KI Daily Brief – March 31, 2015

Russian Company Chiefs Exempt From Public Income Declaration

The heads of major Russian companies co-owned by the state will not have to declare their income publicly. Remarks made by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman on March 31 mean that information about the incomes of state-connected company chiefs  who are widely believed to be very wealthy will be shielded from public view. The company heads include close allies of President Vladimir Putin such as Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

Nemtsov Allies Plan to Publish ‘Putin.War’ Report on Russian Soldiers in Ukraine
The Moscow Times

A report being prepared by supporters of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov claims that Moscow has started discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to Ukraine and then denying compensation to the families of men who were killed in order to cover up Russia’s involvement in the conflict. The report, which Nemtsov was working on before he was shot and killed in Moscow on Feb. 27, will be completed and published next month by his allies, the politician’s friend and associate Ilya Yashin wrote on his Facebook page Monday.

Deadline Delayed for Schlumberger, EDC Deal in Russia
Wall Street Journal

Russia’s largest onshore oil drilling firm Eurasia Co. Ltd. said Monday it would extend a final deadline on a proposal to sell a stake to oil-field services giant Schlumberger Ltd. for about $1.7 billion. Russian officials haven’t approved the deal and are concerned that EDC’s activities could be affected if western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine are extended further. Russia’s federal antimonopoly service and the commission on foreign investment are reviewing the deal.

As China Expands Its Navy, the U.S. Grows Wary
Wall Street Journal

Admiral Wu now wants deeper exchanges, including help developing aircraft carrier operations and improving education for his naval officers. He says such exchanges would allow China to better work alongside the U.S. to maintain global security, according to people who have spoken with him. Some in the Pentagon and Congress, however, worry Adm. Wu’s real mission is absorbing American know-how to advance territorial gains and boost China’s ability to thwart U.S. intervention. He is also a so-called princeling, as offspring of senior Communist Party figures are known, and said by defense officials to have strong backing from President Xi—another princeling—who has put sea power at the core of his vision for China.

Former Polish Anti-Corruption Boss Jailed for Abuse of Power
Krakow Post

The deputy leader of Poland’s opposition party, and former head of the Anti Corruption Bureau, has been convicted of abuse of power and sentenced to three years in jail following an undercover operation that saw officers from his department pay bribes in a sting designed to flush out corrupt officials dealing with planning permission for land use.

China’s Buy-Out of Corporate Europe, in Maps and Charts

The Chinese government has encouraged state-owned enterprises to buy international companies for years, to acquire technological know-how and grow as the domestic economy cools, and Europe’s moribund economy has created a fertile shopping ground. The euro’s recent drop means prices are even more attractive—in just the first three months of 2015, Chinese and Hong Kong companies spent more doing European deals than in any of the past 15 years. And one country stands out as the in terms of both the sheer number of takeovers and the total value: Britain.

China Baosteel Executive Under Investigation for Corruption

A top executive of China’s Baosteel Group, the parent of Baoshan Iron & Steel, is being investigated for “serious disciplinary violations”, China’s corruption watchdog said on Tuesday, as Beijing intensifies its war on deep-seated graft. The commission’s anti-graft efforts at state firms coincide with the imminent roll-out of ambitious new guidelines to overhaul China’s inefficient state sector.

Chinese Tycoon Denies Colluding With Disgraced Senior Spy Ma Jian
South China Morning Post

Financial news outlets Tencent, Caixin and Caijing last week alleged that Guo Wengui, controlling shareholder of Beijing Zenith Holdings and Beijing Pangu Investment, conspired with government officials – including former deputy spy chief Ma Jian who came under investigation for corruption in January – in his rise to riches. Speaking to the South China Morning Post on Monday, Guo rejected accusations that he went into hiding overseas from mainland graft-busters after Ma’s downfall. Rather, he said, he was in New York to treat a long-term leg injury and would soon return. Mainland media earlier reported that Guo allegedly plotted the fall of former Beijing vice-mayor Liu Zhihua after Liu refused to help him recover the development rights to the Pangu Plaza project next to the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing. The reports also said that Ma or his aide had a role in a 2006 sex-tape scandal that brought down Liu.

Internet Activists Blame China for Cyber-Attack That Brought Down GitHub
The Guardian

The attack started last Thursday and targeted two GitHub projects designed to combat censorship in China: GreatFire and CN-NYTimes, a Chinese language version of the New York Times. In a statement on the blog, an activist identified as “Charlie” wrote: “On March 17th 2015, our websites and partner websites came under a DDoS attack. We had never been subjected to an attack of this magnitude before. This attack was unusual in nature as we discovered that the Chinese authorities were steering millions of unsuspecting internet users worldwide to launch the attack. We believe this is a major cybersecurity and economic threat for the people of China.”

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