KI Daily Brief – June 15, 2015

The Mansion on the Heath

Ilham Aliyev’s family owns a 10,500-square-foot London mansion worth more than US$ 25 million. The house was purchased in 1998 when Aliyev was a vice-president of Azerbaijan’s State Owned Oil Company (SOCAR). It’s unknown how much the purchase price was, or how much he was getting paid back then. Land Registry records for the Hampstead Lane house, dubbed the “Mansion on the Heath” by its architects, show that it is owned by Beckforth Services Limited, a company in turn owned by the Aliyevs and registered in the Isle of Man, an offshore tax haven.

Extradition Attempt is Political Ploy, Says Russian Tycoon
Financial Times

Sergei Pugachev, the exiled Russian tycoon once nicknamed the “Kremlin’s banker” has said a Russian attempt to extradite him from Britain is politically motivated and he fears being sent back to his homeland. Mr. Pugachev, who fled Russia in 2011, has been accused by a Russian court of causing the bankruptcy of Mezhprombank, which he co-founded. The industrialist says the bankruptcy was caused by the Russian state expropriating billions of dollars of assets from him, including shipyards, and construction and energy projects, after he fell out with the Kremlin, where he was once a trusted insider.

PetroChina Former Vice-Chairman Charged With Bribery

Liao Yongyuan was the company’s second-highest ranking official and is alleged to have taken “enormous” bribes and abused his position to advance others. The former chairman of both companies, Jiang Jiemin, and other executives have also faced prosecution since 2013. Mr Liao has also been expelled from the Communist Party, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced.

Corruption, Not Russian Tanks, Greatest Threat to Ukraine
Ukraine Today 

Corruption threatens to derail Ukraine’s progress, American and Ukrainians officials agreed at the Atlantic Council’s Wrocław Global Forum in Wrocław, Poland on June 13, “There is no issue that is a greater threat to Ukraine’s long-term success today than institutionalized corruption,” said Geoffrey R. Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine. “It’s a bigger threat than Russian tanks.”

Proposed Chinese Security Laws Rattle U.S. and European Businesses
Washington Post

China’s growing emphasis on national security has rattled U.S. and European companies that fear their ability to do business here could be significantly compromised. The security clampdown reflects President Xi Jinping’s concerns that foreign forces are intent on overthrowing China’s Communist Party, propagating dangerous Western values such as democracy and free speech, and inspiring a popular uprising or “color revolution,” experts say.

Russian Officials React to U.S. Plans to Store Arms in the Baltics
Moscow Times

A senior Russian Defense Ministry official warned on Monday that Moscow would boost its forces on its Western flank should the United States store heavy arms in the Baltic states and eastern Europe. A U.S. official said over the weekend that Washington planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern Europe to reassure allies unnerved by Russia’s role in Ukraine and to deter aggression. The Russian official, General Yuri Yakubov, was quoted as saying any such move would be “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO” since the Cold War.

Ex-Official Accused of Graft Fears No Fair Trial in China – U.S. Lawyer

A lawyer representing a former senior Chinese official under investigation for corruption and now seeking asylum in the United States said his client is concerned she would not get a fair trial in China. Yang Xiuzhu, a former deputy mayor of Wenzhou in the booming eastern province of Zhejiang, has been in immigration detention petitioning for asylum since June 2014, Vlad Kuzmin, her attorney in New York, told Reuters on Friday.

Children of Wealthy Chinese Taught How to Behave
China Daily

More than 70 offspring of billionaires in East China’s Fujian province have been educated at a training session to raise their awareness of social responsibility and patriotism, Beijing Youth Daily reported. You said the session had strict discipline – those arriving late or leaving early were fined 1,000 yuan (around $160). “Although it is not a large sum for the wealthy, the rule aims to build a sense of responsibility.” The training came after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a more positive image of the young rich.

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