Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hard Times for Akhmetov and Pinchuk

KIEV, Ukraine -- The richest man in Ukraine Rinat Akhmetov left Ukraine. The second richest man, Victor Pinchuk seems to be destined to face the same fate since he’s selling his property in Ukraine.

Both are ex-oligarchs. Having saved their incomes, plants and steamers, TV channels and newspapers, they lost the most important thing. They have no impact on the authority. Not anymore.

The story began with the rumors that Akhmetov stayed too long in Moscow. Then this information was marginally proved in his football club.

The source has informed that FC “Shakhtar” employees couldn’t reach their boss by phone and know nothing about his whereabouts either. The official phones of FC “Shakhtar”, his press-service in particular, have been dead for two days already, says Donetsk web-site Ostriv.

Later on, Interfax-Ukraina managed to find out that Akhmetov was in Spain. At the same time Akhmetov’s company “System Capital Management” makes no comments saying Akhmetov can be in three countries at the same time, that’s of common practice.

It’s interesting that just before the disappearing of the most influential oligarch in Ukraine the stock-holders of the Central and Southern ore mining and processing enterprises has taken up surprisingly unexpected decision to channel the bulk of the income to dividend payments of more than 800 million UAH. At the same time the stock-holders of “Northern ore mining and processing enterprise” agreed to spent 95% of the year income on dividend payments.

Not bad, huh? Probably Akhmetov decided to “cut the crop” preferring cash in the situation you plants might be taken away any moment.

Northern ore mining and processing enterprise is a part of “Ukrrudprom” which privatization was to be reviewed by the new authorities.

Though FC “Shakhtar” press service claims Akhmetov is on a business trip there are enough reasons to think this leave will be prolonged. He is not likely to play the role of Ukrainian Khordokovsky.

Obviously the law machinery is ready to pose Akhmetov a number of certain questions. He was alarmed by the detention of his closest companion-in-arm Borys Kolesnykov. It’s a fact of common knowledge that Akhmetov’s brother together with FC Shakhtar” ex-head Zhygan Taktashev and Akhmetov’s assistant Serhiy Kyi are figurants in Kolesnikovgate.

But it wasn’t just Akhmetov who had problems. His nearest competitor in The Richest Top 10, Victor Pinchuk, is going on to get bad news, just one after another.

On a Wednesday Government meeting Yulia Tymoshenko cancelled the decisions that led to state property loss in the insurance company Oranta.

The thing is that as a result of additional emissions Victor Pinchuk got the control over the company. Now this resolution is cancelled. It’s a trifle for Pinchuk, but an annoying one. But together with the land taken away in Koncha Zaspa and in the Crimea, with “the stolen dream” of the museum of contemporary arts, with the problems with the land in Boryspil, it is a tendency.

Russian Vedomosti writes that the part of Pinchuk’s empire is on sale now. Some Russian businessmen were addressed with the offers.

The stock-holder of a Russian metallurgic company told he was offered to buy “Ineripe” for $1 billion. “It was more expensive before”, - said the businessman in surprise.

According to the source close to “Interipe” Pinchuk offered to buy his metallurgic business to a number of Russian companies.

These companies refuse to comment on that but some employees confess they were offered Pinchuk’s property.

The employee of a large investment bank told Vedomosti that he was addressed by the clients who got offers from Pinchuk adding that the price was 3 times less that the one estimated by the bank taking into account the risk factor.

Russian investment banker who works with Ukrainian companies says that Pinchuk’s metallurgy business is $1.5 billion worth. One of Russian businessmen estimated it $2.5-3 billion.

”Interipe” makes no comments on the situation. They just told Pinchuk read Vedomosti but he was reluctant to talk about that.

According to the periodical, Pinchuk seems to be going to sell not just his metallurgy business. Two sources close to Pinchuk told he was going to sell Ukrsotsbank and Alfa-Bank.

By the way, mass media wrote that Kyiv department of Alfa-Bank was looking for the clients to buy Nikopol ferroalloy plant.

Well, Akhmetov and Pinchuk are really in trouble. Everything “saved, working hard” is going away. They do not want to be ordinary citizens, even the richest ones. You cant’ privatize anything for nothing, for instance a 144 hectare Japanese garden.

Political scientist Kostyantyn Bondarenko tried to ennoble Pinchuk. First he assumed Pinchuk as well as Akhmetov would leave the country, having sold their actives. Then he added: “The authorities want them to repeat Gusinsky’s and Berezovsky’s fate”.

I wonder who will play Berezovsky’s role?

Source: Ukrayinska Pravda

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