Отправлено 30 Декабрь 2002 - 12:30
Перевиз и все интересующиеся - вот обещанная статья.
ЗЫ - Первиз, мне действительно очень интересно, неужели Вы всерьез рассматрвиаете газету Йени Мусават, как возможный источник информации и вообще серьезную газету?
Investors sue Azerbaijan's president in US over soured oil privatisation
BAKU, Nov 22 (AFP) - The president of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan and his son are facing an embarrassing 300-million-dollar (-euro) lawsuit in a New York court over a privatisation deal gone sour, according to court documents obtained by AFP.
Officials in Azerbaijan have hotly denied the allegations but the mere existence of the suit, say observers, could be damaging for the standing of a government already struggling to throw off a reputation abroad for corruption.
The lawsuit paints an unflattering picture of Azeri officials, headed by President Heidar Aliyev, demanding massive kickbacks from foreign investors, harassing and intimidating them and even kidnapping their employees.
"It was extortive, that's the best word I can think of to describe it," said T. Barry Kingham, a partner with New York law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt and Mosle, whose clients filed the lawsuit.
The suit has been filed in New York's Southern District Court by three companies linked to Viktor Kozeny, a colourful Czech businessmen widely known in his homeland by the nickname "The Pirate of Prague."
Through an investment vehicle called Oily Rock Group, he spent millions of dollars in Azerbaijan in the 1990s buying privatisation vouchers, which would be converted into shares in state-owned enterprises once they were privatised.
The prime target for Kozeny was the state oil company SOCAR, which owns the licenses to exploit Azerbaijan's huge oil and gas reserves.
But by the late 1990s SOCAR's privatisation was shelved, the vouchers became worthless and Oily Rock was put into receivership.
Kozeny himself is being sued for damages in a London court by US investors, including former senator George Mitchell, who claim Kozeny duped them into investing in Azeri privatisation vouchers.
The New York suit, which was filed August 9, names Aliyev, SOCAR vice president Ilham Aliyev, the president's son, along with former privatisation officials and Switzerland-based advisers as defendants.
It alleges officials in Azerbaijan lied to Oily Rock Group when they said that SOCAR would be privatised.
It goes on to claim that officials demanded massive kickbacks from Oily Rock Group -- in the form of vouchers and shares in the group -- and threatened to confiscate the group's assets unless it complied.
The documents also allege that Oily Rock Group employees in Azerbaijan were "kidnapped" by shady figures acting on the orders of Aliyev.
The case has yet to come before a judge in New York but officials in Azerbaijan are already vigorously denying the claims.
"Everything that is written in that suit is lies," said Barat Nuriyev, former deputy head of the State Property Committee and one of the 15 defendants named in the lawsuit.
"This case will be thrown out by the court. Viktor Kozeny knows this. He is just playing for time," Nuriyev said in an interview with AFP.
Kozeny did not pay a penny in kickbacks in Azerbaijan, the promises about privatisation were made in good faith and the "kidnapping" was just a minor misunderstanding which was quickly resolved, said Nuriyev.
Despite these denials, the New York lawsuit has been seized on eagerly by opposition parties in Azerbaijan who hope to dent Aliyev's chances of winning a third term in office in next year's presidential elections.
They have already asked for impeachment hearings against Aliyev to start in parliament -- unlikely as the ruling party has a majority -- and the lawsuit has been front page news in the opposition press.
Observers say negative publicity from the case could also derail a plan, widely rumoured but officially denied, to eventually annoint Ilham Aliyev as the successor to his 79-year-old father.
"This does not look good for Ilham," said a former Azeri official who did not want to be named. "How can you build yourself up as a future leader of the country when you have this lawsuit hanging over you?"
In its latest report, graft watchdog Transparency International ranked Azerbaijan as one of the world's most corrupt nations.