Coming from the people who brought you the Khodorkovsky show trial, the release of alleged gas mobster Semyon Mogilevich on bail, and campaign to return merchant of death Viktor Bout from his Thai jail cell to freedom (or a career in the Duma), now Vladimir Putin is heading up a crusade to crack down on corruption in the gas trade … in Poland!
Perhaps a not so subtle reminder that the Poles should stop complaining about WWII grievances before the lights get shut off…. Hard to believe that the open hearted article from Putin describing the Molotov-Ribbentrop protocol as “immoral” was only yesterday.
Gas goes via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which Putin said was meant to be 50/50 percent owned by Gazprom and Poland under an inter-governmental deal. Instead they own 48 percent each with the remaining 4 percent controlled by Gas Trading S.A.
“…Instead there is a private investor from the Polish side with four percent… I don’t want to accuse anyone but I think we should look at the potentially corrupt side of this decision from both (Russian and Polish) sides. Because it was impossible to do this without agreement from the Russian side,” Putin said.
A high-ranking Gas Trading official, speaking to Reuters oncondition of anonymity said the company had been a shareholderof EuRoPol Gaz, the Polish Yamal gas pipeline operator, since1993.
“The agreement that PM Putin is talking about was alsoreached in 1993 and Gas Trading’s participation was accepted byboth governments. I don’t see any reason why that shouldchange…” the company official said.
“As far as I know, Gas Trading’s participation was putforward as a proposition by the Russian side and theparticipation of three sides to this deal was viewed asnecessary at the onset of the project. Some change in theRussian stance on this subject has apparently taken place, but Idon’t see any reason for this.
“I don’t know about any corruption.”