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'I Am Not An Oligarch'

Reminded me of the infamous: "I am not a crook" exclamation by president Richard Nixon before his resignation.

Grapevine: In black and white | JPost Opinion - Oct. 2017 |

Journalists know of some of the people who read their material, but in general we are writing in a vacuum, and it sometimes comes as a surprise to get a reaction from a totally unexpected source. That happened last weekend, when an email from Drew Born, who is the Brunswick Group's account director for Len Blavatnik's global Access Industries industrial group sought a correction to an item that had appeared in a recent Grapevine column. The Brunswick Group is a global advisory firm specializing in business critical issues. Born's email requested a correction, because Blavatnik had been referred to as an oligarch. According to Born, "the term 'oligarch' as applied to Mr. Blavatnik is inaccurate. The term implies that an individual is both very rich and also one of a small group of people who exercises a great deal of political influence over a country's ruling circle. Mr. Blavatnik has been an American citizen since 1984, after being thrown out of Russia in 1978 [??] as a refusenik along with his family. He has had no contact with President Putin since 2000 - 17 years ago - and plays no role in Russian politics.

"Secondly, you point out in your piece that he is now an American citizen, but it's also worth noting that holds British citizenship as well.

"Given the above points, we request that your article reflect the fact that Mr. Blavatnik is not an oligarch, despite the contention of the signatories to the letter you reference. Perhaps you can make this distinction by noting that Mr. Blavatnik has been `accused of' or 'labeled as' an oligarch by detractors."

It is to be hoped that both Blavatnik and Born will be satisfied that their point has been made. Nevzlin never complains about being called an "oligarch."

A Man Of 3 Worlds: The Russian-American Billionaire Giving Millions To US and UK Universities | Forbes |

Chemical Giant LyondellBasell Mulls Bankruptcy | WSJ - Dec. 2008 |

Mr. Blavatnik, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union in 1978 and became a U.S. citizen in 1984, largely made his fortune in his native land. He made money in real estate in the U.S., then returned to Russia in the early 1990s, joining a new class of entrepreneurs. Navigating the economic transformation of the country, they snapped up assets privatized by the state on the cheap.

Mr. Blavatnik became a major holder in the profitable aluminum business. He owned a chunk of Sual, an aluminum company that recently merged with two other companies to form United Co. Rusal, one of the largest producers of the metal in the world. He also invested in TNK, a big oil company cobbled together by him and two other tycoons. In 2003, they sold half of it to BPPLC in an $8 billion deal.

Mr. Blavatnik moved to London several years ago and works from an elegant office on Kensington Park Row, a favorite location for Russian billionaires. Access said he wasn't available for comment.

Skadden bankruptcy lawyer Jay Goffman said, "Access Industries has been fully supportive of the company during this difficult period and will continue doing everything we reasonably can to support it."

Mr. Blavatnik bought Basell, a Dutch joint-venture between German chemicals-maker BASF AG and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, for €4.4 billion, or $6.06 billion, in 2005, the largest leveraged-buyout deal in the chemical industry at that time.

Basell to buy Lyondell for almost $13 billion | Reuters - July 2007 |

How One Billionaire's Bet On LyondellBasell Turned Into The Greatest Deal In Wall St. History | Forbes |
Judge Dismisses LyondellBasell Creditors Clawback Lawsuit | US Bankruptcy Court - Sept. 2017 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 29th, 2018 at 10:19:54 PM EST

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