Gaines Elites PlayrnRussia and the IMFrnby Sergey Berdyaevrny^^^^/irna L orcl knows where that went,” Boris Yeltsin eroaked tornone of his Kremhn aides sometime last September.rnaccording to Kremlin sonrces. was replying to a qiier- Yeltsin,rnfrom the International Monetan,- Fund on the expenditure ofrnncarh’ two billion dollars worth of an IMF “tranche” targeted tornstac off impending Rnssian financial disaster in die summer ofrn1998. The tax|Dayers of the Western states who back the IMFrnponied up this mone (and maybe more) to aid Russian “restructuring”rnand promote “market reforms” and “democracy.”rnAnd what did thev get for it? The ruble crashed, Russia defaultedrnon debts to the West, the government was thrown out,rnIMF monc’ went unaccounted for, and the West did nodiing.rnAt least not then.rnCut to New York, February 2000. According to the WallrnStreet journal, the joint inyestigation by the Federal Reservernand the New York State Banking Department into allegedrnmoney laundering b- the enerable Bank of New York (BNY)rnhas uneoered not a trace of Russian mafia involvement inrnc[uesHonablc transachons invoking billions of dollars, some ofrnthem possibly diverted IMF funds, which were funneledrnthrough the BNY and offshore affiliates. The Russian media,rncontrolled b’ the “oligarchs” (the shady businessmen-a/n7-godfathersrnwho hae run Russia since the beginning of the Yeltsinrnera), crowed about the reports, claiming that the whole thingrnhad been nothing more than another example of Russophobia.rnAt worst, according to the oligarchs’ mouthpieces, the mone’rnwas transferred offshore b legitimate businessmen wishing torneircumcnt Russia’s ycr’ greedy tax man. Nothing more.rnBut just as the Journal and its Russian counterparts werernsmngK huffing about anh-capitalist and anh-Russian propaganda,rna couple of Russian-born stool pigeons turned up singing inrnSergei’ Berdvaev ;,s a journalist who covers the former SovietrnUnion.rna federal court in New York. I,uc Kdwards, a BNY vice presidentrnworking at the bank’s f .ondon branch, and her husband,rnPeter Berlin (reportedly still a Russian cihzcn), admitted thatrnthey had been involved in money laundering after all. As reportedrnin the Washington Post, the pair had been working for arngroup of Moscow^ banks for four ears, sethng up front companiesrnand conducting more than 160,000 transactions worthrnmore Hian seven billion dollars while funneling the mone’ outrnof Russia and into BNY and other offshore accounts. MercK taxrnavoidance? Mabc not. Edwards, who wiHi her spouse madernnearl- hvo million dollars wordi of “commissions” on the transachons,rntold federal prosecutors drat some of her Russian counterpartsrnat Moscow’s DKB bank were afraid of their customers,rnsince the “businessmen” were often accompanied b- oungrnlads tohng “machine guns.” Federal inveshgators want to determinernhow much of Hie monc- came from organized crime.rn(The machine guns must hae hpped them off; die New YorkrnTimes reported diat Fdwards and BeHin had been invoKcd inrnlaundering a $300,000 ransom paMiient for a kidnappedrnMoscow businessman.)rnThe Times arhcle menhoned an especialK’ intereshng point:rnSobinbank, one of the Russian banks diat was ser iced b F,clwardsrnand Berlin, is partl- owned b’ oligarch AlcksandrrnSmolensk}-, boss of SBS-Agro, a bankrupt Russian megabankrnwhich, in turn, is allcgedh’ pard owned by “oligarch numberrnone,” Boris Berezovsky, and his protege, Roman Abramo’ich.rnAbramoich is known in Russia as die “famih’s cashier,” thern”family” being die group of Kremlin courtiers and Yeltsin relativesrnwho flooded die Kremlin (and robbed the Russian treasury)rnunder “Czar Boris.”rnWhat die American newspaper accounts did not nienhonrnwas die suspicion that IMF funds, too, had been hmncledrnthrough front companies set up by Fdwards and Berlin. Thisrnsuspicion was oiced b some investigators (and a few U.S. conlUNErn2000/19rnrnrn