Do you recall this
recent post about Ukraine and Russia? Okay. Do you remember this bit, originally from the Wall Street Journal...?
Ukraine’s parliament appointed a new, pro-Western government that includes a U.S.-born finance minister to take on the job of staving off financial collapse, overhauling the shrinking economy and ending the armed conflict in the country’s east.
The new cabinet includes Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, the chief executive of a private-equity fund and a former U.S. diplomat, as well as two other nonnatives...
Although the WSJ saw fit to mention Jaresko, the NYT has not. In fact, a little Googling reveals that no major American publication has mentioned her ascent.
A friend to this blog proposes a thought experiment: "do you think that if a Kiev-born former agent of the Ukraine government renounced her Ukrainian citizenship and three hours later was appointed Secretary of the US Treasury, it would merit a mention?"
Well, the elevation of Jaresko was noted by the Australians
After past accusations of US meddling in Ukrainian politics, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf denied that Washington had any hand in the choice of an American as finance minister.
"This is a choice for the Ukrainian people and their elected representatives. This is their decision," Ms Harf told reporters.
"I don't think we had anything to do it with at all."
She's the head of a private equity fund, just like Mitt Romney. So maybe she'll offer us some glimmer of what Mitt might have gotten up to, had he prevailed.
And maybe she'll prove that we dodged a bullet in 2012. OpEd News
has more insight...
Ukraine's new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, a former U.S. State Department officer who was granted Ukrainian citizenship only this week, headed a U.S. government-funded investment project for Ukraine that involved substantial insider dealings, including $1 million-plus fees to a management company that she also controlled.
Jaresco served as president and chief executive officer of Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) with $150 million to spur business activity in Ukraine.
Need I remind you folks about the historically close links between AID and CIA? The story goes on to outline the various Ukrainian deals with which WNISEF has been involved, and the growing concerns about conflicts of interest.
Though it's difficult for an outsider to ascertain the relative merits of these insider deals, they could reflect negatively on Jaresko's role as Ukraine's new finance minister given the country's reputation for corruption and cronyism, a principal argument for the U.S.-backed "regime change" that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.
Based on the data from WNISEF's 2012 annual report, it also appeared that the U.S. taxpayers had lost about one-third of their investment in WNISEF, with the fund's balance at $98,074,030, compared to the initial U.S. government grant of $150 million.
Given the collapsing Ukrainian economy since the Feb. 22 coup, the value of the fund is likely to have slipped even further. (Efforts to get more recent data from WNISEF's and Horizon Capital's Web sites were impossible Friday because the sites were down.)
Beyond the long list of "related party transactions" in the annual report, there also have been vague allegations of improprieties involving Jaresko from one company insider, her ex-husband, Ihor Figlus. But his whistle-blowing was shut down by a court order issued at Jaresko's insistence.
Long story short, the woman now running Ukraine's finances isn't just American -- she's has been accused of "funny" business. For more, OpEd news links to this investigation
by one John Helmer.
Since Jareshko and Figlus divorced, he has been airbrushed out of the business history she has portrayed as the basis of her experience, and of her prepping to be the new finance minister of Ukraine.
Okay, so just how did
this woman rise to such a position in Ukraine?
According to remarks published in Kiev by Timothy Ash (right), an analyst at Standard bank London, Jaresko is “very well-prepared, highly experienced and tough as nails, she brings with her the unique ability to pick up the phone and reach virtually any decision maker in Washington without any introduction necessary; they know her – and they trust her.” Ash also says: “she fits the bill as an international expert, clean, and likely to be a radical thinker – able to think outside the box in terms of ideas. Ukrainian speaker, and has been resident in Ukraine for years so knows how things work, or rather don’t work.”
Interviewed by telephone, Ash said he did not know the US Government was financing Jaresko’s investment fund. “The US does do that”, he conceded.
Yep. We financed her fund. And she lost money. More to come, I am sure!