Usmanov


The Convicted Criminal Alisher Usmanov 28

For the first time yesterday the mainstream media had the guts to take on billionaire Alisher Usmanov, whose hyperactive libel lawyers succeeded for a few days in closing this blog down.

Channel 4 yesterday showed a Dispatches programme on the Russian oligarchs, which for the first time in Bruitish mainstream media put the case that Arsenal shareholder Usmanov is a convicted blackmailer and racketeer. You can see the programme here:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od

Sadly I cannot see it in Ghana (I get a not available in your area message) so I do not yet know how much of my own interview in the programme got past the Channel 4 layers. It is however typical of Usmanov that I can find not a single comment on the programme in the mainstream media or even in any of the Arsenal blogs. All of the major Arsenal blogs have in the past received threatening letters from Schillings, Usmanov’s solicitors.

I shall be posting at the end of this week on a US racketeer, Gene E Phillips, and his corrupt – and so far succesful – attempt to rip off billions of dollars from the poor people of Ghana. I gave an interview on this to the FT last week and I am hopeful they will be running a less detailed expose on Thursday, on which I will follow up.

Meantime, it is worth noting that libel bullies the Quilliam Foundation and their pathetic lawyers Clarke Willmott seem to have skulked away. Not one of the individuals – including Jack Straw, Tim Spicer, Allisher Usmanov and Ed Hussain – who has set the lawyers onto this blog has ever dared to go to court.

That is because this blog does not libel, it tells the truth, and not one of them dares to face the truth in court, even with England’s notoriously oppressive libel laws on their side.

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Convicted BlackMailer Usmanov Gets Stake in Facebook 23

People who flirt on Facebook – and why else join – may be less than enamoured by the fact that a $200 million stake has been bought by a company of which the biggest shareholder is a major criminal convicted of … blackmail.

Gangster and racketeer Alisher Usmanov was jailed in the Soviet Union when he finally overreached himself and attempted to blackmail a Jewish KGB officer.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-indirectly-obtains-a-colorful-backer

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Alisher Usmanov was pardoned by his croney President Karimov of Uzbekistan, perhaps the World’s most vicious dictator. Karimov runs a gangster state and political opponents have been boiled alive.

I was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and I will swear to these facts on oath before any court.

Usmanov became a billionaire oligarch in the gangster takeover of Russia’s “privatised” mineral assets. He is close to Putin, and has been used by him to buy up and neutralise much of the little remaining independent media in Russia. Usmanov does this in his own name or as Chairman of GazpromInvestHolding. Independent journalists have died in mysterious accidents following Usmanov takeovers.

For a blackmailer who is a key tool in Putin’s increasingly authoritarian regime, to have a share in Facebook is totally unacceptable. Perhaps someone might start a Facebook group against it?

Usmanov uses lawyers to close down blogs who carry these facts. His lawyers, Schillings, will assert a number of lies in response:

Schillings Lie 1 Usmanov was a political prisoner

UNTRUE He was a gangster convicted of blackmail. There was no political element. (It has been hinted to me that anti-Semitism might have formed part of the motive, but without supporting evidence for that theory I think it was just greed).

Schillings Lie 2 Usmanov received a full pardon from President Gorbachev

UNTRUE He was pardoned by President Karimov of Uzbekistan after the fall of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev greatly dislikes Usmanov

Schillings Lie 3 He was convicted because he took the rap for a friend

UNTRUE Usmanov only started using this line when I revealed he was not a political prisoner but a racketeer. Nobody else ever mentioned such a theory to me.

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Brutal Murder of Ian Tomlinson 51

The Guardian and the Observer have finally started to report some of the truth over the murder of Ian Tomlinson:

“A riot officer came up behind him and grabbed him. It wasn’t just pushing him – he’d rushed him. He went to the floor and he did actually roll. That was quite noticeable. It was the force of the impact. It was all from behind. The officer hit him twice with a baton [when he was] on the floor. So it wasn’t just that the officer had pushed him – it became an assault. And then the officer picked him up from the back, continued to walk or charge with him, and threw him. He was running and stumbling. He didn’t turn and confront the officer or anything like that.

Anna Branthwaite, 36, freelance photographer, south London”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/06/g20-protest-police-assault

There is added poignancy in the fact that Mr Tomlinson wasn’t a demonstrator at all, just a local trying to ask the police to let him past their cordon. I had not heard the term “kettling” before the G20, but having twice suffered myself from the Metropolitan Police’s tactic of splitting demonstrations into groups, and then aggressively crushing demonstrators – and ordinary people who happened to be there, like Mr Tomlinson – into confined spaces, I was able to describe exactly what was going to happen before it happened.

“Each demonstration will be split up into several separated groups. Each group will be tightly corraled, penned in with barriers in an uncomfortable crush that feels threatening to those inside. Occasionally groups will be shuffled between pens. Most demonstrators will not be allowed to the destination point to limit the appearance of numbers at the rallies. Once it is over, people will be kept corralled for several hours, with no refreshment or (this is critical and no joke) toilet facilities. The tactic appears designed to create confrontation as people try to get out of penned areas to hear the speeches they came to hear, to escape the crush or just to find a loo. At the same time the argie-bargie thus deliberately sparked is confined to small numbers the police can contain.”

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/04/the_field_of_pe.html#comments

So this was no accident; it was the highly predictable result of deliberate over-aggressive policing that deprived Mr Tomlinson first of his right to go home after work, then of his life. Of course the chances of their ever being justice for Mr Tomlinson are nil, as long as the system is controlled by evil (and I use the word with care) men like Sir Michael Wright.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2008/12/the_disgraceful.html

I maintain that there was something else very wrong with the policing on that day, in that peaceful demonstrators were – in scores of instances – subjected to the most vicious of attacks. Meanwhile tiny isolated groups of alleged “protestors” were allowed without hindrance to carry out acts of violence. The ever excellent Postman Patel has a picture that paints a thousand words.

http://postmanpatel.blogspot.com/2009/04/smash-capitalism-cameras-ready-roll.html

As does Theresa

http://comediehumaine.blogspot.com/2009/04/fourth-estate.html

While is it not al little strange that the police were unable to deploy anyone outside the Royal Bank of Scotland to prevent this massive crowd of, err, five people and 28 press photograpers from breaking the windows, but were able to pre-position a police photographer inside to video it?

https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3455/3404568155_1ec4776a64.jpg

It stinks.

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Why Was Alisher Usmanov Jailed? 2

I keep being asked this, so I thought I would set the record straight. Arsenal’s main shareholder Alisher Usmanov was jailed in Soviet times for blackmail. He and a colleague in the KGB attempted to blackmail another KGB officer. The KGB officer they tried to blackmail was Jewish and they seem to have felt that would make it easier to isolate him and his “roof”, or network of protective interests, would be weak. They miscalculated badly. Many believe that Usmanov was involved generally in extortion and overreached himself in this one case.

Contrary to assertions made by Usmanov’s lawyers Schillings, liars for the wealthy, Usmanov was not any kind of political prisoner. He was convicted as a straightforward criminal. He was later pardoned by Uzbek dictator President Karimov of Uzbekistan – not by Gorbachev, another Schillings lie.

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Usmanov Admits Relationship with Gafur Rakhimov 3

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:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,2212432,00.html

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.

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Mr Usmanov’s profession 1

An Uzbek expat internet forum recently had a popular discussion on whether Alisher Usmanov would be a good President of Uzbekistan – this is not academic, as Usmanov is certainly the preferred candidate of President Karimov if the oligarchs will not accept his daughter, and would have the backing of Putin. Thanks to Libertad for publishing some translations. Here are some samples:

1. Right after Alisher Usmanov becomes a president, Tashkent will host a big “party” of criminals from around the globe. The streets of Tashkent will be decorated with big billboards that say “Mafia forever” or “Congratulations from brotherhood”

2. TV will be showing only mafia movies

3. There will be great changes in law enforcement bodies’ administration systems. The chiefs will be replaced by criminals

4. There will be significant changes to the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. Advisors of president will be given a right to pardon criminals without any investigation

5. Ruslan Chagaev will become an absolute champion in boxing in the world, as everyone will refuse meeting with him in the ring

6. Rustam Kasymjanov will become world’s absolute master in chess

7. Arsenal will have new uniform with national Uzbek symbols (like cotton) on it

8. And there will be a match between Arsenal and Pakhtakor

9. New taxes will be introduced – to help the brotherhood

10. Usmanov will begin privatizing the government institutions

11. And in six months he will become the worlds top billionaire, and Uzbeks, of course, will be proud of being ruled by the world’s richest person

12. And in six moths Alisher Usmanov [just like Karimov] will be teaching farmers how to plant cotton, and builders how to put a brick, etc.

Or this:

1. Uzbek Anthem will be changed to a music from a Russian movie “Brigada” [famous Russian movie about gangsters], but there will be a huge debate, because some of the Alisher Usmanov’s team members also like the music from the movie “Godfather”. However, a patriotic Alisher Usmanov will support “Brigada” voters.

2. Our current slogan “Uzbekistan is a country with promising future” will be changed to a “Forget about it” ?” with New Jersey accent /forgetta abaaut it/.

3. National sport Kurash will be replaced by “Cards”, and introduced in education. The first graders play “Durak” [card game] and so on, the level of difficulty will raise based on the grade and in grade 10 schools kids will be prepared to a Poker championship in Las-Vegas (in a couple of years, actually, kids will be so good that world championships will be held in Tashkent)

Now you may not get all the cultural references, but what does this tell you about what Uzbek people know of Mr Usmanov’s profession?

http://uzbekistan.neweurasia.net/2007/11/09/would-alisher-usmanov-be-a-good-president-of-uzbekistan/

Forum.arbuz.com, where the discussion was held, hosts more than a few Karimov regime trolls, so there are a vocal minority of defenders of Usmanov here. Given that Karimov is arguably the world’s most vicious dictator, the argument that he must be OK as he is a friend of President Karimov perhaps won’t cut ice in many circles. Most of the discussion is of course in Uzbek or Russian.

http://forum.arbuz.com/showthread.php?t=41588

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Bent Auditors 3

Usmanov’s PR people claim it would have been impossible for Gazprom to pay a bribe to President Karimov’s daughter Gulnara because

No evidence has ever been forthcoming and the accounts of Gazprominvest [the Gazprom company of which Usmanov is president] are audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers

http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,2202113,00.html

That of course is deeply reassuring. Usmanov is audited by the people who brought you Robert Maxwell’s accounts

http://visar.csustan.edu/aaba/auditmaxwell.htm

and the BCCI accounts

http://visar.csustan.edu/aaba/bccipress.html

I hope that you are suitably reassured.

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Usmanov: Truth Will Out 5

If you read the awful Mark Franchetti article (see below) and strip it of spin, some facts do emerge which confirm the truth of my account.

– Usmanov’s “pardon” did indeed come from Uzbekistan and had nothing to do with Mikhail Gorbachev, contrary to the lies of Schillings

– Usmanov was never a political prisoner opposed to communism. He was indeed convicted for corrupt dealings. He claims he was the accidental victim of a friend being set up – even if that were true, it does not make him an anti-communist political prisoner, which is how Schillings attempted to portray him.

– I published that

Key to this triumph has been the Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, chairman of Gazprominvest Holdings. This subsidiary is the channel for massive slush funds. In November 2004, for example, a payment of $88 million to Gulnara, the daughter of President Karimov of Uzbekistan, secured Uzbekistan’s gas contracts for Gazprom from under the noses of the United States, which had originally secured them through a bribe from the subsequebtly defunct Enron. In a series of transactions typical of Gazprom, at the same time Usmanov transferred half of a Russian bank, Mapobank, to Putin’s private secretary, Piotr Jastrzebski. Jastrzebski was Usmanov’s former flatmate at Moscow Diplomatic Academy and bagman for Putin. Putin instructed Karimov in return for the cash to kick out the US military base which dominated Central Asia, and Gazprom had secured the strategic kingpin to dominate the Central Asian and Caucasus gas reserves.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/06/russian_journal.html

Usmanov now tells Franchetti:

He also became close friends with fellow students Sergei Yastrzhembsky and Sergei Prikhodko, both now aides to Putin

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2652774.ece

Now that is the first published admission I have seen of the key Usmanov/Jastrzebski relationship. Franchetti shows that I was right about this, and about the origin of that relationship as students. Might this not indicate to a less biased observer that my sources on Usmanov are sound?

That makes three absolutely key things I have published about Usmanov that are now shown to be true. Is there one thing I have published that has been disproved by the hordes of mainstream media looking to attack us?

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Mark Franchetti Fills His Stomach and Switches Off His Brain 10

Bloggerheads and others have already done great’work in exposing those journalists easily bought up by a billionaire’s favour and hospitality.

http://b-heads.blogspot.com/2007/10/hooray-for-mainstream-media.html

But crass Mark Franchetti wins the prize for rolling over in return for a chauffeured visit to a billionaire’s mansion and indulging in “a lunch of lamb stew and red wine served by the butler in one of his private dining rooms, a hall lined with gilded central Asian vases.” He then gives us a propaganda piece so cringeworthy as to be astonishing coming from a once great newspaper.http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2652774.ece

He approvingly quotes Usmanov’s crude attack on me:

Usmanov rejected the charges and threatened to sue Murray “if he can first prove that he is completely sane”.

Of course I have neither mansion nor butler to entertain the Franchettis of this world, so evidently I must be mad.

Franchetti then goes on to retail without analysis Usmanov’s ludicrous account of the circumstances of his conviction for fraud, corruption and theft of state property.

Usmanov says it was all beacuse of an attempt in 1980 by the Moscow KGB to stop his friend’s father becoming head of the Tashkent KGB. To stop the father the KGB cooked up an elaborate plot to get the son to accept a bribe, tricking him into thinking this was part of an intelligence operation. However the person paying the bribe gave it to Usmanov, because he knew that Usmanov was a friend of the person he wanted to bribe. So Usmanov accidentally in good faith accepted the brown envelope for his friend, who was being set up by the KGB to get at his father.

How is your Bullshit-meter reading? Some thoughts that did not occur to Mr Franchetti:

– This is 1980. Brezhnev is the President of a confident centralist Soviet state. If the Moscow KGB wanted rid of someone under Brezhnev, they would not have to cook up cock-eyed plots involving framing their son.

– Paying a bribe is a risky occupation. How likely is it that a smuggler would pay a bribe by giving the cash to a friend of the person they wished to bribe, and asking them to pass it on?

– The Brezhnev KGB were quite efficient. If they had cooked up this cock-eyed plot, they would have got the bribe to the right person.

Those are only a few of the improbabilities about the Usmanov story. Now I can understand that under the influence of Usmanov’s red wine Franchetti was having problems of discernment. But Franchetti cannot be defended in his dealing with the issue of the diassappearance of Usmanov’s criminal record.

Franchetti notes,

The convictions were later overturned by Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court, which ordered his police record to be expunged.

and Franchetti goes on to use the line:

Although he was fully absolved in 2000 and no longer has a criminal record,

In fact, being absolved by Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court means nothing whatsoever. Uzbekistan is a totalitarian state and has absolutely nil judicial independence. The conviction rate in Uzbek criminal cases is over 99%, which gives you an idea of how fair the trial procedures are. The internet is full of information about the legal, judicial and human rights situation in Uzbekistan, but this Human Rights Watch report might be a good start on judicial independence.

http://hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/uzbek0305/uzbek0305.pdf

The Supreme Court of Uzbekistan receives its orders from President Karimov, arguably the most vicious dictator on earth and a friend of Alisher Usmanov. Karimov wiped out his criminal record for him. So how much you trust Usmanov comes down to how much you trust Karimov. Karimov’s state frequently tortures dissidents to death.

What makes Franchetti’s piece so disgusting is that he knows full well what the political situation in Uzbekistan is, and he knows full well that the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan has no independence and that a pardon from it for an oligarch has no meaning. It is simply that Franchetti chooses not to share this information with his readers, because the Times has decided to puff Usmanov. Mark Franchetti is no fool; he is rather a disgusting and unprincipled man and a disgrace to his profession. Amazing what some people will do if given the services of a chauffeur and a butler for an afternoon.

Meanwhile Usmanov is still too cowardly to sue me – and his excuses for avoiding the courts become feebler:

I won’t fall so low as to fight those who want to blacken my name.

Indeed – why have the truth tested before an honest jury, when you can just buy up cheap journalists instead?

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Usmanov Redux 14

You may have noticed that the post regarding Alisher Usmanov has disappeared. This is at the instigation of Schillings, lawyers retained by Usmanov.

Pending legal advice which – as web host – I am unable to obtain prior to tomorrow, given Schilling’s deadline and in light of Godfrey v Demon Internet, the post may or may not reappear. In the meantime, it is always now somewhere on the web. If you know where to look, you’ll probably find it.

Cheers

Clive – webhost

edit 07-Sep in response to further communications from Schillings

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Arsenal 6

I have been delighted by the reaction of Arsenal fans – the large majority seem not to want Usmanov’s money, and juging by yesterday’s performance they don’t need it.

I am most happy to give evidence to the Premier League if anyone can point me in the right direction. But I rather hope Usmanov’s hyperactive and expensive lawyers will sue me for libel. Questioning Usmanov in a British court would bring a much fairer result than anything I expect from our tainted football authorities.

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Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist 18

I thought I should make my views on Alisher Usmanov quite plain to you. You are unlikely to see much plain talking on Usmanov elsewhere in the media becuase he has already used his billions and his lawyers in a pre-emptive strike. They have written to all major UK newspapers, including the latter:

Mr Usmanov was imprisoned for various offences under the old Soviet regime. We wish to make it clear our client did not commit any of the offences with which he was charged. He was fully pardoned after President Mikhail Gorbachev took office. All references to these matters have now been expunged from police records . . . Mr Usmanov does not have any criminal record.

Let me make it quite clear that Alisher Usmanov is a criminal. He was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail. The lawyers cunningly evoke “Gorbachev”, a name respected in the West, to make us think that justice prevailed. That is completely untrue.

Usmanov’s pardon was nothing to do with Gorbachev. It was achieved through the growing autonomy of another thug, President Karimov, at first President of the Uzbek Soviet Socilist Republic and from 1991 President of Uzbekistan. Karimov ordered the “Pardon” because of his alliance with Usmanov’s mentor, Uzbek mafia boss and major international heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov. Far from being on Gorbachev’s side, Karimov was one of the Politburo hardliners who had Gorbachev arrested in the attempted coup that was thwarted by Yeltsin standing on the tanks outside the White House.

Usmanov is just a criminal whose gangster connections with one of the World’s most corrupt regimes got him out of jail. He then plunged into the “privatisation” process at a time when gangster muscle was used to secure physical control of assets, and the alliance between the Russian Mafia and Russian security services was being formed.

Usmanov has two key alliances. he is very close indeed to President Karimov, and especially to his daughter Gulnara. It was Usmanov who engineered the 2005 diplomatic reversal in which the United States was kicked out of its airbase in Uzbekistan and Gazprom took over the country’s natural gas assets. Usmanov, as chairman of Gazprom Investholdings paid a bribe of $88 million to Gulnara Karimova to secure this. This is set out on page 366 of Murder in Samarkand.

Alisher Usmanov had risen to chair of Gazprom Investholdings because of his close personal friendship with Putin, He had accessed Putin through Putin’s long time secretary and now chef de cabinet, Piotr Jastrzebski. Usmanov and Jastrzebski were roommates at college. Gazprominvestholdings is the group that handles Gazproms interests outside Russia, Usmanov’s role is, in effect, to handle Gazprom’s bribery and sleaze on the international arena, and the use of gas supply cuts as a threat to uncooperative satellite states.

Gazprom has also been the tool which Putin has used to attack internal democracy and close down the independent media in Russia. Gazprom has bought out – with the owners having no choice – the only independent national TV station and numerous rgional TV stations, several radio stations and two formerly independent national newspapers. These have been changed into slavish adulation of Putin. Usmanov helped accomplish this through Gazprom. The major financial newspaper, Kommersant, he bought personally. He immediately replaced the editor-in-chief with a pro-Putin hack, and three months later the long-serving campaigning defence correspondent, Ivan Safronov, mysteriously fell to his death from a window.

All this, both on Gazprom and the journalist’s death, is set out in great detail here:

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/06/russian_journal.html

Usmanov is also dogged by the widespread belief in Uzbekistan that he was guilty of a particularly atrocious rape, which was covered up and the victim and others in the know disappeared. The sad thing is that this is not particularly remarkable. Rape by the powerful is an everyday hazard in Uzbekistan, again as outlined in Murder in Samarkand page 120. If anyone has more detail on the specific case involving Usmanov please add a comment.

I reported back in 2002 or 2003 in an Ambassadorial top secret telegram to the Foreign Office that Usmanov was the most likely favoured successor of President Karimov as totalitarian leader of Uzbekistan. I also outlined the Gazprom deal (before it happened) and the present by Usmanov to Putin (though in Jastrzebski’s name) of half of Mapobank, a Russian commercial bank owned by Usmanov. I will never forget the priceless reply from our Embassy in Moscow. They said that they had never even heard of Alisher Usmanov, and that Jastrzebski was a jolly nice friend of the Ambassador who would never do anything crooked.

Sadly, I expect the football authorities will be as purblind. Football now is about nothing but money, and even Arsenal supporters – as tight-knit and homespun a football community as any – can be heard saying they don’t care where the money comes from as long as they can compete with Chelsea.

I fear that is very wrong. Letting as diseased a figure as Alisher Usmanov into your club can only do harm in the long term.

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