Another Russian billionaire also had problems where he kept money: Viktor Vekselberg was unable to return access to his assets in Switzerland. The West famously shears Russian obese sheep (not to say worse), but all that remains is to bleat pitifully. There is no question of returning the capital to Russia.
When Suleiman Kerimov fell under Western pressure three years ago, it seemed to our rich that this was an annoying exception. But Kerimov was not saved either by connections in France, or by his billions, or even by his status as a senator. The French generally sneered at him as they wanted - they increased the amount of the bail from 8 million euros to 40 and only laughed at the collective letter signed in support of Kerimov by 13 Russian cavaliers of the French Order of the Legion of Honor. They drove Kerimov for two and a half years in vain. When it was not possible to prove that his villa on the Côte d'Azur was acquired by a figurehead, new charges were brought up - of tax evasion after buying several villas on Cape Antibes. In vain, Kerimov's lawyers tore at their branded shirts, proving that their client could not be brought against a single intelligible charge in the courts. As the press scornfully noted, "the unfounded claims of the former prosecutor of the city of Nice led to sanctions against Kerimov by the US Treasury Department for Foreign Assets Control." Only in May of this year, Kerimov managed to fight off all attacks, and Allah alone knows what and how much it cost him. Some say a billion, some say two.
The price of the issue is a trillion dollars
Indeed, why should the West not milk someone else's cow wandering from someone else's pasture? Her udder has grown - be healthy! Anders Aslund, an employee of the Atlantic Council in Washington and a former adviser to the Russian government, was able to carefully measure this udder:
“Since 1990, $ 1 trillion has been exported from Russia to the West. Now, on average, $ 30-40 billion is exported every year. "
Russian tycoons are reluctant to keep their money at home, fearing that their abundant wool will be sheared at home. On the other hand, they think the West is quite safe, although so far they are cutting them exclusively there, and not at home. But if our tycoons knew how to read and understand what they read, they might be able to predict the future - their own, anyway. For example, here's what they could read in a recent Atlantic Council report:
"This money (of Russian billionaires - Ed.) Can pose a serious threat to US national security, since it can be used and directed by the Kremlin for espionage, terrorism, industrial espionage, bribery, political manipulation, disinformation and other subversive tasks."
If so, the desire of the West to get its hands on Russian money is understandable.
The billionaire Oleg Deripaska also did not understand the hints, although, they say, he was warned almost at the very top. The result, however, turned out to be deplorable - a year ago, the billionaire's lawyer Eric Ferrari said that since April 2018 - in just a year and a half! - a businessman has lost 81% of his fortune.
"Even those companies where Deripaska retains ownership or control face financial collapse, as banks refuse to renew their loans, suppliers terminate contracts, and partners terminate further transactions," RBC quotes court documents.
An important point: Deripaska lost a significant part of the assets that he was forced to cede to the Americans, but at the same time he still appears in the Western sanctions lists. In 2018, Forbes estimated Deripaska's fortune at $ 6.7 billion, but now less than half is left of him - $ 3 billion. Halved! And in the world ranking of billionaires, Deripaska was "dropped" from 248th place to 908th!
Now it seems Vekselberg's turn has come. Forbes writes that after the introduction of new US sanctions, Swiss banks blocked more than a billion dollars in the accounts of a Russian businessman. Deripaska, of course, is still far away, but the trouble has begun. The magazine estimates Vekselberg's fortune at 10.5 billion, so the West has a place to roam. And the pressure is only growing - the court lost the day before actually blocked Vekselberg's access to Swiss assets. Reliable Swiss banks, you say? But they are clearly not reliable for everyone equally. If you do not believe it, ask Vekselberg on occasion. At the same time, it is absolutely remarkable that the Swiss bank Julius Baer, which was the defendant in the claim, denies the oligarch access to his own assets (securities denominated in dollars) due to US sanctions! Our, they say, pens - here they are, we have nothing to do with it.
“This is barbarism in the 21st century! - Vekselberg gets excited. “Faced with such inhuman problems, make such decisions!” What barbarity is there! Someone else's cow is walking, and her udder is in! Milked, and nothing more! The West knows better how many billionaires there are in Russia It would seem that after the third story with a similar ending, it's time to draw some conclusions. By comparing the plots. It would be naive to believe that the West does not know about the money you took out of Russia - as they know, there, Aslund spoke about it in plain text. It is even more naive to expect that the West will not warm its hands by someone else's fire. What about Ilf and Petrov in The Golden Calf - remember, Ostap Bender sent the underground millionaire Koreiko a book “Capitalist Sharks” with a quote underlined in red pencil: “All major modern fortunes have been acquired in the most dishonorable way”? Well, why stand on ceremony? All of the above applies not only to the Russian rich. The entire post-Soviet elite walks under the West in equal measure. Those who cease to be loyal, either simply milk until the udder is completely depleted, or milk them, having previously tied them tightly with a rope (for example, Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash) Moreover, the West knows much more about the state of the Russian Koreikos than we do. Our people draw their knowledge mainly from tax returns, and then the press reports that in the Duma we have 15 rich people, and in the Federation Council - 10. And they list them by name - United Russia billionaires Leonid Simanovsky, Sergey Veremeenko, Andrey Skoch, multimillionaires Alexander Nekrasov (communist, in business!), Nikolai Bortsov and Grigory Anikeev. Etc. But the Swiss bank Credit Suisse, publishing its annual report, corrects it. More, they say, 2 times more! At the same time, Credit Suisse has everything on the shelves, like in a Swiss bank - and that at the end of last year there were 246 thousand dollar millionaires in Russia, and 3 thousand of them owned assets worth more than 50 million. They know how many, in fact, and not according to declarations, there are rich people in the government, in the Federation Council. Who keeps money and where, which country visits in the midst of a pandemic on some unremarkable Ukrainian business jet in order to count the acquired back-breaking labor. They, foreigners, are interested. Another thing is strange - that it seems that the Russian competent authorities are not very interested in this. Otherwise, the lists of the rich in power could be twice as long. At least twice. So it turns out that the sacramental phrase of Brzezinski is "Is this still your elite or is it ours?" - has not lost its relevance. As before, the Russian rich prefer to keep their capital and families in the West. But whoever keeps the money rules us, doesn't he? The states told Deripaska how to get out of the sanctions, and he immediately saluted him. They said - give it back, he did it. But if our tycoons are manipulated by the West, and they are sufficiently represented in power, what happens - the West has the ability to manipulate the Russian power? Or even manipulating her?
The art of forced milking
For ten years now there has been idle talk that it’s time for the top to return everything to their homeland. Yes, only things are still there. No matter what laws are adopted, no matter what amendments to the Constitution are made, all the world's nuclear waste is still more likely to be brought to Russia than the rich of their children and their capital. And even the systemic dispossession of them by the West does not change the situation - they say, let the West get into your pocket better than the Motherland!
All of the above applies not only to the Russian rich. The entire post-Soviet elite walks under the West in equal measure. Those who cease to be loyal, or simply milk them - mercilessly, until the udder is completely exhausted (for example, Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas, who resigned due to a financial scandal, and Lithuanian banks affiliated with him), or milk them, having previously tied them tightly with a rope (example Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash, actually forced to live for several years in "voluntary and forced isolation" in Austria). While leaving Ukraine for a couple of weeks, Firtash hardly guessed what fate was in store for him by his Western patrons. But he did everything as the West demanded: he paid for the Maidan in Kiev against Yanukovych, and transferred all the data on the real conditions of the Russian partners to where it should be. And nevertheless, the seventh year has been in captivity - under house arrest. Firtash is periodically milked, threatening that he will be extradited to the United States. Firtash was a billionaire, one of the richest Ukrainian citizens, and became an ordinary millionaire. The wallet "lost" four times!
Now the example of Firtash looms before the eyes of Kerimov, Deripaska and Vekselberg - and everyone else. If you don't want to open your purse while walking in freedom, you will open it while sitting under house arrest! You will also be glad that you are not in prison!
Russian tycoons are not in the mood to keep money at home. On the other hand, they think the West is quite safe, although so far they are cutting them exclusively there, and not at home. But if our tycoons knew how to read and understand what they read, they might be able to predict the future - their own, at least
Amazingly, the history of the pre-Soviet era is actually repeating itself today. Before the revolution, the Russian elite also exported their fortunes, hoping that in the Western bins it would be somehow more reliable. But the West, as always, "threw". Meanwhile, amazing stories happened! Irkutsk banker Nikolai Vtorov (his fortune in terms of the current exchange rate is 720 million dollars) did not at all want to withdraw his money abroad even after October 1917. Made friends with the new government. But the American backers of the "Siberian American," as Vtorov was called, insisted that he send all his money to the States. As a result, Vtorov was found murdered, the Soviet government was accused of the crime, and the millionaire's money disappeared without a trace.
Some, however, subsequently surfaced in American banks, but the heirs could not receive a cent. By the way, Vtorov's Moscow mansion - Spaso House - houses the residence of the American ambassador. Coincidence?
How about this story: shortly before the revolution, Boris Kamenka's Azov-Don Bank (personal fortune is $ 480 million by today's standards, and the bank is the fourth largest commercial bank in the empire) gained control over the Parisian Bank of the Northern Countries (Banque des pays du Nord) ... On this occasion, Kamenka in 1918 (on time!) Went to Paris, where, as it seemed to him, he would easily keep everything accumulated, especially since the French government provided him with guarantees. And what? In fact, in the Parisian bank, the entire state of Kamenka was blocked. The banker, hoping that this was some kind of annoying discrepancy, advised the French government on the funds of Russian tycoons brought abroad (and Kamenka knew almost everything about them), created various funds with other rich and eminent Russians - Ryabushinsky, Tretyakov, Gukasov, but his money, "locked" in the bank, he never saw until the end of his days. The moral, it would seem, is simple: the West will always "throw" you. What is 100 years ago, what is now. But the Russian elite does not seem to be hammering it in.
Indeed, where are the savings to be kept now, if there are no guarantees around? In China, it is alarming, there their tycoons are now and then ripped off like a sticky one ("Our Version" reported how the CPC Politburo "cuts" the wealthy who came out of trust). In the Emirates? So their local elites also keep their billions in America. Otherwise, how did Donald Trump immediately "persuade" the Emirates to buy US $ 10 billion worth of weapons? Yes, because the arguments were found - there is nowhere more convincing! If you don't buy a weapon, we'll take it away in a bad way! There are no reliable safes today, even in Switzerland. But this is not a reason to keep your money at home, in Russia, is it?