In this article (unfortunately published in the Daily Mail) he talks about the growing reliance of the UK on Russian energy. However, the bits I have cut out the portions that should interest gooners the most:
Putin signed an agreement with Turkmenistan to expand a pipeline and massively increase the transit of Central Asian gas through Russia.
Key to this triumph has been Alisher Usmanov and his Gazprominvest Holdings. This subsidiary is the channel for massive slush funds. In November 2004, for example, a payment of £44million to Gulnara, the daughter of President Karimov of Uzbekistan, secured that country’s gas contracts for Gazprom from under the noses of the US.
In return for the cash, Putin instructed Karimov to kick out a US military base that dominated Central Asia, and Gazprom secured the strategic kingpin to dominate the Central Asian and Caucasus gas reserves.
Usmanov has become close to former German Chancellor Schröder through the Nordstream project. Analysts believe this has sparked a determined drive by the Schroeder’s political allies to persuade the EU to remove sanctions against Uzbekistan.
These sanctions were imposed following the Andijan massacre in which 700 pro-democracy demonstrators were killed by Karimov’s troops in May 2005. It also appears to explain a waning of German support for the rival Caucasus pipeline project.
I ask Kuprianov what precisely are the roles of Schroeder and Alisher Usmanov within Gazprom. Again, he is surprisingly candid.
‘Herr Schröder is chairman of Nordstream. His role is to use his influence with European governments to persuade them to support the Nordstream project and to remove political difficulties. Alisher Usmanov is not connected to Gazprom, but to a subsidiary, Gazprominvest Holdings. Mr Usmanov’s skills as a financier are well known. He devises vehicles for handling our most difficult and sensitive financial transactions.’
I had known from my own intelligence sources while British Ambassador in Uzbekistan that Usmanov was in charge of Gazprom bribery and slush funds. I had not expected Kuprianov to come so close to saying it straight out.
Usmanov is therefore a link between Putin and Karimov. Karimov has been 'president' of Uzbekistan since 1991, and in that time has been repeatedly criticised for human rights violations.
Usmanov is, it would seem, a supporter of a tyrant and has been extensively involved in bribery and slush funds.Thank you again David Dein. You have clearly been meticulous in choosing who to invest in our club.