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Translation: Robert Amsterdam Interview in Corriere della Sera on Italian Participation in Yukos Auctions

Per our earlier press statement, please see the attached translation of an interview with Robert Amsterdam in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. The original version can be found here. Corriere della Sera April 1, 2007 THE INTERVIEW: Khodorkovsky’s lawyer against Eni: “Complicit in the carve up of Yukos” By Danilo Taino The company • PETROLEUM The oil company Yukos, founded by Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was one of the world giants of the petroleum industry, with 2% of the global production of crude oil. • TAXES In 2003, Yukos was accused of tax evasion to the tune of 33 billion dollars and gradually went into liquidation. • SIBERIA Khodorkovsky, the owner of the company and President Vladimir Putin’s great rival, was condemned to nine years’ imprisonment and sent to prison in Siberia. MILAN – Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyer is furious with Eni and with the Italian government that supports it. “They’ve surrendered to Russia,” he says in this interview. Robert Amsterdam – the Canadian lawyer employed by the founder of Yukos who is now in prison in Siberia – is watching the auctions that are being held in Moscow this week to sell off the last possessions of what used to be Russia’s number one petrol company, and he talks of scandal and of crimes committed by the Kremlin and by westerners who have chosen to follow the path of “humiliation”. Amsterdam has announced that next week he will be sending a letter to the European Commission in which he will accuse a number of western businesses – probably including Eni and Enel – of acting in violation of article 81 of the Treaty of Rome, which regulates competition. And that he will pursue legal action in the American courts and in the European Court of Justice, in political initiatives and in the US Congress, against anyone who buys property that belonged to Yukos, a company which he believes has been stolen from by the Russian state. “But what anyone who enters into this kind of agreement should be especially afraid of,” he says, “is that one day there will be a different government in the Kremlin that will call those responsible for this crime to account. Because when that call comes I won’t just be looking in Moscow, but in Rome, too.” The specific object of contention is an auction that will be held on 4th April, at which two Siberian establishments, Arcticgas and Urengoil, along with 20% of GazpromNeft, the oil company that used to belong to Roman Abramovic, now owner of Chelsea, will be sold off by the Russian state. These are possessions which, along with many others, were a part of Khodorkovsky’s Yukos, before it was accused of 33 billion dollars’ worth of tax evasion in 2003 and subsequently put into liquidation, and its owner (President Vladimir Putin’s rival) was put in prison six thousand miles from home. Both Eni and Enel have decided to participate in this auction, the value of which will be several billion euros, and they have formed a joint venture with a Russian partner, Esn, for the purpose: the Italian companies control 30% and 19% of the joint venture respectively, with the Russians holding the other 51%. Amsterdam maintains that being a party to the sharing out of the spoils of a crime – which was a crucial part of Putin’s strategy of centralising business and authoritarian politics in the Kremlin – is something that cannot be justified from any point of view; and that, furthermore, it’s dangerous. “I don’t know who’ll win the auction,” he claims, “Perhaps Eni (and its partners, ed.) will win, maybe to then sell something back to Gazprom who are not taking part directly for fear of legal action. But three things about Eni’s behaviour are clear: it’s taking part in an auction whose outcome is predetermined, as it is in all auctions of this kind in Moscow; it’s buying goods at a price that is lower than their value; and it’s buying stolen goods. What’s more, it’s surrendering to Russia and becoming the first victim of the new gas OPEC, formed by the agreement that Russia signed with Algeria a few months ago” to control the methane market. Last week, at another auction, BP turned up as well after its managing director Lord Browne had met with Vladimir Putin. But during the auction itself BP withdrew straight away and left the field to Rosneft, the Russian state petroleum company, which bought the shares at auction for 500 million dollars less than their market price. The suspicion is that BP only took part in order to give the auction a formal legitimacy (there have to be at least two contestants for it to be valid), in exchange for something else. Indeed, BP had been threatened by the Moscow government with losing its exploitation rights for the large site at Kovykta: perhaps it was hoping to ingratiate itself with the Kremlin. “The BP scandal is an embarrassing one,” says Amsterdam. It’s a kind of ‘reputation laundering’ by the Kremlin “for which certain westerners offer their services.” In the United States, John Chiang, the State Controller of California, has been advising Calpers, the very rich and powerful pension fund, to reassess its investments in BP and Chevron (who it seems have also participated in one of the Yukos auctions) because this involvement in Russian affairs carries very high risks. “I can assure that they’ll do the same with Eni if it wins the auction,” says Amsterdam. “And,” he asks, “why have Romano Prodi and the Italian government decided to give in to Putin and to invest in the Kremlin? That’s not how you ensure your energy supplies – you don’t practise leadership by humiliating yourself.” Highlights “On 4th April, companies that have been stolen are being put up for auction at prices below their value.” “Why has the Italian government decided to give in to Putin?” Photo IN PRISON Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ex-president of the petroleum giant Yukos