Tchenguiz Brothers Arrested in London in Probe of Kaupthing
March 09, 2011, 11:10 AM EST
By Lindsay Fortado and Omar Valdimarsson
March 9 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. real estate investors Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz were among nine men arrested as part of a fraud investigation by authorities in the U.K. and Iceland into the collapse of Kaupthing Bank hf.
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office and police in Britain and Iceland searched homes and businesses in London and Reykjavik, prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement. Robert Tchenguiz, 50, and Vincent Tchenguiz, 54, said in a statement they were among those arrested in London. Two of the nine men were arrested in Reykjavik and two homes were searched there, the SFO said.
“We were arrested earlier this morning and are being questioned with regard to matters relating to our relationship with Kaupthing,” the brothers said in an e-mailed statement. “Both of us are cooperating fully with the investigation and are confident that, once concluded, we will be cleared.”
Gudni Niels Adalsteinsson, Kaupthing’s former treasurer and a former employee of the U.K. Financial Services Authority, was also among those arrested, according to two people familiar with the case who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak. Sigurdur Einarsson, the former chairman of Kaupthing was among those arrested, Iceland’s Morgunbladid newspaper reported.
The SFO is investigating Kaupthing’s “decision-making processes, which appear to have allowed substantial value to be extracted from the bank in the weeks and days prior to its collapse,” the agency said in December 2009 when it opened an investigation into possible fraud at the lender. Kaupthing was the last of Iceland’s three biggest banks to collapse in 2008. moreUnfortunately, the banksters have been getting away with a LOT. And one of the great crimes they pulled off was the looting of Russia with the help of some of the more famous academics at Harvard. And none of them went to jail.
As Larry Summers Knows, Stonewalling Can Work
How Harvard Deep-Sixed Its Russian Scandal
By DAVID WARSH March 4 - 6, 2011
I’m always interested to see a new book on the transition of the Russian economy from central planning to the oil-based siloviki-dominated oligarchy of today. No Precedent, No Plan, by Martin Gilman, stakes a claim to being the definitive word on some of those events. The impact of the crash of August 1998 needs to be appreciated in order to understand contemporary Russia, he says. The English edition is a slimmed-down version of a longer Russian book.
Gilman should know. He was named a senior member of the International Monetary Fund’s Russia team in 1993, just after the Clinton administration took office. He moved to Moscow in November 1996 and remained until 2002. Along the way he married a prominent Russian political columnist, Tatiana Malkina, gaining thereby unusual access to the Russian government at its highest levels, and, as well, “a special insight into the way that Russians really see their world.”
Today he is a professor at Moscow’s State University’s Higher School of Economics. And it is from this vantage point that Gillman seeks to set straight various “dangerous stereotypes” and to put to rest a lingering “suspicion of corruption that accompanied the discussion of Russian financial matters” in the second half of the 1990s.
No Precedent, No Plan ascribes the various scandals of 1999 to fabrications designed to discredit opponents, a familiar enough tactic in Russian political campaigns. So it is strange that the book contains no mention of the well-documented Moscow scandal that set the scene for various perceptions that followed the IMF-supervised restructuring of Russia’s external debt in August 1998.
It was in 1997 that the US Agency for International Development fired the Harvard University team that it had assigned four years before to advise the government of Boris Yeltsin. Evidence had surfaced that the team leader, Harvard professor Andrei Shleifer, his wife, his deputy and the deputy’s girlfriend, had, in the office of their Russians advisees, muscled aside legitimate firms in order to obtain for themselves the first license to distribute mutual fund shares in a vast impending privatization.
Shleifer’s good friend and mentor, Harvard economist Lawrence Summers, who as a member of the department had been involved in assembling the team in the first place, remained at the Treasury Department, where, as deputy secretary, he oversaw the US response to the Russian crisis in 1998. In 1999 he became Treasury Secretary himself, replacing Robert Rubin. In 2000, the US government sued Harvard and the others for fraud and, after the matter was extensively litigated, recovered its fee. Summers, meanwhile, was named Harvard’s president and, not long after, recruited Rubin to Harvard’s seven-member governing Corporation. Five years later, Summers’ handling of the Russia project over the years was deemed by The New York Times to have been a significant factor in his dismissal.
When Summers returned to Washington in 2009 as chief economic adviser to President Barack Obama, Shleifer’s wife, hedge fund operator Nancy Zimmerman, was noted by the Times to be among his inner circle of informal advisers, along with Laurence Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the large money management firm, and H. Rodgin Cohen, chairman of the Sullivan and Cromwell law firm, and several others. moreBut who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the USA will roar back to life. I am not as optimistic a M. Moore in this clip but with spring coming, I am not ruling out anything either.