Friday, May 05, 2006

Svetlana Bakhmina

In the comments to this post, Jeremy Putley writes:
My unpublished letter to the FT concerned specifically the brutal and tragic case of Svetlana Bakhmina:

27 April 2006

The Editor
Financial Times


Saying no to Rosneft, Editorial today

In your second editorial today you are right to say that investors presented with the opportunity to buy into Russia’s oil riches, in the planned stock market flotation of Rosneft, must consider the moral dimension. It is not only the question of whether they will be buying “stolen goods”. There is also the matter of the abuse of legal process to persecute former Yukos employees, and not just Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

It has not been widely reported that last week the Yukos lawyer, Svetlana Bakhmina, was sentenced by a Moscow court to seven years imprisonment in a labour camp. She had denied any wrongdoing. Now 36, she has been detained since 7 December 2004, and has not been allowed to see her two children, aged 3 and 7 in that time. Bail was refused for apparently no justifiable reason.

The Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, is reported as saying that Ms Bakhmina does not deserve the sentence, which he calls an act of repression, considering it part of a campaign by the Kremlin aimed at intimidating business employees in order to prevent them from expressing independent views on society in Russia.

This appalling case of abuse of legal process in a European capital should arguably carry rather more weight with investors even than the other matters that arise in considering potential investment in Russia, such as the unexplained exclusion from Russia of the investor Mr William Browder.

Jeremy Putley
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