“Victor Pinchuk, the Ukrainian oligarch who took sides for the European Union (EU) against Russia, is running out of money, company officials admitted last week in a confidential briefing.
Pinchuk has been forced to provide his company with $20 million in emergency cash to stave off insolvency, but bondholders and banks owed more than $1 billion have not been paid. Although company officials admit that Interpipe, their pipemaking business in Dniepropetrovsk, has not been attacked directly by the fighting in Donbass, they say they are now cut off from supplies of scrap steel for smelters, electricity, and coal from Lugansk and Donetsk. As a result, Pinchuk is now planning to lay off at least 3,000 workers – one-fifth of his Dniepropetrovsk workforce. A brewing worker rebellion and bankruptcy action by unpaid bondholders are part of what one Interipe executive calls Pinchuk’s “fundamental risk”.
The timing of the disclosures could not be worse for Pinchuk, or for Dniepropetrovsk — until now the bastion of Igor Kolomoisky, Pinchuk’s commercial rival and governor of the region. Pinchuk was the target in the US last week as US newspapers opened investigations into the flow of money Pinchuk has directed to the Clinton Foundation, and to lobbying for commercial and political favours from Hillary Clinton and State Department officials directing the Kiev administration.
(…) In the US Pinchuk has employed a lobbyist named Douglas Schoen (below) since 2011 at $40,000 per month. The cash comes from both his Pinchuk Foundation, based in Kiev, and EastOne, his asset holding operating in London, Kiev, and Cyprus. Schoen, who is based in New York, is a pollster for the Democratic Party in the US and for US Government agencies abroad. He is also a booster for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign; that’s what the Rupert Murdoch media call a “political analyst”.
Schoen’s latest filing for Pinchuk with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit of the US Department of Justice reveals that during the last six months of 2014, Schoen’s monthly stipend remained undiminished at $40,000.
However, compared to the FARA filings in 2011 and 2012, Schoen now claims his efforts are “philanthropic work”, with “no payments attributable to lobbying work this period”. To the question: “During this 6 month reporting period, did you prepare, disseminate or cause to be disseminated any informational materials?” Schoen ticked the No box.
In fact, the promotional materials were written or delivered at lectures and in the press by Steven Pifer, a former US ambassador to Ukraine (below, left), and Anders Aslund (right), a propaganda specialist. Their stipends Pinchuk pays at the Washington think-tanks, Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). In acknowledgement, Pinchuk is listed as a member of the “international advisory council” at Brookings, and a board director at PIIE. For more details, read this.
When Schoen last admitted to the Justice Department that he was lobbying on Pinchuk’s tab, he revealed that he was focusing on Hillary Clinton and State Department officials, Melanne Verveer and Tom Melia. Schoen reported to the Justice Department that he had asked Clinton to meet and endorse Areny Yatseniuk, now the Ukrainian prime minister, and to back other schemes for “the democratization and free and fair elections in the Ukraine. “
Melia is deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, responsible for Ukraine at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour. Both Melia (left) and his superior, Victoria Nuland (right), were active in preparing Yatseniuk’s takeover of power in Kiev on February 22, 2014. Pinchuk hosted the last outing together of Aslund, Pifer, Melia and Schoen at the Kiev session of the Yalta European Strategy (YES), another Pinchuk philanthropy, in Kiev last September.
What the distinction between lobbying and philanthropy means is that Pifer and Aslund do the lobbying for Pinchuk, and he puts money in their pockets through the think-tanks. Then Schoen reports to the Justice Department that he is receiving $40,000 per month from Pinchuk for doing nothing reportable at all.
Last week, when three Washington Post reporters were investigating money Pinchuk had given the Clinton Foundation, they missed the $6 million difference between what Pinchuk said he had given, and the smaller number the Clinton Foundation said it had received. The Post investigation also failed to detect that the origin of the Pinchuk funds may have been a Russian insurance company fraud. Read more.
The Post reporters, who didn’t open the FARA files of lobbyist and philanthropist Schoen, reported that Interpipe had “has faced formal complaints in the United States for unfair trade practices. Spokesmen for the Clintons and Pinchuk waved away any suggestion of a conflict between the donor’s regulatory concerns and the charitable contributions to the foundation. ‘No assistance with any business issues has now or ever been sought from the Clinton Foundation or its principals,’ said Thomas Weihe (right), a spokesman for the Kiev-based Pinchuk Foundation. He said Pinchuk supported the Clinton effort because of the foundation’s record and the ‘unique capacity of its principals to promote the modernization of Ukraine.’”
(Read more: John Helmer, 2/20/2015) (Archive)
(Reposted in part, with permission)