Out of Court Settlement in Michael Cherney v Oleg Deripaska Court Case

From the Guardian:

The Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska dramatically settled his long-running feud with the billionaire businessman Michael Cherney on Thursday when Deripaska announced both parties had reached an out of court settlement.

…Cherney claimed that during this period under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s he was Deripaska’s business partner….

According to Deripaska, the arrangement between the two men was simply one of “krysha” — the Russian word for “roof” — with Deripaska paying Cherney and his mafia partners huge sums of money in return for physical and political protection. Cherney denied this and said that without his help Deripaska – now a close ally of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – would never have become a major player in the industry.

The case was to be heard in London; Cherney was due to give evidence via video-link from Israel, because “authorities in Spain had issued an EU-wide arrest warrant for him” over money-laundering allegations. The “In the City” column of the latest Private Eye magazine (1324) has an account of the case, focusing in particular on evidence submitted about both men’s association with a third individual, Sergei Popov.

Cherney has featured in the blog in the past: his “Michael Cherney Foundation” sponsors an organisation called the “Jerusalem Summit”, which promotes the view that Palestinians ought to be given “relocation grants” to leave “Israeli-administered areas” (inevitably described as “Judea Samaria and Gaza”). The Summit’s “Presidium” includes Baroness Caroline Cox, Daniel Pipes, and Sam Brownback; other associates include the apocalyptic Christian Zionist Mike Evans and UKIP’s Lord Pearson, to whom Cherney presented an award in 2007 at an event held in Paraliment. The Summit has also promoted a short book called Universal Zionism, which contains a number of bizarre (and somewhat distasteful) religious ideas.

Cherney has always maintained that he has been the victim of smears by his enemies – these include an investigative journalist, whom Cherney accuses of having faked a gun attack against himself.  It must have been tricky to keep one’s distance from organised crime during the ruthless “Aluminium Wars” which made Cherney and Deripaska both incredibly wealthy, but Cherney nevertheless managed to rise to the top without resorting to anything reprehensible. I discussed the full background here.

In the UK, media interest is primarily focused on Deripaska, who is “a long-time friend of Peter Mandelson and financier Nat Rothschild”, and who has also received George Osborne on his yacht. However, although Deripaska may be a “close ally” of Putin, a 2009 incident demonstrates that he’s kept on a short leash

Over 20,000 people in Pikalyovo have been sitting without jobs, paychecks, heating and hot water for several months… Thinking of business and not social welfare, employers simply sent their workers into unpaid furloughs or laid them off.

…In a particularly remarkable episode which was shown by all national TV channels, Putin called billionaire Oleg Deripaska – the owner of one of the factories [in the town] – over to his desk and literally made the latter sign an agreement that would allow the plant to restart operation.

“I can’t see your signature here,” Putin’s voice was full of irritation, a very rare scene on Russian television. “Come over to me. Here is the agreement,” Putin said, throwing a pen on top of the document.

Looking somber, the unshaven tycoon… stooped over the desk with a demeanor of a schoolboy and signed the agreement, forgetting to return Putin’s pen. “And will you give me the pen back as well?” Putin reminded Deripaska without a trace of politeness.

(Name variations: Michael Chernoy; Mikhail Chernoy; Mikhail Chernoi)

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