Daily Mail Pulls Articles on Russian Oligarchs

Two Daily Mail articles appear to have gone missing, concerning links between two British politicians and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. I suspect strongly that the reason is nothing to do with the main story about the politicians (which is being widely reported), but rather because of some of the background material about Deripaska and his former associate/present opponent Mikhail Cherney.

The first article, with a headline best not repeated, has disappeared altogether, while links to the second – “Mandelson heads to Moscow to meet Russia’s business leaders” –  now re-direct to a similar article entitled “Top Tory Osborne admits he met Mandy’s Russian tycoon five times – but denies he asked for a dodgy donation”. I’ve seen bits of the first article reposted elsewhere, and it repeats serious – albeit old – claims about the period during which Cherney (or “Mikhail Chernoi”) and Deripaska worked together.

As is widely known, Cherney and Deripaska have been locked in a bitter feud for some time, with the Israel-based Cherney pursuing Deripaska through the London High Court. However, back in the 1990s the two men were allies, and they became preposterously rich in the “Aluminium Wars”. This was during a period in which ruthless gangsters were making fortunes, and by bad luck the two honest businessmen came into contact with some rather dubious characters. Also unfortunately, a journalist who had written pieces critical of Cherney and his brother was killed by persons unknown in 1997. Inevitably, this kind of thing has led to questions; Cherney now has some visa problems with the USA, and he has been the subject of many investigations, all of which have floundered (in one case, Israeli police investigator Moshe Mizrahi was forced to resign amid claims of a “witch-hunt” of wealthy Russian-Israelis). Cherney is a generous philanthropist, and among other causes he sponsors an organisation called the “Jerusalem Summit”. This outfir brings together brings neo-conservatives like Daniel Pipes and Baroness Cox with Christian Zionists such as Mike Evans and members of the Israeli right like Benyamin Netanyahu, and this is why he caught my attention. I have a fuller profile here.

It looks to me very likely that one or other of the two men made a complaint to the Mail, and it’s probably over old stuff which has long been in the public domain and reported in other newspapers. However, given that the Mail had a £4 million libel bill back in March, one can appreciate the paper’s caution.

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