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Putin's Iron jokes

July 28 2008

Vladimir Putin is one of those people who likes to joke, but the joke is not love. Putin used his speech speed is not like his opponents who believe that intelligent people do not say. Voters, however, have had on this score the opposite opinion. Like those in whose direction these same "jokes" dispensed.

"Everyone should once and for all for yourself to understand: we must always obey the law, and not only when caught in one place", - Putin said in an interview with Italian media in November 2003, telling about the Yukos affair.

After 5 years of Mr Putin reiterated in his characteristic manner drew the attention of the public on some not entirely ethical action metallurgical company "Mechel".

"We have such a reputable company - Mechel - President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting in Nizhny Novgorod. - By the way, the owner, CEO Igor Vladimirovich Zyuzin, we have invited to the meeting, but he suddenly fell ill. And yet it is known that in the first quarter this year the company sold raw materials abroad at prices twice lower than the market, and hence the world. And the margin where, in the form of taxes for the state? ". Later, when the Prime Minister reported that Igor Zyuzin to the environment (and invited to the meeting was on Tuesday) is being treated at the Moscow Medical Academy named after Sechenov with cardiac problems, Putin sympathetically: "Of course, illness is illness, but I think that Igor Vladimirovich should get better as quickly as possible. Otherwise, a doctor will have to send it and clean up all these problems. "

Also on the topic: "Pampers for Khodorkovsky"

Opposition "experts" talking the new Yukos. How reminiscent of "Izvestia", the scheme of tax evasion, for which they put in their time of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is simple: a company in Russia at a lower price sells the raw material of "their" company abroad, registered in the offshore. And she is already "cook" and sell at fair price without paying taxes on profits. Perhaps something like this was doing, and Mechel. But he blamed both.

Experts claim that the company has recently acted contrary to the policy which adhere to the other steelmakers. If all have been moved to the practice of long-term contracts, which allow to fix the price of raw materials (in this case for coking coal) at a certain level, then the "Mechel" refused to do so. Our metallurgists often simply could not buy the "Mechel" raw materials. Perhaps he was simply more profitable to drive all abroad, using the above scheme. And in Russia, due to the shortage in the meantime prices grew.

Buyers of raw materials, fellow steelworkers, did not survive. Week and a half ago, Novolipetsk Steel posted a complaint on Mechel to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), which said that the company is refusing to sign new contracts for the delivery. FAS in mid-July, following an audit of the situation on the market of coking coal is really brought an action against the subsidiaries of Mechel case of violation of antitrust laws.

Nevertheless, Putin's statement provoked a panic. Premiere even accused that it was his remarks led to a drop in prices of shares on stock markets. Meanwhile, contrary to the assumptions, foreign investorv are not going to leave the promising industries.

Foreign investors are recognized: Vladimir Putin's statement, accusing the owner of Mechel Igor Zyuzin in unfair pricing policies, caused panic in the market.However, foreign money is not going to leave a promising industries. Representative of the fund Prosperity Capital Management, for example, was not frightened by the Prime Minister. "I'm not afraid, - says Ivan Mazalov. - If the state has issues, it is entitled to ask them." It is noted that earlier Prosperity Capital Management, a minority shareholder of Mechel is in conflict with the management company and one of the contentious issues was the pricing policy.

A chief economist for Russia and CIS countries of the HSBC Alexander Morozov, does not bind the fall of the stock market only a statement of Vladimir Putin. "Falling stock market is everywhere, as in both developed and emerging markets. So definitely say that this statement has caused such an effect, impossible. Foreign investors might simply reduce Russia's portfolio in favor of the more promising emerging markets and other assets, but the closure of Russian portfolio of speech is not "- he explained.

Events around Mechel, has criticized Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for the marketing policy should be a lesson to all Russian companies, said Monday the president's aide Arkady Dvorkovich. "We hope that the events that have occurred will be a lesson for everyone - not just for Mechel, but for the Russian market, for all large, medium - any company, and we all will act as a civilized market" - said Dvorkovich told reporters.

In the "Mechel" seems to have listened to mild criticism "from above". On the eve of the company stated that it agreed with the government's position and is ready for dialogue on issues of pricing with state agencies. "Mechel" agrees with the position of the Russian government that coking coal prices in the domestic market should not be higher than the world and does not intend to prevent such situations, "- noted in a statement.

Sergei Makarov


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