Sergei Aleksashenko, an economist and former Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation, published on Tuesday an article entitled: “Money has no smell (just yet)” regarding the recent sale of a 19.5 percent stake in state-controlled oil giant Rosneft.
The expert unveiled intriguing details about the deal, which the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, is cunningly trying to make look successful.
Mr. Aleksashenko wrote:
“Money came from other sources, announced the Finance Minister of Russia, Siluanov, last week, speaking about the sale of a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft. It seems that he told the truth, because, judging by everything, the deal on the sale of Rosneft shares, as it was described, is not completed yet. This was reflected in the recent article published by Bloomberg on this subject:
Putin has tried to prove that the sanctions are all but dead by selling off a stake in state-owned oil behemoth Rosneft to a consortium of U.S. ally Qatar and Swiss-based commodity trader Glencore, funded by Italian bank Intesa. But the bank appears to be having some last-minute doubts about jumping into this politically fraught deal, and Russia is unlikely to receive the foreign investors' money this year. The deal looked great for Putin, but it could fail in 2017”.
Sergei Aleksashenko noted that Bloomberg was different from Russian news agencies, as well as from a spokesman for Rosneft, Mikhail Leontyev, and Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, in that it always checked information in terms of its truthfulness.
“That is why the words that, at the last minute, Intesa had doubts over whether to get involved in the deal, which is heavily politically tainted, and that Russia will receive foreign investor’s money this year should be perceived along with press releases published earlier by Glencore and Intesa, which busted the beautiful story presented by the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin”.
“On the one hand, some will say, it does not make much of a difference for the Finance Ministry, from where the money comes. Money has no smell. However, on the other hand, others will say, the Finance Minister bears personal responsibility for reliability of reporting on budget implementation and for the received incomes being legal and adequately reflected in budget lines”.
“The last question, which Vladimir Putin answered at his press conference, purely accidental, regarded money of Rosneftegaz. From the President’s answer we learned two crucial pieces of news: 1). that the government can not prioritize, 2). that money of Rosneftegaz is the President’s personal reserve, which he exploits in disregard of all norms of the Russian law and bypassing budgetary process. The deal on the sale of Rosneft’s shares, that was announced but have not been completed yet, adds up one more nuance: transparency of budget revenues disappeared in Russia and it is likely that a part of them are drawn up illegally”.
“Russian legislature (Chapter 49 of the Russian Federation Code of Criminal Procedure) states that the limitations period for investigating a criminal case might be removed in view of “newly discovered evidence,” about which we will inevitably become aware in the case of the sale of Rosneft’s shares. And it will be full soon, may be even before the expiration of the limitation period, since four days are left before the end of a budgetary year, but it seems that the announced buyers have not transferred the funds so far. However, the federal budget has already received them”.
“The Finance Minister believes that money has no smell. Let’s check it,” concluded Sergei Aleksashenko.