The following press release was distributed via wire today. It can also be viewed online here and on other news websites.
ENI is the First Victim of Russia’s Gas OPEC, Says Khodorkovsky Attorney LONDON, April 2 – In an interview published this weekend in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, attorney for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Robert Amsterdam, strongly criticized the Italian energy firms ENI and Enel for their participation in the controversial auctions of Yukos assets in Russia. “The Italian government has surrendered to Putin,” Amsterdam said in the interview. “One day there will be a different government in the Kremlin that will prosecute those responsible for these crimes, and when that call comes, I will be looking not only at Moscow, but also at Rome.” Corriere della Sera quotes Amsterdam describing ENI as “the first victim of the gas OPEC,” arguing that following Gazprom’s signing of a agreement with Algeria’s state-operated gas exporter Sonatrach last August (Italy receives 69% of its gas from Russia and Algeria), that ENI was strong-armed by Russia into helping make the Yukos affair appear legal. In the article Amsterdam compares the Italian participation in these auctions to the “embarrassing scandal” of BP’s decision to bid in a Yukos auction, saying that “it is a form of reputation laundering that some Western companies make themselves available for.” A full translation of the Corriere della Sera interview with Robert Amsterdam will be made available this week on his blog, www.robertamsterdam.com. Robert Amsterdam is the founding partner of Amsterdam & Peroff, and represents the former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This statement represents his personal views. ###