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RA in the National Post

Today Diane Francis of Canada’s National Post has a front page profile feature of Robert Amsterdam, as well as a related blog post. If this is your first time visiting this blog as a result, welcome, and please check out the links along the left-hand side and come back frequently throughout the day for new material. Shameless self-promotion is now finished for the day. From The National Post: robertamsterdam082508.jpg

“My advice to businesses is that if you are there or want to be, you have to plan on expropriation, so you must structure a deal so that you have very little to lose. And if expropriation doesn’t happen, you’re happy. You cannot gamble because it’s clear they [the Kremlin and their business friends] will change the deal on you the minute it interests them,” he said. “The problem is that Canadians in energy, mining or automotive sectors, which are considered strategic by the Kremlin, must be aware of the fact Igor Sechin, one of the top three or four people in Russia, has ordered that multinationals be subject to very strict tax enforcement,” Amsterdam said. This threat hangs over the heads of all businesses, including non-strategic sectors, he added. Instead of avoiding Russia, many corporations are still enmeshed and are naively doing so thinking that moral suasion by their home governments can protect them. “BP invests in Russia. Then step two, because BP knows there’s no rule of law in Russia, lobbies the British government to go easy on Russia which is how BP thinks it can increase its political leverage in the Kremlin. Then BP invests more in Russia and instead of lobbying Russia to improve governance it lobbies its own government at home to be soft on Russia,” he said. “BP is the pillar of complicity, investing US$1-billion in the stolen assets of [Russia’s] Rosneft and now look at what it has gotten then in Russia,” he said.