29 September 2007

Tom Wise sticking the boot into Usmanov - the transcript

A few days ago I (and many others) posted a link to an audio clip of MEP Tom Wise laying into Usmanov in a European Parlliament debate on a common energy policy. Parliamentary privilege meant that he could have accused Usmanov of performing any sexual deviance or being the murderer of Cock Robin with impunity.

The European Parliament website has a transcript of the debate here (Thanks to Bloggerheads: the Alisher Usmanov Affair for the link). To save you a search here is what Mr Wise said:

Thomas Wise (IND/DEM). – Madam President, when the EU talks of a common foreign policy on energy, you need to be very aware of exactly who you propose to do business with. President Putin is on record as saying ‘The Commission should be under no illusions. If it wants to buy Russian gas, it has to deal with the Russian state.’

Gazprom is not a private company. It is a state-controlled tool of Russian foreign policy. It is, moreover, in the hands of President Putin’s political henchmen and, allegedly, organised crime. Take, for example, Alisher Usmanov. This gentleman, the son of a Communist apparatchik, is Chairman of Gazprom Invest Holdings, the group that handles Gazprom’s business activities outside Russia. He is the man we are doing business with. He is the man who cuts off gas supplies if client states dare to question Gazprom’s demands. Allegedly a gangster and racketeer, he served a six-year jail sentence in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, his eventual pardon coming at the behest of Uzbek mafia chief and heroin overlord Gafur Rakhimov, described as Usmanov’s mentor.

Usmanov bought the newspaper Kommersant. Three months later the journalist Ivan Safronov, a critic of the Putin regime who just weeks earlier had been vigorously interrogated by the FSB, as the KGB is now called, mysteriously fell to his death from his apartment window, still clutching a recently purchased bag of shopping.

According to Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, it was Usmanov who ordered the cutting off of supplies to Georgia earlier this year. Please take note, Madam President, the Kremlin has now refused to sanction the construction of a pipeline to the EU over Georgian territory. These are the people you want to do business with. These are the people around whom you want to mould your foreign policy on energy. Commissioner, good luck. You will need it.

Schadenfreude can be a wonderful thing! It's nice to see a fat, criminal scumbag and his pack of legal vultures get screwed when they mess with free speech!

Up yours Usmanov!

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