There is another profile of Alisher Usmanov in the Guardian today which gives him an easy ride. But the Guardian also publish on the web the full text of their email interview, which is much more revealing:
Given that these email answers will almost certainly have been provided in close consultation with Schillings and Finsbury, they are not very convincing in many areas. The Guardian’s excellent David Conn has also done some good digging.
The Guardian pretty effectively kill off Schillings’ lie that Gorbachev was responsible for Usmanov’s pardon. And there is strong proof of my statement that Karimov fixed it for him – The Guardian show that Usmanov himself was on record as telling David Owen so nine years ago. This fits ill with Usmanov’s denial now of having any relationship with Karimov.
Perhaps most damning is Usmanov’s admission of his relationship with Gafur Rakhimov. I am constantly aware that it is difficult for me to get the context of this over to those not versed in Uzbekistan affairs. But his latest statement on this is the equivalent of saying “I only knew Mr Capone because he was a neighbour of my parents.” Again, reading the interview carefully, this fits ill with Usmanov’s previous admissions to meeting with Rakhimov every time he goes to Tashkent, even if “Only” for an hour.
My sources are well-placed Uzbeks, but it is very heartening that Usmanov in his propaganda interviews has confirmed the facts that I was told. His Sunday Times interview confirmed his key relationship since student times with Jastrzebski, Putin’s long time chef de cabinet. We now have proof from the Guardian that it was indeed Karimov who fixed his pardon, and of his relationship with Rakhimov. It is also worth noting that my sources never claimed the rape allegation resulted in a conviction – the Guardian asked the wrong question here, apparently misled by other, Russian, sources.
The Guardian still miss a couple of points – for example, Usmanov had just bought Kommersant when Safronov mysteriously fell from the window.
What a pity that Usmanov now says he is too busy to sue. Otherwise the truth could be established.