This Is Why the Anti-BDS Bill Was Defeated (Technology)

Source: Crime Russia

US sanctions affect Israeli business of Viktor Vekselberg

Viktor Vekselberg

The owner of Renova Holding, the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, whose assets are estimated at $13 billion, due to US sanctions will not be able to expand his investment activities in Israel.

This is reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, quoting the executive director of the CNTP investment fund (Columbus Nova Technology Partners) – Viktor Vekselberg’s division of Columbus Nova for investments in the Israeli technology sector.

Head of CNTP Yaron Eitan told the media that Vekselberg was pleased with his investments in technology start-ups in Israel and other countries. More recently Eitan had discussed with him the prospects for expanding technological activities. However, now, in connection with the sanctions, these plans of Vekselberg are not destined to be realized.

It is worth noting that in the first half of December 2018, the name of Viktor Vekselberg hit the headlines of the Israeli media in connection with the closure of the startup Fifth Dimension, engaged in defense developments. Haaretz and other Israeli media have directly linked the collapse of a promising startup with the inclusion of one of its main investors, Vekselberg, on the US sanctions list. Vekselberg invested $ 10 million in Fifth Dimension through Columbus Nova Technology Partners (CNTP), which is a quarter of the total investment.

Moreover, the connection with Fifth Dimension of the Russian oligarch from the black list of the United States frightened away from it other potential sponsors – the company in the field of cyber espionage NSO, which before the US sanctions was interested in an alliance with Fifth Dimension.

Two high-ranking retirees of the Ministry of Defense and Mossad, who were on the board of directors of Fifth Dimension, could not save the company. The publication noted that until recently the post of chairman of the board of directors of the startup was held by the former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Beni Ganz, and the former deputy director of the intelligence agency Mossad, Ram Ben-Barak, was the president of the company. However, both are now more focused on their political careers, preparing for the upcoming elections in 2019 for theIsraeli parliament (Knesset).

The US authorities included Viktor Vekselberg and Renova on the SDN Sanctions List on April 6, 2018. Assets of individuals and legal entities from the list are subject to blocking in the US jurisdiction, US citizens and companies cannot conduct business with them. In addition, physical persons are prohibited from entering the United States. The US Treasury threatened to introduce secondary sanctions against those conducting transactions in the interests or on behalf of the defendants of the SDN list.

After the imposition of sanctions, Vekselberg began to reduce the size of his shares in the capital of a number of companies. In particular, the shares of Vekselberg in the Swiss companies OC Oerlikon and Schmolz + Bichenbach were reduced. In addition, after the introduction of sanctions, Renova reduced the size of its shares in the capital of the Swiss engineering company Sulzer (from 63.42 to 48.83%), the Russian energy company Hevel (from 51 to 46%) and the largest private heat generating company in Russia T Plus (from 57.1 to 39.59%).

Tags: oligarchs

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Source: FP

Security Brief: Pentagon Exodus Continues After Mattis’s Departure

Senior officials head for the exits at Defense Department, Trump walks back Syria withdrawal plans, American Islamic State fighters captured, North Korea turns toward coal.

By Lara Seligman, Elias Groll | January 7, 2019

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrives for a closed intelligence briefing at the U.S. Capitol with members of the House of Representatives on December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has sent shockwaves through the Pentagon, with senior staff heading toward the exits. After announcing a plan to immediately withdraw from Syria, President Donald Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton are down playing plans to pull out immediately. A major hack is rocking the German political scene. Vietnam may play host to the next U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. And American and Chinese trade negotiators reconvene.

The Twitterverse was abuzz on Saturday night after the Pentagon announced the resignation of retired Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, who had served as chief of staff to the secretary of Defense since 2017.

Multiple outlets reported that Sweeney, who was appointed to the position by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, was forced out by the White House, and observers decried the “unsettling” news about the loss of yet another “experienced” defense official.

The announcement was hardly a shock. Sweeney’s departure had been rumored for months, even before Mattis’ resignation. As Loren DeJonge Schulman of the Center for a New American Security pointed out on Twitter, Sweeney “was a Mattis guy with no serious bureaucratic ninja chops. This is fine and normal.”

Please go to FP to read the entire article.

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How Ehud Barak Pulled Off 9-11

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