Via the Off Guardian…
What happens when Vladimir Putin takes a media exposure break? It is the news every hour.
What happens when Igor Kolomoisky WSJ-proclaimed as Ukraine’s Secret Weapon, raids the country’s main pipeline operator? No news there.
Video of Kolomoisky’s raiders arriving at Ukrtransnafta headquarters
So it is meticulously not reported by the “free world” media. It must have been the strong language the Dnepropetrovsk’s don used, when exiting the building his men took over Thursday evening. Or in the simple fact that the state of Ukraine is increasingly a ‘fact’ which is not reportable due to its withering. Here is a transcript of the final part of the video:
I just wanted to see you. Your fucking face. There are no other opportunities to see you, Radio Liberty. You don’t ask how this raider seizure occurred in Ukrtransnafta? And about how Russian saboteurs got here, huh? Why aren’t you asking about it? Huh? Or you fucking needed to see Kolomoiskiy?
We were freeing the building of Ukrtransnafta from Russian saboteurs. Who seized it. And you with your “Liberty” sit here and fucking ambush me. As a girl spying on her unfaithful husband. What, didn’t you shut up already? Or want to ask about the passports?* Or you want to ask something else? Ask me about the Russian saboteurs, why didn’t you catch even one? Radio “Liberty”, fuck. You’re the same “Liberty”, fucking like the one that went to the parliament**. Fucking Tyahnybok prostitute.”
Document’s have disappeared. There were some murky people from some private security company. Now they are gone. This was a trivial attempt for a raider takeover of this state-owned company.
And what I was doing here, I will tell you in the Prosecutor’s Office, did you get that, “Libertarian”? Why did you shut up? Ah? Why are you silent, speak up? Do you have any more questions? Or you’ve plugged your tongue up your asshole? Speak up, you are the Radio “Liberty”, a famous thing, broke up the Soviet Union, brought down the Bolsheviks… And you are ambushing me for the passports. Or for some used condoms? Where is this fag of yours, Leshshenko? Well, are you going to show this on your tv or internet? Hello?
Everyone was away, the Prime Minister is gone to Brussels, who was supposed to take care of this? They decided to quietly raid the company and steal everything. It was after we intervened that [Economy Minister] Demchishin came over, Savhcenko, this new one, the fat one (Miroshnik, the newly appointed CEO of the company).
I asked him: Where did you work? He says in the Lugansk SBU (Ukraine’s KGB equivalent). So I ask him, did you do smuggling there, or are you liberating the Lugansk region? Why the fuck are you here at the Transnafta? We have everything under control here. So he was with the Lugansk SBU, he doesn’t want to liberate Crimea. He doesn’t want to liberate Lugansk. He appointed himself [to the position of CEO].
Q: What do you think, who’s behind all this?
K: I don’t know. They told me it was Kononenko one of the leaders of Poroshenko’s Rada faction. Now I am going to the Presidential Administration, to clarify who is behind all this.
Interestingly enough, Kolomoisky didn’t bother to speak the official Ukraininan language, but stuck to Russian.
Once the sun rose above Kiev, the local Forbes edition supplied a more cogent story, which, of course, one has difficulties finding in “more civilized” languages around the web:
Today Yuri Miroshnik, recently appointed acting CEO of “Ukrtransnafta,” will try to enter his office at the headquarters of the state-owned company that controls the transport of raw oil and oil products in Ukraine. Yesterday, he was prevented from doing this by the governor of Dnepropetrovsk region Igor Kolomoisky, who arrived together with a support group in the main office of the company in order to defend his protégé Alexander Lazorko at the helm.
Earlier in the day, the Supervisory Board of “Uktransnafta” decided to suspend Lazorko effective March 19, 2015. Thus, the duration of his contract, which expires in August 2015, was completed ahead of schedule.
But Lazorko’s lobbyists did not like this: under his management Kolomoisky’s “Privat” group was able to successfully negotiate with all governments to maintain their protege at the head of “Ukrtransnafta” since 2009 and, thus, for more than five years to control the work of oil transportation routes. In the central office on the 17/8 Kutuzov St, force was used. Representatives of the “Privat” group barricaded the entrances to the building with chairs and draped the windows with posters.
Events actively developed until late at night. Officers of “Naftogaz of Ukraine” arrived, (“Ukrtransnafta” is part of “Naftogaz”’s holding structure), as well as the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vladimir Demchishin, deputies and law enforcement officers and the businessman Gennady Korban, a close associate of Kolomoiskiy.
Demchishin stayed inside the building about half an hour. On his way out he said he had talked there with Kolomoisky, their conversation took place peacefully and without threats. “We talked, drank water, laughed – it was a long talk”, – said the head of the Ministry of Energy. According to him, Kolomoysky wants to explore the legitimacy of the decision to dismiss Lazorko with lawyers. When asked what representatives of the “Privat” group were going to do throughout the night at the office of “Ukrtransnafta”, the minister, smiling, replied: “Burn financial documents.”
Claims to the management efficiency of “Ukrtransnafta” have been brewing for a long time. In 2010, its decisions in fact, blocked the best routes for the transportation of oil by pipeline to the Odessa refinery, which ensured the profitability of production. Last year, with the help of co-owner of the “Continuum” group, people’s deputy Igor Eremeev, the related fact surfaced, that Lazorko approved pumping out 675 tons of technological oil from the pipelines for processing at the Kremenchug refinery “Ukrtatnafta”, controlled by the “Privat”. Among the private owners of the company is also the Kharkov businessman Alexander Yaroslavsky. “Naftogaz of Ukraine” owns 43% of the shares, but in the management of the refinery it is involved only formally. Raw materials were transferred to the plant at a price lower than the market, the state suffered losses.
Igor Kolomoisky subsequently confirmed the existence of control over the state-owned “Ukrtransnafta” and talked about his participation in the decision-making process by pumping oil from pipelines. According to him, it helped save the oil from the separatists in the Donbas, although the pipeline sectors from which the raw materials were pumped out, were outside the fighting areas. The emptying was overseen by Deputy Energy Minister Igor Didenko, who still retains his position. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk demanded that law enforcement agencies open a criminal case and prosecute those responsible for the illegal pumping of oil, but this did not yield any results.
Last week it became clear Demchishin was going to dismiss Lazorko. The Minister could not come to terms with the fact that the head of “Ukrtransnafta” agreed to a two-fold increase in the tariff for public storage of oil, pumped out by his decision from the pipelines in the spring of 2014, at the facilities of the Kremenchug refinery, whose financial flows are managed by “Privat”. The amount of the deal is 300 million hryvnia. Therefore, the Ministry of Energy initiated a meeting of the Supervisory Board of “Ukrtransnafta”, following which a decision was taken, which “Privat” did not like.
Despite his dismissal, Lazorko said yesterday that he intends to continue to work at “Ukrtransnafta”. The hired manager denies embezzlement of public funds in favor of “Privat” structures. According to him, storage of oil for a fee – “This is a forced measure” because resources are “nowhere else” to be stored. However Lazorko acknowledged that the majority shareholder has the right to suspend him from duty, but he was waiting for explanations from “Naftogaz” and Vladimir Demchishin.
The Energy Minister assured the legitimacy of personnel decisions regarding Lazorko: it was taken in consultation with the Cabinet and in accordance with the statute of “Ukrtransnafta”.
“With Lazorko as head of the company it will be difficult to conduct a comprehensive and objective review of its financial and economic activity … I met Lazorko, explained the decision of the Supervisory Board. I believe that the decision is lawful. There are definitely no reasons not to trust it, definitely not, “- said Demchishin.
The Minister hoped that the cadre conflict at “Ukrtransnafta” would be peacefully settled, and today Yuri Miroshnik will take up his duties as head of the state-owned company.
“This is a man who built a team that will perform specific tasks. This man is the best to lead the “Ukrtransnafta”. This is a man with extensive experience in law enforcement. As it turned out, it proved crucial in the present day “- this is how the Energy Minister explained his bet on Miroshnik candidacy.
However, the likelihood of confrontation with Igor Kolomoisky for his appointment instead Lazorko also remains high. Because “Ukrtransnafta” is an integral part of the vertically integrated structure of the oil business “Privat”. This allows them to control the oil supply to the refinery of Kremechug and manage pipelines to their advantage.
Thanks to Parliament yesterday “Privat” was another powerful blow to its oil business. The Verkhovna Rada approved the changes to the law “On Joint Stock Companies”, which call for reducing the quorum for meetings of shareholders of joint stock companies do 50 percent + 1 share already in this year. The adoption of these amendments allows the state to regain control of “Ukrnafta” Shareholders’ Meeting that is blocked by minority shareholders – the “Privat” group of Igor Kolomoisky.
Features of corporate law have long allowed the Dnepropetrovsk group to control the financial flows of “Ukrnafta” and block the payment of dividends to the State – the debt on these reached 1.89 billion hryvnia. “Ukrnafta” accounts for more than 86% oil and 16% gas in the total production of energy in Ukraine. “Privat” has been repeatedly accused of use at a low cost of raw materials from “Ukrnafta” for processing at the Kremenchug refinery, controlled by the group.
*”The passports.” Ukrainian and Russian media often suggest that Kolomoisky holds at least three citizenships – Ukraininan, Israely and of Cyprus. When challenged over it (Ukrainian law forbids people having double citizenship from occupying high-ranking government offices), Kolomoisky replied this doesn’t apply to him, since he’s got not double, but triple citizenship.
**The reference is about the pro-Nazi “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) party, which, among others, voted for the bill which ultimately caused Kolomoisky’s action.
Who is Ihor Kolomoiskyi?
He is one of the richest oligarchs in Ukraine and reportedly has accumulated an estimated wealth of around $6 billion using very questionable (some would say extremely violent) tactics in the fields of finance, oil, mass media and metal industries, such as hostile takeovers of his competitors.
He was illegally appointed Dnipropetrovsk Regional Governor after last year’s US/EU backed coup in Ukraine by then-acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, who is currently the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council’s secretary.
Kolomoiskyi funds a number of Ukrainian volunteer battalions that have committed human rights violations in the southeast of the country, where they have been fighting against the Novorussian anti-coup federalist army.
On March 13, the leaders of the eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) asked the leaders of France and Germany to deny travel for senior Kiev officials, including Kolomoiskyi, to the European Union, over their mass violations of human rights.
The EU of course has not acted, because to put it bluntly, Kolomoiskyi is their type of guy.