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Thu Nov 23, 2017, 04:55 PM

An Arrest in France Freaks Out the Kremlin Kleptocracy

Source: The Daily Beast




Oligarchs close to Putin thought they were beyond the reach of law in the south of France. But the arrest of one of Russia’s untouchables may bring an end to that thinking.

ANNA NEMTSOVA
11.23.17 2:17 PM ET

MOSCOW—He was one of Russia’s untouchables: the country’s 21st richest man, a senator in the upper chamber of parliament. He is part of the circle of businessmen known for their loyalty to President Vladimir Putin and the benefits they’ve reaped as a result, a billionaire member of Putin’s United Russia party who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in important state projects to curry favor.

Such “pocket oligarchs” earn official status, even diplomatic immunity when they travel. And Suleiman Karimov, 51, reportedly has a Russian diplomatic passport. But according to the Russian press, when he landed in France earlier this week he was on a private trip, and didn’t bring it.

Then, almost as soon he got off the plane in Nice, he got arrested for alleged tax evasion and money laundering. And the vision of Karimov behind bars splashed in the Russian press shocked the country’s elite. Many of them, like Karimov, have gotten used to keeping their fortunes, their luxury properties, their yachts, and indeed their families abroad.

Before this week they thought of the French Riviera, especially, as a safe haven where resorts like Cap d’Antibes, St. Jean-Cap Ferrat, and Beaulieu-sur-Mer are home to whole colonies of ultra-rich Russians.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/an-arrest-in-france-freaks-out-the-kremlin-kleptocracy

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply An Arrest in France Freaks Out the Kremlin Kleptocracy (Original post)
DonViejo Nov 2017 OP
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #1
Nitram Nov 2017 #6
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #9
volstork Nov 2017 #10
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #11
volstork Nov 2017 #12
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #13
2naSalit Nov 2017 #2
pecosbob Nov 2017 #3
mountain grammy Nov 2017 #4
C Moon Nov 2017 #18
Denzil_DC Nov 2017 #5
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #14
Denzil_DC Nov 2017 #15
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #16
Denzil_DC Nov 2017 #19
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #21
Denzil_DC Nov 2017 #22
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #23
Denzil_DC Nov 2017 #24
Irish_Dem Nov 2017 #25
bucolic_frolic Nov 2017 #7
Leith Nov 2017 #8
paleotn Nov 2017 #17
pecosbob Nov 2017 #20

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 04:57 PM

1. Maybe it is not just Mueller casting out nets and investigating?

Sincerely hope so.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:08 PM

6. France, Germany, et al are not going too sit back and let Russia walk all over them.

They just like to keep a lower profile than the Trump Administration.

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Response to Nitram (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:33 PM

9. Good, I hope Putin gets major world wide push back in his attempts to gain control of the world.

A diabolic plan.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:37 PM

10. I thought your title was going to be

“Maybe it’s not just Mueller casting out demons.”
I guess he’s doing both!

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Response to volstork (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:39 PM

11. Good one Volstork. That is exactly what I hope Mueller is doing, casting out demons.

I hope he has garlic and a cross.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:41 PM

12. Me, too.

LOTS of garlic.

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Response to volstork (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:43 PM

13. LOL maybe we should send him a care package. Crosses and garlic.

He'd go "what the heck is this.?"

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 05:04 PM

2. K&R

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 05:12 PM

3. Paradise Papers, perhaps?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 05:16 PM

4. Time to arrest all the ratfucking bastards.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:19 PM

18. +1000

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 05:23 PM

5. The EU will be more aggressive in the next few years in going after tax evasion and money laundering

The EU's Anti Tax Avoidance Directive will come into force on 1 January 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/company-tax/anti-tax-avoidance-package/anti-tax-avoidance-directive_en

It also has plans to clamp down on tax havens and money laundering: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/15/uk-overseas-territories-eu-tax-crackdown-economic-sanctions

It's good to see France is applying the law - so often our governments cozy up to these oligarchs because money.

(You could also see the measures above as being among the reasons why billionaires are so keen on Brexit.)

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:47 PM

14. Can Europe successfully go after the Russian oligarchs and Putin?

The American congress looks like it is bought and paid for by Putin et al.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:58 PM

15. I can't see why not, if they visit or have holdings in European countries.

The targeted sanctions hurt them a lot - they loved screwing Russia for money then being able to swan off abroad at will to swank about in yachts, live in mansions in exotic places etc. Not much point in having all that money if you can't enjoy the lifestyle!

There may well be EU politicians involved in corruption who've taken Russian funding illegally (there are strong suspicions about UKIP etc., for instance) - the mob has tentacles all over and is basically an international crime consortium - but they don't quite run the show yet.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:05 PM

16. Thank you for your reply Denzil. Very interesting comments.

Yes I agree, they sucked the Russian economy dry, Russians now have a lower standard of living
that the Chinese. And yes, they want to go to the world's swanky places to spend their ill gotten gain
and to launder it.

I would assume that there are European leaders on the Russian payroll like here in the US.

It does feel like the international mob crime syndicate/oligarchs are running the show.

But you feel hopeful that they can be curtailed?

Putin is the richest man in the world, worth an estimated $600 billion and he committed the crime
of the century hacking into an American presidential election. With no consequences.
What is to stop him?

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:28 PM

19. In some ways the EU's federal nature could help.

It would be hard to coordinate buying off all the significant politicians in different countries so that they could be guaranteed immunity.

Some countries are going to be more vulnerable than others - not to single it out, but Italy has a pretty colorful recent history of corruption. The UK has been happy for Lebedev to appear respectable and own a major football team and media outlets. If he gets more ensnared in the Trump investigation, though ...

Each time they pick one of them off, it could give more leads and help widen the net. The article in the OP, if correct, indicates a chill running though their ranks. That's when mistakes can be made, and I imagine they're watching their movements closely.

I look at what happened with FIFA. We knew for years it was corrupt, massive amounts of money involved, nothing was done, then all of a sudden that all collapsed and many heads rolled. If that can be achieved, I think there are some grounds for hope.

And yes, what we in the West enabled to happen to Russia after the Gorbachev/Yeltsin coup was tragic and shameful. What a different country it could have been. And now we're reaping the whirlwind.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:47 PM

21. Thank you, very interesting, so there is hope.

And it is nice to think that the Russians are running a bit scared, perhaps they should just stay in their dachas.

I hope FIFA is an example of what can happen to the Russian oligarchs.

And yes. The US is reaping a number of whirlwinds. Russia/Middle East/ Iraq/Iran. The list goes on and on.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #21)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:52 PM

22. It's just my take, and I'm far from an expert on anything!

But those measures I mentioned in my post 5 are coming in and some actions have already begun.

Brexit is going to affect the EU as well as the UK (but much less), and if there are shortfalls in income and funding, it's crazy to let money be secreted away if there are ways to stop that happening.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:57 PM

23. You have good information and thank you for sharing.

Some say Putin engineered Brexit too as part of weakening Europe.
Would be ironic if it made Europe less willing to let the Russians steal the resultant decreased budget.

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Response to Irish_Dem (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:18 PM

24. I think the UK was laid wide open to Brexit by many, many years of anti-EU propaganda

in our own media that had nothing to do with Putin.

It really began with Boris Johnson (our lovely current Foreign Secretary) inventing scandalous or ridiculous tales about what was going on in the European Parliament when he was assigned there as a newspaper correspondent. He was too thick and useless and easily bored to dig up any real stories (the sad thing is that much of the work of the EU is quite boring), so he'd latch on to anything that he could spin as stupid or outrageous, or just plain make stuff up. Some of his colleagues realized what he was up to and started a little private competition to see who could feed him the most ridiculous nonsense and have him publish it.

His newspaper loved it and it got their readers excited, other outlets saw this, and pretty soon very few editors wanted straight stories out of the EU Parliament, they wanted the same sort of juicy tidbits that got readers' pulses racing and tongues wagging.

Our own BBC for many years gave UKIP's Nigel Farage a vast amount of airtime out of all proportion to his party's electoral presence (he's stood for the UK Parliament many times, and been trounced every time), and he's used his seat as an MSP and the funding it brings and other UKIP MPs' allowances in quite irregular and sometimes illegal ways (and been fined repeatedly for it).

Our media have generally not been pro-EU, and turnout at UK European elections has always been low. Any contribution of Putin was way late, and nobody knows whether it made a significant difference. Polls had put it at more or less 50/50 leave/remain for a number of years, so the final result wasn't that unlikely. But given the slim winning margin, anything could have tipped the balance.

There are also investigations into some other funding oddities at the moment. They don't necessarily involve Russia either, but we'll have to wait and see.

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Response to Denzil_DC (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 08:51 PM

25. Fascinating. Similiar to the U.S. faux news; ignorant and attention seeking

politicians; a media only too happy to print it all.

I think Putin is good a putting his foot on the scale.
And yes of course other mega wealthy donors around the globe buying elections.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:19 PM

7. Workers of the world

keep feeding their income and labor UP the income scale

Little people don't stand a chance

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 06:27 PM

8. Good

Just like US corporations and ultrarich are doing to the US, the thugocracy has been stealing money from Russia and its citizens. I hope that there is an international plan in First World countries to bring the mobsters down - and I hope that Mueller is part of it.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:09 PM

17. payback for mucking with the French election?

Possibly. Or a more sustained, international crackdown on Russians flaunting the West's rule of law.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu Nov 23, 2017, 07:47 PM

20. Their Achilles Heel

They simply can't restrain themselves from showing off their swag and bragging about it (some of them anyway, Putin included). Follow the money.

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