A Cyprus court will hold a hearing on Dec.14 on whether an injunction will stay in force freezing $6 billion in Russian assets, including a stake in potash maker Uralkali (URKA.MM: Quote).
A court on the Mediterranean island where thousands of Russian companies are registered, has blocked assets including businessman Suleiman Kerimov's stakes in Uralkali and mining group Polyus Gold (PLZL.MM: Quote). It was issued in response to a petition filed by Russian member of parliament Ashot Egiazaryan in September.
Egiazaryan is embroiled in a business dispute over the landmark Moskva Hotel adjacent to the Kremlin, which has been undergoing redevelopment in recent years. The action was mounted in Cyprus because it relates to companies registered on the island which hold stakes in Polyus and Uralkali.
After consultations with the court on Wednesday, lawyers for the sides said the mid-December session would hear whether the injunction should remain in force or be discharged.
The original injunction dated Sept. 15 was issued without any of the respondents or their lawyers present. The list of respondents includes Kerimov, former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhhov and his wife Elena Baturina.
“RUSSIAN journalist Elena Maglevannaya, whose articles focused on human rights abuses in Chechnya, has been granted asylum in Finland.
Maglevannaya said she fled Russia after becoming a target of harassment and threats because of her published articles on human rights abuses in Chech- nya, Finnish broadcaster YLE reported on 12 November. Maglevannaya was granted residence a few weeks ago and is currently living in a reception center in Lappeenranta while awaiting placement in south-eastern Finland.
The 28-year-old journalist has written for several publications in Russia, including Svabodnoye Slovo in Volgograd. As a result of her work she was convicted of defamation of character and fined 200,000 rubles for publishing reports of torture in a Volgograd prison. She also received numerous death threats from nationalist groups.”
The director of the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), has told the Anglo-Russian business community that as he prepares to exercise new powers allowing him to prosecute corruption worldwide, his organization is particularly interested in the activities of Russian business, reports City A.M.
Referring to new powers available to the SFO following the implementation of the Bribery Act in the UK in April next year, Richard Alderman said in a speech: "I shall have jurisdiction where a foreign corporation carries on a business in the UK and commits an act of bribery in a third country. This will be an offence even if the act of bribery has nothing to do with the UK business."
Alderman indicated that working with foreign law enforcement agencies was, and would continue to be, an increasingly important area of the SFO's work, saying: "We stand ready to help [the Russian authorities] in the fight against corruption in Russia."
Behind the diplomacy, Moscow must be either laughing or fuming - probably both. Media reports in the UK appeared to miss the barb contained in the words of Vadim Yalovitsky of the General Prosecutor's Office.
Yalovitsky told delegates at the same event: "Given that a number of individuals prosecuted for such crimes are hiding beyond the reach of the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, and that the ill gotten profits from crime are transferred abroad, we put a great deal of attention and energy into international cooperation on criminal matters."
Russia currently has around 40 extradition applications filed with the UK, none of which have been successful. Many of them concern charges of corruption and fraud against business figures.
U.S. court to hear arguments in criminal case against Russian pilot
A U.S. district court in New York will hold on Thursday pre-trial oral arguments in the criminal case against a Russian pilot who has been detained in Liberia and charged with drug-trafficking.
New York prosecutors on June 2 announced the arrest in Monrovia of Konstantin Yaroshenko is accused of airlifting of thousands of kilograms of cocaine throughout South America, Africa and Europe.
The oral debates have been postponed twice since Yaroshenko's arrest due to "technical reasons."
Yaroshenko's lawyers, Lee Ginsburg and Ann Brown, said the defense would table three motions on the illegality of prosecuting Yaroshenko in the United States and demand the closure of the case.
Yaroshenko, 41, was detained in the Liberian capital of Monrovia in late May but his arrest was only announced by New York prosecutors on June 2.
The Russian Foreign Ministry blasted the United States over the detention, saying it was practically a kidnapping and a violation of international law.
Yaroshenko and other alleged members of the cocaine trafficking group have denied all charges. If they are convicted, they may face from 10 years imprisonment to life sentences.
The start of the Yaroshenko trial has been set for February 2011.
Yaroshenko's case is another challenge to the budding Russian-U.S. relations, along with delays in ratification of the new strategic arms reduction deal and the trial of alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in the United States after his extradition from Thailand.