Semen Kukes, an American manager and famous marketing specialist with a strange Russian name, has a dark business biography. Members of the first wave of Jewish immigration from the USSR are generally known for wit speculations. Apparently, not only Russian authorities but overseas law enforcers want to ask them some questions. And Kukes is no exemption.
Semen Kukes immigrated to the US in 1970ies, and had had successful businesses there since. However, he ended up in a Russian company anyway. Certainly, as there is no such scope in the States, and jail is ready to receive those who “freely manipulate” the laws, while late Yeltsin Russia was a true Klondike for clever people with communist past.
At first Kukes worked for oil company YUKOS. Reasons for his departure are out of the topic, and hence omitted here. What is important is that from one oligarch Kukes moved to another with a substantial rise in power. He headed Tumen Oil Company (TNK), and did so in a very significant moment. It was the time when TNK was buying Russian oil companies one by one, and cleared them from overseas capital. Semen Kukes headed this battle for oil of his former motherland.
Kukes’ service at TNK was crowned with its triumphal merger with an old competitor at the post-soviet territory, BRITISH PETROLEUM. And then Kukes moved back to YUKOS, where after the announced purchase of SIBNEFT a great merger with another giant company was planned (wither with ExxonMobil or ChevronTexaco). But it is exactly because of TNK and its head Kukes, BP is losing it all today. And the strike came not from Russian General Persecution, but from an all-frightening special services agency based in Langley.
Up until now, YUKOS and Kukes himself denied the fact that the latter and some other leaders of TNK and its owners "Alfa-Group" have problems with justice bodies in the US. Reasons behind those problems was not really nice behaviour in Russia which caused serious material and moral damage to Canadian oil-gas company NOREX. It was denied even after the materials of investigation were publicly voiced in Duma.
It is enough to have a quick glance over NOREX file to see that Simon (Semen) Kukes is one of the key figurants. He lead an acquisition of “ChernogorskNeft” (a part of SIDANKO), where BP was one of the main stakeholders. Moreover, there is information that Kukes was interviewed by FBI several times already.
When CIA published its data on Kukes it seemed impossible to deny anything. Still, Semen Kukes attempts doing so through his London-based press-secretary. BP refuses to comment altogether.
CIA published the files on demand from “Marks and Sokolov” solicitors, who represent NOREX in battle against TNK. The very first line states that “according to TNK president Mr. Kukes, he gave bribes to local authorities”. In West such confession is a scandal. CIA refused to comment further, but confirmed existence of the report on many other questions associated with purchase of “ChernogorskNeft” in 1999.
Like NOREX, the British company was involved into the scandal “because of TNKs methods”. The conflict was settled after TNK had returned some actives of SIDANKO, what required for highest political involvement: Tony Blair stood for BP, and they say he discussed this with Vladimir Putin himself.
It is amazing that despite the scandal, Russian law enforcement bodies stay calm and keep silence. Maybe because “Alfa-Group” interests are protected at the highest levels: according to rumors, political backing for Alfa and TNK has been provided until recently by Anatoly Chubays and Boris Nemtsov.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers