This morning, there was the most harrowing report on the BBC radio4 Today programme on the situation in Belarusse. The playwright Sir Tom Stoppard (his Coast of Utopia, a 3 part play on Russian revolutionaries of the 19th century is one of my most memorable theatre experiences) spoke of the situation in Belarus: people disappearing in a gruesome way and political prisoners in a place only two hours from London, in Europe where dictatorships have been consigned to history except in this one in Europe; an iron fist in an iron glove. Not enough pressure from the governments of Europe etc.
Well, just a few days ago I looked at the website of Banque Havilland, formerly Kaupthing Luxembourg but bought by the Rowland family, one of the biggest donators of the Conservative party. There isn’t much life on the site. When I last looked, last autumn, there was only this one press release, from September 2009, when Prince Andrew was present at the formal opening of the bank.
Now there is a new press release, from November 2010, about the bank’s latest, or rather its only initiative since it opened: an investment fund in Belarus. In collaboration with the Russian Sberbank Group, Havilland is opening ‘the first Belarusian foreign direct investment fund.’
Everyone ever connected to Libya is now trying hard brush over former relationship with Libya and Muammar Gaddafi – and interestingly, Kaupthing got pretty close to Gaddafi’s investment vehicles. But it’s still fine to be an investor in Belarus.
*Interestingly, the press release on the Belarus fund has been removed from the Havilland website, as can be seen if you click on the link above. More on the investment fund here.
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