Recent news on bond yields and credit ratings continues to tear at the very fabric of the euro project. Italy was forced to offer record interest rates in its latest treasury issue, making prime minister Mario Monti’s task of reforming the ailing economy just a little harder. Despite a $78 billion rescue package from other Eurozone member states and the IMF, Portugal had its credit rating cut to junk status by Fitch and will have to reverse the market view of its prospects before it seeks more commercial lending in two years’ time. Continue reading
Neither my lawyers nor I have been told that an international arrest warrant has been issued against me in Russia. If an international arrest warrant has been issued now, eight months after I was removed from the Bank of Moscow, it is not because of the urgency of that investigation, in respect of which I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. It is hardly a coincidence that this step should reportedly be taken immediately after my public statement that the takeover of Bank of Moscow was politically motivated and who was involved in achieving that.
A highly disappointing incident occurred the other day as President Medvedev (the guy who claimed that fighting corruption was high on his priorities list) said that he was opposed to controlling officials’ expenses.
Here is the enthusiastic report to that effect on the United Russia site:
Officials’ Expense-Reporting May Lead to Another Corruption System, Believes Medvedev
However the President made a point of saying that, in his opinion, expense-reporting “may turn, in our circumstances, either into a way of settling scores or into a system that will inherently provoke corruption, something like share with us or we will persecute you all your life for you excessive expenses». Continue reading
Intelligent investment is always a case of looking at the obvious and then considering what else you may have missed. Yet in the panic of the current financial climate, the obvious and the overlooked may be the same thing. The received wisdom is that economic fragility in North America, Europe and Japan is currently being counterbalanced by reduced but still buoyant growth in India, China and some other Asian emerging markets. Yet the most obvious omission in this vision is Africa. Annual economic growth on the continent has averaged above 5% over the past decade. At the same time, its total population increased from 500 million in 1982 to 1 billion in 2009 and the United Nations forecasts that it will reach 2 billion soon after 2050, representing about half of global population growth over that period. Continue reading
Andrey Borodin, former president of the Bank of Moscow, said in an interview with Vedomosti that businessman Igor Yusufov assured him that he was acting under the instructions of President Dmitry Medvedev during talks over buying shares in the bank.
“Yusufov told me directly that he was acting on the behalf of and under the instructions of President Dmitry Medvedev, who made a decision regarding the government gaining control over the Bank of Moscow,” Borodin told Vedomosti. At the time, Yusufov was the president’s special envoy for energy cooperation, Borodin said, adding that his acquaintances confirmed that Yusufov was among the president’s confidants. Continue reading