says two Russian agents carried out. Then, just days later, a former partner of the late fallen oligarch Boris Berezovsky, Nikolai Glushkov, was strangled in his home.

Glushkov was No. 1 of 22 names on the London List, which quickly became Putin’s “hit list” in the British tabloids. Kapchuk, No. 12, said he found himself hounded by reporters who were sure his life was suddenly in danger.

Admittedly paranoid, he agreed, but saw the threat coming from the other way. He said he read the attacks as a “provocation” by MI6 and hired two local bodyguards on the assumption that Britain would balk at endangering its own citizens in any attempt on his life.

“I understood that a dead Russian is one thing, but if two U.K. citizens are also killed, that’s quite another matter,” Kapchuk said.

The assertions dovetailed with Russian propaganda efforts, suggesting Kapchuk may have cut some sort of deal to get his case dropped, according to Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB and FSB officer who’s now an opposition politician.

Kapchuk adamantly denies that, noting it took months for anyone in Moscow to respond to his pleas for help. Alone and with nowhere to turn, he said he jumped on a train to Paris and spent the next several weeks moving around Europe, sleeping in a different location each night.

The plot thickened in May, when Kapchuk said he discovered Britain had annulled his travel permit—an unusual move if true. Legal experts say that’s normally only done with suspected terrorists.

He said he learned this while traveling to a relative’s home in Croatia and border guards confiscated the permit without explanation, an account backed up by a Croatian Interior Ministry report dated May 7 and seen by Bloomberg.

The ministry now says it impounded Sergi Windsor’s paperwork because it was declared lost, though it won’t say by whom. The U.K. Home Office declined to comment.

It’s “odd,” said Christopher Cole, a U.K. solicitor who specializes in immigration issues. “It appears the U.K. government cancelled his travel document to stop him from traveling, but then wanted him to return.”

Stateless and stranded in the coastal city of Rijeka, Kapchuk said he got a tip-off from his nephew’s landlady late one night that police were en route to arrest him, so he ran into the woods. Crouching among the trees, he pulled out his phone and contacted Titov, who arranged for the Russian Embassy in Zagreb to pick him up, according to both Kapchuk and Titov’s office.

The embassy sheltered Kapchuk for three weeks while it negotiated with Croatian officials to let him leave the country. On June 15, Ambassador Anvar Azimov escorted Kapchuk to the airport for the former fugitive’s journey to Moscow.

“He’s a patriot who’s made the right choice,” the ambassador told a television crew as they were being driven to the flight.

Kapchuk, thanks to Titov, finally made it back to Yekaterinburg at the end of September. He’s now under the watchful eye of the FSB as he fights charges he says were concocted by the same murky alliance of local businessmen, crooked officials and crime lords that seized his metal plant and forced him to flee 13 years ago.

He’s one of just five Russians who’ve joined the repatriation program out of an initial 41 selected by Titov’s office, which reviewed hundreds of similar cases with the help of some 60 law firms. But even with the quiet backing of Putin, who ordered eight of the men’s names removed from wanted notices in May, the project is being hampered by local turf wars.

One returnee managed to get his case thrown out in Rostov-on-Don only for a prosecutor to get it re-opened. And Kapchuk, who said Russia’s president has twice intervened on his behalf at Titov’s request, has already been grilled by investigators in Yekaterinburg.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on the president’s role in the Kapchuk affair. Titov, a champagne magnate in his own right, said in an interview that he has no illusions about the legal difficulties facing any returning fugitive.

“Coming home is a big risk to take for all the people on the London List,” Titov said at his office in Moscow’s new financial district. “They’ll have to go through the whole criminal process again, but is it better to spend your entire life in hiding?”

For Kapchuk, trying to dodge whatever dangers he saw lurking in London was no longer an option.

He said he misses Britain a lot more than he ever missed Russia, a confession that’s yet to make the state-run media’s coverage of his plight. But he’s determined to see justice done so he can fulfill a lifelong dream—being elected to his homeland’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

“There’s no way back,” he said. “I’ve reached the point of no return.”

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Ghifari AL MukhtarMarthaMichael Bakervoza0dbam hants Recent comment authors
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AM Hants
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AM Hants

Cannot wait to see his story on film. ‘Oh What a Life’, but, once back in Russia, will he cause problems for the Government?

voza0db
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voza0db

At least he was clever enough to get out from that shitty country!

Michael Baker
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Michael Baker

The anti Russia propagandsa does not extend to the vast majority of ordinary British people who resent the negative rhetoric from Politician and their media stooges called the MSM. It is also reported that the Russian businessmen resident in Britain gave large financial support to the Tory Party during and prior to the last election to ensure that May and Conservative cabinet got into Office . So all is not as it seems from the MS noise in the media etc.

Martha
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Martha

The “authorities” in England are all freemasons, and Rabbi Stephen Wise TOLD us that freemasonry is yehudaism. The Yehudis hate non-Yehudis.
SO…((who)) runs the Bank of England and the B’nai B’rith-ish Crown as a whole?? England was taken over during the reign of Elizabeth the first by the B’nai B’rith-ish. And the takeover in America happened when the U.S. got its last central bank. These Russian “expats” are safer in the Urals, although I have no sympathy for any of them when push comes to shove. They’re all criminals.

Ghifari AL Mukhtar
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Ghifari AL Mukhtar

Do you mean that they no long feel safe in Israel too- They must be broke.

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EXPLOSIVE: Michael Cohen sentencing memo exposes serial liar with nothing to offer Mueller (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 38.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the Michael Cohen sentencing memo which paints the picture of a man who was not as close to Trump as he made it out to be…a serial liar and cheat who leveraged his thin connections to the Trump organization for money and fame.

It was Cohen himself who proudly labelled himself as Trump’s “fixer”. The sentencing memo hints at the fact that even Mueller finds no value to Cohen in relation to the ongoing Trump-Russia witch hunt investigation.

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Via Axios

Special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York have each submitted sentencing memos for President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, after Cohen pleaded guilty in two different cases related to his work for Trump and the Trump Organization.

The big picture: The Southern District of New York recommended Cohen serve a range of 51 to 63 months for four crimes — “willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.” Mueller, meanwhile, did not take a position on the length of Cohen’s statement, but said he has made substantial efforts to assist the investigation.

Southern District of New York

Mueller investigation

Michael J. Stern, a federal prosecutor with the Justice Department for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles noted via USA Today

In support of their request that he serve no time in prison, Cohen’s attorneys offered a series of testimonials from friends who described the private Michael Cohen as a “truly caring” man with a “huge heart” who is not only “an upstanding, honorable, salt of the earth man” but also a “selfless caretaker.”

The choirboy portrayed by Cohen’s lawyers stands in sharp opposition to Cohen’s public persona as Trump’s legal bulldog, who once threatened a reporter with: “What I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. Do you understand me?”

Prosecutors focused their sentencing memo on Cohen as Mr. Hyde. Not only did they detail Cohen’s illegal activities, which include millions of dollars of fraud, they also recognized the public damage that stemmed from his political crimes — describing Cohen as “a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.”

Rebuffing efforts by Cohen’s attorneys to recast him as a good guy who made a few small mistakes, prosecutors cited texts, statements of witnesses, recordings, documents and other evidence that proved Cohen got ahead by employing a “pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.” The prosecutors attributed Cohen’s crimes to “personal greed,” an effort to “increase his power and influence,” and a desire to maintain his “opulent lifestyle.”

Perhaps the most damning reveal in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo is that Cohen refused to fully cooperate. That’s despite his public relations campaign to convince us that he is a new man who will cooperate with any law enforcement authority, at any time, at any place.

As a former federal prosecutor who handled hundreds of plea deals like Cohen’s, I can say it is extremely rare for any credit to be recommended when a defendant decides not to sign a full cooperation deal. The only reason for a refusal would be to hide information. The prosecutors said as much in their sentencing memo: Cohen refused “to be debriefed on other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in his past,” and “further declined” to discuss “other areas of investigative interest.”

 

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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