Friday, February 4, 2005. Issue 3099. Page 5.

Yukos Fugitives Feted in U.S.

By Valeria Korchagina
Staff Writer
Vladimir Dubov

Two of the country's top fugitives arrived in Washington to attend Thursday's prayer breakfast with President George W. Bush, defying an international arrest warrant put out by Russian prosecutors.

After receiving assurances from U.S. officials that they would not be extradited, Mikhail Brudno and Vladimir Dubov traveled to Washington on Wednesday, sources familiar with the visit said.

Brudno and Dubov, who fled to Israel more than a year ago, are shareholders in oil major Yukos and face similar charges as former company CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was imprisoned in October 2003.

The two oligarchs, now Israeli citizens, were invited to Washington by Republican Representative Tom Lantos, a prominent critic of Kremlin policy, to attend a National Prayer Breakfast and meet with government officials.

"There is significant interest in us," Brudno said, speaking by phone from Washington on Thursday. "[U.S. politicians] see us as sources of information on what is going on in Russia, with business in Russia and with Yukos."

"Mikhail Khodorkovsky used to come and speak here every year. But now, since that is not possible, we decided to accept the invitation," Brudno said.

Leonid Nevzlin, another exiled Yukos shareholder wanted in Russia, was also invited, a source in the U.S. Congress said Thursday. Brudno and Dubov had a private session with Lantos and were scheduled to meet with officials from the State Department and National Security Council.

All three men fled Russia after authorities apprehended Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev and issued warrants for their arrest.

The international game of hide-and-seek took a twist on Monday, when Brudno and Dubov appeared on an Interpol wanted list as suspects sought for extradition to face fraud charges in Russia.

As a result, Brudno and Dubov delayed their trip to Washington by a day, said a source close to Yukos' parent company, Group Menatep.

Brudno declined to comment on prosecutors' efforts to have him and Dubov extradited. He also refused to comment on the authorities' tax case against Yukos.

"Obviously the Russian government wanted to stop Brudno and Dubov from testifying before the United States Congress," the Menatep source said.

"The effort failed, however. After a great deal of behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity on Tuesday, Dubov and Brudno arrived in Washington on Wednesday. They have been assured that the U.S. government will not act on the Russian Interpol notice."

Interpol notices to its 182 member police organizations are nonbinding, leaving a nation's authorities to choose whether or not to proceed with a detention.

Brudno said that he was planning to return "home" to Israel.

The Prosecutor General's Office, which forwarded the request for the men's detention to Interpol, declined to comment on the U.S. authorities' decision not to act on the warrant.

Russia's track record with extraditing suspects has been patchy. Authorities have failed to extradite exiled tycoons Vladimir Gusinsky, last known to live in Spain, and Boris Berezovsky, who resides in London. Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, who received political asylum in Britain, has also been out of reach of Russian courts.

White House Invites Wanted Jewish Oligarchs for Breakfast with Bush

News; Posted on: 2005-02-04 09:27:14

Two wanted Jewish oligarchs will enjoy "prayer breakfast" with Bush. Most likely, they will pray that they never end up in the hands of the Russians

Two of Russia’s most wanted fugitives were invited to Washington for a “prayer breakfast” with President George Bush in defiance of international arrest warrants. The two Jewish oligarchs were promised by US officials that they would not be extradited to Russia. After being assured that they would not face Russian justice, Mikhail Brudon and Vladimir Dubov flew in from Israel on Wednesday.

Over a year ago, the two fled to Israel. They ware wanted by Russian prosecutors for charges similar to those against Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsy, who was sent to prison in October 2003. Brudon and Dubov are both major shareholders in the company. Both oligarchs have been granted citizenship by Israel. They were invited to Washington by Republican Representative Tom Lantos, who is a major Russophobe in the capital.

Upset that Khodorkovsky couldn’t make the breakfast due to “prior arrangements,” Lantos decided that two lesser Jewish oligarchs could take the place of Russia’s richest Jewish oligarch. Lenoid Nevzlin, another wanted Yukos shareholder was also invited. Nevzlin, Brudno, and Dubov fled Russia after seeing the writing on the wall with Khodorkovsky’s arrest.

Dubov and Brudno only agreed to bless President Bush with the presence after being assured that the US government would ignore the Interpol warrant for their arrests. When asked what he is going to do next, Brudno said that he will return “home” to Israel.

Other criminals wanted by Russia the “West” refuses to hand over are Vladimir Gusinsky, Boris Berezovsky, and Chechen terrorists spokesman Akhmed Zakyaev. All three have been granted amnesty in order to protect them from Russian justice.