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Wed

17

Jan

2007

The Strange Case Of Dirt-Peddler De-Luxe And ‘Dubious Julia’
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 22:52
by Copydude
Early last December, at the height of anti-Kremlin hysteria, the Observer turns up with a real story on Litvinenko.

Instead of the passionate human rights worker of press release pathos, Litvinenko is suddenly revealed as an eccentric, a man given to wild claims and to strange fantasies of being a Chechen warrior.

It also reveals his propensity for blackmail.

The effect of Julia Svetlichnaya’s piece is devastating - similar to Andrew Gilligan’s debunking of David Kelly and the Government’s infamous 45 minute claim. All the saintly Sasha spiel is dispelled in an instant. The word goes out to shoot the messenger and the Murdoch media mafia poops all over the scoop. Julia is blackballed.

Around the same time, the propaganda story that Litvinenko was killed for investigating Politkovskaya is also blown.
Politkovskaya’s colleagues at the newspaper Novaya Gazeta laughed off those claims as ridiculous. ‘It’s nonsense that Litvinenko was investigating Anna Politkovskaya’s death before he was poisoned. How could he be doing it in London?’ said Roman Shleinov, Novaya Gazeta’s chief investigative reporter. ‘Litvinenko had nothing to do with Politkovskaya. She herself was very skeptical about his activities.’
Even worse, Limarev pops up in the Italian press and disclaims the Scaramella ‘hit list’ memo that started it all. The whole PR fairytale is in tatters. For Godfather Berezovsky and Bell PR, burying all these stories - and Judith Svetlichnaya in particular - is given top-priority.

A story is magically floated in Norway's 'Aftenposten'. It cites an anonymous ‘British Professor of Russian’ who claims that Julia had been instructed by the Russian Security Services to go to London to spy on Akhmed Zakhayev. It also reveals that Julia worked in London for a Russian firm. Taken together, the article concludes that Julia is in the pay of the Kremlin. Later it transpires that the nameless source is none other than veteran Cold War propagandist Martin Dewhirst.

Having run in Norway, it is then safe for Murdoch’s Sunday Times to pick up the story as ‘Kremlin Plot To Smear Litvinenko’ - which is pure invention. Julia calls a press conference to issue a rebuttal but is iced by the UK media and forced to get her side of the story out on blogs. (She will later sue the Sunday Times.)

But even here - and later on CBS 60 Minutes - Julia herself doesn’t quite reveal all.

Julia ‘it was just a temp agency job’ actually worked as communications director at Russian Investors for Alexei Golubovich, a long serving board member of Yukos, now under house arrest in Italy at Russia’s request. Like Khordokhovsky, he’s charged with fraud and embezzlement of billions.

Prior to Julia’s appointment, a girl called Elena Collongues-Popova worked for Golubovich. And prior to Litvinenko’s meeting with Julia, he and Limarev had been pumping Elena for dirt on the former Yukos official.

Certainly, Elena knew all about Golubovich

French tax police had discovered large money transfers she was moving to and from offshore accounts owned by Golubovich. The authorities ordered her to pay back taxes and penalties amounting to $15 million - including $1 million from a criminal trial in Paris where she was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended provided she paid up.

When Golubovich refused to take responsibility for the taxes in deals detailed in cartons of documents police seized from her home, she sought to take control of a Swiss account she had run for him but which was listed in her name. This led to legal battles with her former boss and his wife.
Litvininenko and Limarev wanted big time dirt. They were pushing Elena for details of bribes and ‘offshore banking services’ rendered in Lithuania in respect of the Maziekiu Nafta (MN) oil refinery - formerly Yukos’ refinery in Lithuania - a potential scandal involving the former Lithuanian Prime Minister.

And just a couple of weeks before his death, Litvinenko flies to Israel with a sensitive Yukos dossier...

Now. Why is Julia surprised when Litvinenko is ‘bombarding her with e-mails’ and implies she doesn’t know the identity of his quarry? Perhaps she simply does the wise thing.

Over the last few days, the Yukos link to Litvinenko’s death has become more apparent and is being taken very seriously by Russian prosecutors. They’re asking why the Yukos founder, Yuri Golubev, was found dead in his London apartment. (At this rate, the London morgues will soon be full up with Russians.)

In the last two days, another Yukos official in Moscow flees house arrest and escapes his captors on crutches. Unbelievable.

As with the Scaramella scams in Italy, the Polonium trail, and the propaganda stream it spawned, looks increasingly like a red herring.
 
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