Russia Files Piracy Charges Against Greenpeace Activists For Anti-drilling Protest In Arctic

Russia’s Megafon in talks to start bank

Ivan Tavrin, CEO of Russian mobile operator Megafon, poses for a photograph at the Reuters Investment Summit in Moscow September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

24, 2013: Greenpeace ship “Arctic Sunrise” is escorted by a Russian coast guard boat, in Kola Bay at the military base Severomorsk on the Kola peninsula in Russia, at dawn. Russia has filed piracy charges against Greenpeace activists who tried to board an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by state-controlled natural gas company Gazprom.AP MURMANSK, Russia Russian investigators said Tuesday that they will file piracy charges against Greenpeace activists who tried to climb onto an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by the state-controlled gas company Gazprom. The activists are on a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, that was seized last week by the Russian Coast Guard and towed Tuesday into a port near Murmansk. It was unclear how many of the 30 activists from 18 countries face piracy charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $15,500). The Investigative Committee, Russia’s federal investigative agency, said it would question all those who participated in the protest and detain the “more active” among them. Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. “When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. He said the activists posed a danger to the work of the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. Greenpeace insists that Russia had no right under international law to board its ship. One activist told The Associated Press that the Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in a small bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 15 miles north of Murmansk. Greenpeace said the activists come from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.

Russia to File Piracy Charges Against Greenpeace

The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. “When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. He said the activists posed a danger to operations on the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. The oil platform, the first offshore rig in the Arctic, was deployed to the vast Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea in 2011 but its launch has been delayed by technological challenges. Gazprom has said it was to start pumping oil this year, but no precise date has been set. Greenpeace insisted that under international law Russia had no right to board its ship and has no grounds to charge its activists with piracy. “Peaceful activism is crucial when governments around the world have failed to respond to dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and elsewhere,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated or silenced by these absurd accusations and demand the immediate release of our activists,” he added. One Greenpeace activist told The Associated Press that Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the Greenpeace vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in Kulonga Bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometres north of Murmansk. Diplomats were allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise for two hours to meet with activists from their countries.

Russia to file piracy charges against Greenpeace activists for Arctic protest

The Canadian Press

Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. “When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. He said the activists posed a danger to operations on the oil platform. “Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. The oil platform, the first offshore rig in the Arctic, was deployed to the vast Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea in 2011, but its launch has been delayed by technological challenges. Gazprom has said it was to start pumping oil this year, but no precise date has been set. Greenpeace insisted that under international law Russia had no right to board its ship and has no grounds to charge its activists with piracy. “Peaceful activism is crucial when governments around the world have failed to respond to dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and elsewhere,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated or silenced by these absurd accusations and demand the immediate release of our activists,” he added. One Greenpeace activist told The Associated Press that Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the Greenpeace vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in Kulonga Bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Murmansk. Greenpeace, which had limited contact with those on board, said they were all fine and that some made calls to friends and family. Diplomats were allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise for two hours to meet with activists from their countries.

russia_greenpeace_charges.jpg

He said he would consider buying a bank which does not have large operations or a branch network. He is planning to discuss the strategy with Megafon’s board later this year. “The quality of credit (of our customers) and services we would give is an absolute priority for us,” Tavrin said. “We would not look to get the lion’s share of the (consumer credit) market. For us, the quality will be much more important than the quantity.” MTS, the first Russian telecoms operator to move into banking, expects financial services to account for up to 5 percent of its total net profit by 2017. MOST IMPORTANT Megafon already has an indirect exposure to financial services through a $1 billion deal last year to buy a 50 percent stake in handset retailer Euroset, which offers online payment services in its stores. However, Megafon could ultimately sell a part of its stake in Euroset, Tavrin said, when asked whether the retailer could at some point go public. There has been speculation in the Russian press that MTS is interested in buying a stake in Euroset, which Megafon owns equally with Russia’s No.3 mobile operator Vimpelcom. MTS said it was not considering such a move. Megafon is also trying to drive growth by increasing the number of smartphones which people buy and have linked to its network. It does not currently sell Apple Inc’s iPhones in its stores and Tavrin would not comment on whether that policy would change. “(Regarding) iPhones – the most important thing for us is not whether we sell them but whether we have the right penetration of iPhones on our networks, because iPhone users … consume more data,” said Tavrin.