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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Murky waters

A perfect environment for competent investors

Having kept silent for 10 years, Senate Committee members finally revealed that Saudi Arabian government may be linked to 9/11 attacks.

All these years public non-governmental organizations such as "Transparency International" were deflecting attention away from Saudi Arabia money in the U.S. telling stories of African dictators and Russian mafia.

Last Wednesday the Moscow City Court upheld the Lublin District Court decision on
a lawsuit filed by Yulia and Vladimir Kokorev against Spanish newspaper "El Mundo" and the Russia's "Infox" news agency.

Russia's line

On October 12, 2011 the Lublin District Court decided that the abovementioned media sources published materials that do not correspond to the facts and discredit the plaintiffs' honor and dignity, and ordered them to publish a retraction within 10 days.

In brief the case is as follows. In autumn of 2009 "El Mundo" journalist  Antonio Rubio published an article claiming that Spanish prosecutors were allegedly investigating a high-profile corruption case involving the Kokorevs, a married couple living in Spain.

Antonio Rubio was accusing Vladimir Kokorev and his family of nothing short of laundering $26.4 million through his shipping company "Kalunga" on behalf of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang.

By the way, despite the fact that Vladimir Kokorev-owned Panamian shipbuilding and repair company had more than 300 employees from Russia and the former USSR, the Spanish journalist claimed Kalunga was "a phantom firm belonging to president Obiang".

The media frenzy quickly spread to Russia - as a result the Kokorevs spent nearly 3 years in court in a bid to protect their honor and dignity. They filed 5 lawsuits against various media, and have so far won all these cases.

Another Spanish journalist Jose Maria Irujo writing for the major Spanish newspaper El Pais spares no effort in a bid to expose Vladimir Kokorev.

Every year he thoroughly and almost word-for-word re-publishes in his newspaper the story about Kokorev once spun by Antonio Rubio. It's a rather curious fact of co-operation between the newspapers that are normally rivals.

There's something strange about this though. Every year two major national newspapers of a European state, governed by the rule of law, are writing about some court number 5 in Las-Palmas allegedly hearing the Kokorevs case, and Spanish relevant authorities are turning a blind eye to this.

Instead of putting the "Russian criminal" in prison or at least summon him for interrogation, they scrupulously issue him and his relatives certificates of no criminal record by Spain.

Vladimir Kokorev translates thoroughly these certificates into Russian, notarizes them and presents them in court.

And again we could stop here and marvel at the manic persistence with which Spanish press is hounding Kokorev, who managed to defend his honor in court again, and finally put the matter to rest, if it weren't for another publication in the "New-York Times" on February 29, 2012.

Once upon a time in America

You can read the full version by clicking here.

Summing up what the article is about, it quotes ex-senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerry who led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the 9/11attacks.

They issued sworn statements that the Committee has ample evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia, has played a certain role in the terror attacks. However, for some reason they have revealed this only 10 years after the attack, in February 2012.

Why?

It's widely believed that Patriot Act (federal law adopted in 2001, which increased government surveillance powers) is first and foremost important for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

What sort of sums of money are we talking about here, if the devastating attacks of 9/11 cost only a hundred thousand dollars to execute?

Terror attacks in Madrid and London were significantly less expensive and, according to the results of the investigation, got funding through street crime, pick pocketing and retail drug trade.

Was it worth introducing a global financial monitoring system, that undermines the very basis of capitalism, because what kind of capitalism can we talk about without confidentiality of commercial and transactions or banking secrecy?

The U.S. lawmakers themselves have been often saying they have taken the risk not so much to keep track of suspicious transactions worth not more than several thousand dollars, but identify those who benefit from terrorism.

Those who adopted the Patriot Act were aware that some traders who had short positions earned themselves billions of dollars, closing them right before the 9/11 attacks. All they needed was inside information. And they didn't necessarily need to be hiding in the mountains at Tora Bora with Osama bin Laden to get it. They didn't even need a telephone connection with his cave.

Princes and princesses

The mechanism of trading on inside information has long been known. People who have some knowledge or are capable of getting information that is unobtainable by ordinary mortals are calling themselves competent investors and are setting up investment funds, managed by just as qualified brokers.

The Financial system has already seen the examples of global manipulation. Take as an example the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (ВССI) scandal.

In its most primitive expression the scandal became the basis for the movie "The International" starring Clive Owen as an Interpol agent who travels the world over chasing financial mafia from Luxemburg.

In real life one of BCCI directors was Sheikh Kamal Adham, who headed Saudi Arabia's intelligence service for quite a while, and one of the VIP clients of the bank was a major financial gambler George Soros who used Sheikh Kamal to execute financial manipulations including those related to the devaluation of the pound sterling.

When the BCCI scandal erupted, Soros managed to escape serious trouble with U.S. law owing to BCCI's close ties to CIA. The U.S. intelligence agencies used BCCI as a channel for covert funds to supply weapons to Afghan Mujahideen, including Ben Laden, who co-operated with Americans at the time and supervised these shipments.

The Nicaraguan Contras were supplied with weapons using funds received selling some spare parts to Iran for their US made weapons systems, inherited by ayatollahs from the regime of the shah. Journalists later dubbed it the Iran-Contra scandal.    

So George Soros was well aware of CIA operations in Afghanistan involving Ben Laden and covert supplies to Iran and Nicaragua

Soros had close ties with Bandar bin Sultan who was Saudi ambassador in Washington for more than a quarter of a century (1983-2005).

His wife, Princess Haifa bint Faisal, was the object of study of intelligence, who believed that using someone called Omar al-Bayoumi (who was allegedly a resident of Saudi clandestine intelligence network in the U.S.) she was involved in opening bank accounts with Riggs bank used to buy tickets for the hijackers of 9/11 flights.

So in 2002 it became clear that Riggs bank had some covert accounts. But the commission's report which mentioned these accounts was shamefully hushed up, however a report by the subcommittee in 2004 received the most high-profile media attention.

Though there was no mention of the multibillion-dollar transfers to accounts of Saudi nationals. All the issues related to the Saudis were for some reason thoroughly hidden from the media focus which was on everybody now but the Saudis.

These companies are regularly fed with rumors and speculation coming from some non-governmental organizations. Many of these organizations, strange as it may seem, are apparently financed by the same financial gamblers, suspected that they were somehow remarkably aware of the terrorists' plans.

At the same time, a few million dollars saved with the bank for a rainy day by the late Chilean dictator Pinochet, and 700 million dollars, "discovered" on the accounts belonging to the Treasury of Equatorial Guinea became a subject of a broad discussion.

Guinean line

Anyway, what is so much special about this "discovery"? For several years U.S. oil companies have been transferring to the official account of the Government of Equatorial Guinea in the United States all the funds they had to transfer by law and by contract. At that time there were no commercial banks in Equatorial Guinea. Before Americans opened up operations in the country and started to pay for Equatoguinean oil, it wasn't really a country where someone would want to open a bank.

It's true that the company owned by Vladimir Kokorev had been receiving money from the accounts of the Equatoguinean Treasury with Riggs bank - as regulated by the contract with the government of Equatorial Guinea.

"Kalunga"  is a shipping company, and it was solely involved in repair, maintenance  and construction of ships, and not terrorism.

However, the fact that Kokorev didn't have any problems with law, both in the U.S. and in Spain, was no matter any longer. The situation around Riggs and some of its clients should have been dramatized at all costs using this smokescreen tactics.

Should we really speak of Kokorev, when there's an attempt to shuffle off the blame onto a whole country, though a small one.

If it weren't for the WikiLeaks, we would have never learned about the doubts by Anthony Smith who was the former charge d'affaires of the United States in Equatorial Guinea. In his telegrams to Washington the U.S. diplomat was saying that everything is more or less fine here. And there was nothing of the kind we read in the apocalyptic reports of non-governmental organizations funded by George Soros.

The President Obiang, according to Smith, wasn't at all an evil person and he considered him to be the only person who was able to do something sensible, so that the country remained in the spotlight of American interest. Smith just couldn't stop wondering why harsh criticism of the country was not becoming weaker, but is getting stronger as the country moves towards democracy.

The diplomat then speculates that the reason for the campaign aimed at creating a negative image of Equatorial Guinea is probably nothing but some kind of nostalgia for Guinea's colonial past by some Spaniards (in the past Equatorial Guinea used to be the only Spanish colony in Africa).

Well, this version may look a bit naive: discrediting Equatorial Guinea was very pricy, and it's very unlikely the romantic admirers of Guinea's colonial past had the necessary finances.

There would be more logic to consider it a very specific operation aimed at diverting U.S. public attention off some financiers' actions which do not always abide by the rule of law and justified in terms of morals.

The Mistake by Iron Mark

Yet much remains unclear about the failed 2004 coup in Equatorial Guinea. For example, the role in the plot of Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is unclear. He was accused of helping to finance the coup attempt. But according to Thatcher's then business partners his own financial standing ahead of the coup left much to be desired. No way could he have offered financial assistance to the plotters.

"He was rumored to have failed to pay for the cargo shipped to southern Sudan" - reported a source close to the firearms commerce.

That was the business Mark Thatcher was involved in. And his relationship with the US authorities had cooled long time before Americans included him in the black list of accomplices to terror because of his involvement in the coup in Equatorial Guinea.

Long before this Thatcher showed some incompetence in making arms deals with Iran. Moreover, thanks to him Teheran gained access to some top secret developments. Americans were of course aware of it and -it goes without saying - were very disappointed. Very unexpectedly as if by magic his financial position has strengthened in the run-up to the coup in Equatorial Guinea.

But this wasn't Mark Thatcher's money, which means he borrowed it from someone. And this mysterious and generous someone is likely to be behind the media campaign against Vladimir Kokorev in Spain - how else would you explain so many revelations which emerged without any actual investigation or breaking law.

So who was behind the attempted coup in a tiny African country? Was it the U.S. whose oil companies operate in Equatorial Guinea? No, of course not. Was it Spain that doesn't operate in the country, but is probably offended by the fact that others do? This is also hardly likely. Why should Spain try to ruin its relations with the U.S.?

But to those who laid down a smoke screen in order to deflect US taxpayers' attention away from the results of the investigation into illegal money transactions through Saudi Arabian accounts held by Riggs Bank, a coup in Equatorial Guinea, if successful, would have been a real catch.

If president Obiang had been overthrown, or even killed in the unrest masterminded by Mark Thatcher and his co-conspirators, he could have been made a scapegoat.

The coup failed, but moral pressure remains strong.

Non-governmental organizations, that get funds from unknown sources and desperately call for transparency, demand from African leaders ethics and morals - something Wall Street itself fails to comply with.

They throw mud at the country, and a couple of Spanish journalists continue to hound Vladimir Kokorev and his family under the false pretence of public interest in preventing crime.

This would have been very funny if it hadn't been so tragic for hundreds of people.

And it's not so much about the situation around Kokorev (experience shows he is able to stand up for himself) but it's more about other Russian sailors employed by "Kalunga" who lost their jobs.

All jokes aside, creators of "smokescreen" scenarios are consciously or subconsciously do nothing but cover up corrupt officials and terrorists.

Another common "catch-me-if-you-can" tactic for a criminal is to throw off the wrong scent by initiating prosecution against himself.

Bakhtiyar Akhmedkhanov