Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ukraine: What’s a Little Nepotism When Dividing the Spoils

Oh to live the pampered, regal life of a politician’s child.  Never to have to worry about getting into a great college, never having to worry about paying tuition or getting a good paying job to pay off your massive tuition debt (thanks to the Senator Joe Biden Bankruptcy  Bill).  Debt that can’t even be expunged with death.  Such is life for the Bidens.  Today, it was announced that Vice-President and self-proclaimed Zionist Joe Biden has secured a seat for his boy Hunter on the board of Ukraine’s largest gas producer.  From Washington Times:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s youngest son, Hunter, has been appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.

Burisma Holdings said in a statement that Hunter Biden will be in charge of the company’s legal unit and will provide support for the company among international organizations.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that Mr. Biden’s new position “does not reflect an endorsement by the administration,” Time magazine’s Zeke Miller reported.

The announcement comes just one day after Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom threatened to halt natural gas shipments to Ukraine unless the country pays in advance for supplies.

The vice president has condemned Russia for its intervention in Ukraine and has pledged to support efforts to reduce its dependency on Russian energy, The Moscow Times reported.

Funny thing, since the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine, there’s a little problem with their accounts payables.  Ukraine has an outstanding invoice with Gazprom and Gazprom will now provide gas to Ukraine on a C.O.D. basis only.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed Gazprom to start supplying gas to Ukraine on a prepaid basis from May 13.

“Gazprom has a right to do what has been repeatedly discussed, namely to switch over to advance payments for Ukrainian consumers and Ukraine under the contract,” Medvedev said on Monday, May 12. “I think it’s high time we stopped dandling about. Notify them and move on to advance payments starting tomorrow,” he said at a meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

Gee, what happened last time you failed to pay your utility bill?  I guess Central Bankers like Yats don’t know that as of May the utility companies can shut off your heat for nonpayment.

“I think Gazprom has taken all possible steps to settle the situation: we talked with them, we consulted several times, you reported to me and to the president, but we were not heard,” the prime minister said. “If this is so, we must start acting because this can’t be tolerated anymore.”

Medvedev said advance payments for Russian gas would not mean an end to supplies. “The transition to advance payments means only one thing: we will supply as much as they pay for. If they pay one euro, we will supply one euro’s worth [of gas]; if they pay a billion, we will supply a billion’s worth [of gas],” he said.

“Our Ukrainian partners have money,” Medvedev said, referring to the first portion of a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Oh, come on Dmitry, you know the Federal Reserve stole all our gold.  What are we supposed to pay you with, worthless gold certificates from the Goldman Sachs?

Miller said Ukraine had to pay for Russian gas supplies before June 2.

“If Ukraine does not pay for the June supplies, Gazprom will notify Ukraine by 10 a.m. June 3 how much gas would be supplied to Ukraine in accordance with the advance payment made,” he said.

If no prepayment is made, no gas will be supplied to Ukraine in June, he added.

Miller said that Ukraine’s current debt for gas had exceeded 3.5 billion U.S. dollars, which matches 9.420 billion cubic meters of gas. This would be enough to supply gas to Poland for 12 months.

Ukraine did not make any payments for gas in March and April, he said.

You know, it all goes back to the leaked conversation between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt discussing how they were going to overthrow the elected Ukrainian Government.  From BBC:

Voice thought to be Pyatt's: I think we're in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you've seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we're trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you'll need to make, I think that's the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader]. And I'm glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I'm very glad that he said what he said in the end

Nuland: Good. I don't think Klitsch should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.

Boy, all that eavesdropping is paying off.  Poor old Klitschko is out, he’s having marriage troubles.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I'm just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I'm sure that's part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Yeah, the opposition leaders that you’ve recruited and are paying all want a piece of the Ukrainian pie.

Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in... he's going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it's just not going to work.

So, now that they’ve decided that Yats is the guy…

Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that's right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?

Nuland: My understanding from that call - but you tell me - was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a... three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?

Pyatt: No. I think... I mean that's what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that's been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he's going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they've got and he's probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn't like it.

Yep, Vicky reach out personally to Klitschko so we can move fast before he can explain why he doesn’t like it.

Nuland: OK, good. I'm happy. Why don't you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.

Nuland: OK... one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can't remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?

Yes, the pieces are all falling into place, like government coup 101.

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: OK. He's now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

Out of all the above, the only thing that the US press seems to have found important there was “Fuck the EU”.  But there’s more.

Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we've got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I'm still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there's a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I'm sure there's a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep... we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

Ha, ha send in a midwife to birth their Frankenstein’s baby, guess who?

Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president's national security adviser Jake] Sullivan's come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden's willing.

Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.

Yes, so once you overthrow a government and put your toadies in place, it’s time for the pillaging to start.  So Joe’s boy gets a job as head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.  Oh, the perks you get from being a politician’s kid.

According to Global Research:

Ukraine has Europe’s third-largest shale gas reserves at 42 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While for years U.S. oil companies have been pressing for shale gas development in countries such as Britain, Poland, France and Bulgaria only to be rebuffed by significant opposition from citizens and local legislators concerned about the environmental impacts of shale gas extraction – including earthquakes and groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – there has been considerably less opposition in Ukraine, a country that has been embroiled in numerous gas disputes with the Russian Federation in recent years.

Yes, I bet having the U.S. Vice President’s son handling your legal affairs removes a lot of road blocks to using “fracking” for gas extraction.  

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, controlling nearly one-fifth of the world’s gas reserves, supplies more than half of Ukraine’s gas annually, and about 30 percent of Europe’s. It has often used this as political and economic leverage over Kiev and Brussels, cutting gas supplies repeatedly over the past decade (in the winters of 2005-2006, 2007-2008, and again in 2008-2009), leading to energy shortages not only in Ukraine, but Western European countries as well. This leverage, however, came under challenge in 2013 as Ukraine took steps towards breaking its dependence on Russian gas.

Gee, what happened in 2013?  Oh, yeah.  Ukraine’s elected president turned down your shit sandwich deal.

On Nov. 5, 2013 (just a few weeks before the Maidan demonstrations began in Kiev), Chevron signed a 50-year agreement with the Ukrainian government to develop oil and gas in western Ukraine. According to the New York Times, “The government said that Chevron would spend $350 million on the exploratory phase of the project and that the total investment could reach $10 billion.”

In announcing the deal, President Viktor Yanukovych said that it “will let Ukraine satisfy its gas needs completely and, under the optimistic scenario, export energy resources by 2020.” Reuters characterized the deal as ”another step in a drive for more energy independence from Russia.”

The United States offered its diplomatic support, with Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, saying, “I’m very determined to cooperate with the Ukrainian government in strengthening Ukraine’s energy independence.”

Yes, good old Geoff, determined to work with the Ukrainian government of Yanukovych.

At the time of Yanukovych’s ouster in February, Chevron and the Ukrainian government had been negotiating an operating agreement for the shale development effort in western Ukraine, and Chevron spokesman Cameron Van Ast said that the negotiations would go forward despite Yanukovych fleeing the country. “We are continuing to finalize our joint operating agreement and the government continues to be supportive,” Van Ast said.

So, I was wondering “what kind of spectacular background” does someone that young have to land such a prestigious position.  Legal counsel to the world’s soon to be largest gas extractor?

By Jenny Strasburg and Thom Weidlich - January 31, 2007 12:40 EST

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- R. Hunter Biden, a Washington lobbyist, fraudulently excluded a partner from the purchase of a hedge-fund investment firm, the partner claims in a lawsuit.

Biden and his uncle James Biden squeezed investment consultant Anthony Lotito Jr. out of the 2006 acquisition of New York-based Paradigm Cos., Lotito says in a complaint filed Jan. 5 in New York state court. The Bidens lied to Lotito about their joint offer while negotiating a better deal alone, Lotito's complaint says. The Bidens deny the claims.

``He wants back what was stolen from him,'' said Lotito's lawyer, Brian Wille of Kostelanetz & Fink LLP in New York. ``He entered into this transaction believing in the honesty and integrity of the Bidens.''

Ha, ha is there no honor among thieves?

Hunter Biden, 36, son of U.S. Senator Joseph Biden, stepped down this month from daily oversight of Paradigm Global Advisors LLC, a unit of Paradigm Cos. that manages investments in hedge funds. He became the firm's chairman and remains a lobbyist, an unusual dual role as scrutiny of the hedge-fund industry has increased.

Boy, talk about failing up.  What a great way to be born.   You can’t lose.

Paradigm was founded in 1991 and has about $500 million of clients' money farmed out to hedge funds.

Lotito, 49, introduced Hunter Biden to Paradigm executives in January 2006 after Senator Biden said he was concerned that his son's lobbying might affect a planned presidential campaign, Lotito said in his complaint. Under the original purchase that included Lotito, Hunter Biden was to be paid $1.2 million a year as Paradigm's president and chief executive officer, according to the complaint.

Ca-ching! Soon to be Vice-President’s son on your resume gets you a great job at 32 years of age making $1.2 mil/year.   Prior to that, he had been a senior vice president at MBNA.  Bet that was a really great job too.  After all Joe Biden made sure the bankruptcy bill gave credit card companies the same exemption from bankruptcy laws as child support.  Joe Biden made sure student loans could never be expunged, even in death and bankruptcy.  Joe has earned lots of favors. 

James Biden (Joe’s Bro) and Lotito planned to work as consultants to LBB and would be paid $25,000 a month to find financing for the Paradigm acquisition, according to Lotito's complaint. In addition, they would work to attract public pension funds to invest in Paradigm and would split half of the management fees earned from those clients, according to an agreement with Paradigm Cos.

Prospective pension-fund clients included New York City Employees' Retirement System, New Orleans Fire Fighters Association and the Illinois Public Pension Fund Association, according to the complaint.

Yeah, I bet the “Biden” name goes a long way in selling magic beans to Employee’s Retirement Systems, New Orleans Fire Fighters Association and The Illinois Public Pension Fund.

Well, I have to admit, Hunter is the right guy for the job.  If Hunter was making $1.2 million/year at Paradigm, I wonder what he makes at Burisma Holdings, if that is even a real company and not some CIA front.

It is clear that all of these oil and gas companies – backed by their governments, including those of the Russian Federation and the United States – are deeply embroiled in the Ukrainian crisis, with much invested and much at stake. But with their disproportionate influence over Ukraine’s future, it should be kept in mind that the number one responsibility of any corporation is to increase profit margins for its shareholders, not necessarily to promote the democracy or sovereignty of the countries they are operating in.

This is particularly the case for Chevron and Shell, both of which have been implicated in major human rights violations in Nigeria. Chevron has been accused of recruiting and supplying Nigerian military forces involved in massacres of environmental protesters in the oil-rich Niger Delta, and Shell has faced charges of complicity in torture and other human rights abuses against the Ogoni people of southern Nigeria.

So, what’s a little nepotism when it comes to Ukraine’s riches?

By Patricia Baeten

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