YukosThis is a story that we'll keep reading more and more about. I think the blogosphere will start digging up stuff on this. I know that Cheney wined and dined this guy, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, before he was behind bars. I want to know more about the whole thing.
Much of the contact with the oligarchs--in particular, Khodorkovsky--has taken place under the auspices of The Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity fund that, with more than $17.5 billion under management and investments in thirteen countries across three continents, is among the world's largest.
Carlyle's ties to both Bush administrations are many and well known. James A. Baker III, secretary of state under Bush pere and today the younger Bush's special envoy on Iraqi debt, serves Carlyle as its "Senior Counselor," having joined the group in 1993. George H.W. Bush himself held the position of "Senior Adviser" at the firm from 1999 until 2003; other Carlyle officials include his former budget director, Dick Darman, as well as Frank Carlucci, who served as secretary of defense during his vice presidency.
In November 2001, two months after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Khodorkovsky was invited to a lavish Carlyle dinner in London, where he chatted with the former president Bush. Three months later, in February 2002, the oligarch dined again with Bush, this time in a more intimate setting: a private lunch at a Houston country club, a small gathering to introduce the Russian oilman to the former president's friends in the local oil community. That April, Khodorkovsky's bank announced its intention to invest $50 million in The Carlyle Group, and he was appointed to the fund's energy board. In June 2003 came the real coup, a dinner at a private home in Beaver Creek, Colorado, the "top-dollar, ultra-plush luxury resort" (as a local paper calls it) just up the valley from Vail. This time, the gathering of a dozen or so included a man with a singular interest in the future of Russia and the petrochemicals industry: Vice President Dick Cheney.