US Economic Policies Being Too Tough, We Can't Ignore That Market - 30 August, 2002

Effective August 29, the US will criminally prosecute foreign companies whose financial reports are wrong. However, Igor Jurgens, the Vice President of Russia's Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, says this won't affect Russian companies too badly. 'The number of our companies', Mr. Jurgens said, 'that work on American markets is limited. These are Rostelecom, Wim-Bil-Dan, MTS, Tatneft, and Vympelcom. The quality of corporative management of all these companies is very high'.

At the same time, Mr. Jurgens believes that 'This new American law is excessively harsh because, among other things, a lot of entrepreneurs have trouble working with the largest American and international auditing entities. A mistake made by an auditor may easily mean imprisonment for the Russian manager who signs the report. We all remember the mess caused by the Anderson auditing company'.

Besides, Mr. Jurgens said, accusations of financial misconduct might be trumped up for purely political reasons. 'The case of the Bank of New York', he continued, 'clearly shows that Russian entrepreneurs are often looked at as members of the mythical "Russian mafia". In the mean time, at a closer look, each such "mafia" case turns out to be nothing at all, a soap bubble that is inflated out of proportion in order to step on an entrepreneur who to Americans looks mysterious and highly suspect solely because he or she is Russian'.

Mr. Jurgens said the new American legislation would be discussed at a session of the Union of Russia's Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Considered will be the creation of Russian lobbyist groups in the US and a closer cooperation between Russian business people and American legal companies and individual lawyers. 'The US', he said, 'is the largest player on international markets, the one we can by no means ignore. So we have to adjust to that player's behaviour. We also must cooperate with Europeans and Asians because we can not alone oppose this imperial conduct'.

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Author`s name Petr Ermilin