Friday, April 26, 2013

Putin: CIA Officers Advised Russian Privatization Minister

Experts on Harvard University’s scandal-ridden role in Russia’s privatization process in the 1990s expressed skepticism Thursday at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that US advisers to privatization czar Anatoly Chubais were operatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). During Thursday’s Q&A, Putin said Chubais’ inner circle when he oversaw Russia’s privatization process as deputy prime minister in the 1990s included “advisers who, as it turns out today, worked as career officers in the US CIA.” “What’s funnier is that after returning to the United States they were taken to court for breaking their country’s laws and getting rich off of the privatization of the Russian Federation and did not have the right to do this as acting intelligence officers,” Putin said. Putin did not identify the alleged CIA agents by name during his live Q&A session with the Russian public Thursday, but his mention of the individuals’ alleged financial shenanigans suggests he may have been speaking about respected economist Andrei Shleifer and lawyer Jonathan Hay. The two men, along with Harvard University, paid a $30 million fine in 2005 to settle US federal charges that they illegally profited off of Russian privatizations. Russian media reports have accused Shleifer and Hay of being CIA officers, though there is nothing in the public domain to suggest either man was employed by the agency.

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