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October 02, 1997 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-02

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NATIONIWOR DThe Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 2, 1997
Ioscow prosecutors to begin criminal proceedings

- 7A

The Washington Post
MOSCOW - Moscow prosecutors
announced yesterday they will begin criminal
proceedings against former privatization chief
Ifred Kokh, a close ally of economic reformer
natoly Chubais. An investigator questioned
whether a $100,000 payment to Kokh to write a
book was an effort to influence a telecommuni-
cations deal.
Kokh, who resigned Aug. 13, has denied
any wrongdoing and said he intends to deliv-
er the book, which has not been published.
But as privatizatior chief, he was at the cen-
ter of the hotly contested auction of a tele-
phone holding company last summer that
has led to a widening schism between the
* hubais reform team and several of Russia's
wealthiest business tycoons.

Media reports have raised questions about
whether the $100,000 payment to Kokh
played a role in the success of Uneximbank,
a large financial industrial group headed by
Vladimir Potanin, in the bidding for a stake
in the state-owned telecommunications com-
pany Svyazinvest. The $1.9 billion bid by
Uneximbank stunned the losing bidders,
another group of Russian bankers who bid
$1.7 billion and thought they had the deal
sewn up.
Vladimir Gusinsky, the media magnate whose
group was part of the losing consortium, has
charged that there was "collusion" between the
government and the winning bidders.
The case has taken on special importance
because Chubais and Boris Nemtsov, the deputy
prime ministers appointed by President Boris
Yeltsin, have cited it as an example of what they

claim will be a new fairness in the sale of state
companies.
If it turns out that the telecommunications ten-
der was just another case of insider dealing, and
that a Chubais ally was involved, it would cast a
shadow over the argument by Yeltsin and his
young reform team that they are battling crony-
ism and corruption in the distribution of state
assets.
Kokh first revealed the $100,000 payment last
summer in his initial income declaration,
required of many senior officials by Yeltsin for
the first time this year. Subsequent reports in the
Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and the
London-based Financial Times said the money
came from a little-known Swiss firm, Servina,
and that an intermediary in the deal now works
for a Swiss subsidiary of Uneximbank. Kokh
has acknowledged taking a family vacation with

Potanin last summer but said he did not know
about the connection to the bank when he took
the money.
Yuri Syomin, the deputy prosecutor who
announced yesterday's decision, told the
Interfax news agency that the sum given
Kokh was "quite unconventional" and "far
outdistanced expected revenues." He said
prosecutors have been told the deal was put
together by a deputy chairperson of
Uneximbank.
In the years since the Soviet collapse, Russian
prosecutors often have decried rampant corrup-
tion but rarely have been able to make charges
stick against high-ranking officials.
After leaving the government, Kokh went to
work for a private fund with links to Chubais,
and Chubais came to his defense yesterday. "I
have known Kokh for 10 years and know that he

is a man of integrity," Chubais told reporters.
"Lavishly paid lies are reprinted from one news-
paper owned by a banker to a newspaper owvned
by another, from a TV channel owned by one of
them to a TV channel owned by another."
"I know full well that the (Kokh) book
does exist, that it has been written," Chubais
said. "I also know that some will not find the
reading exactly pleasurable." A spokesper-
son for Uneximbank told Interfax the con-
glomerate "has nothing to do with" the Kokh
book.
. But Alexander Minkin, an investigative jour-
nalist who wrote about the deal in Novaya
Gazeta, appeared on Gusinsky's television net-
work Wednesday night and declared, "A hundred
thousand dollars is not a fee, it's bribes."
"He did not sell a manuscript, he sold some-
thing different," Minkin said.

Hamas founder released to
hero's welcome in Jordan

The Washington Post
JERUSALEM - In a predawn heli-
copter flight from a maximum security
prison yesterday, Israel dispatched the ail-
ing founder of the Hamas Islamic move-
ment to a hero's welcome in Jordan.
Jordanian and Palestinian officials, in
comments met with silence in Israel,
described the sudden pardon of Sheik
Ahmed Yassin as an Israeli effort at dam-
age control after a botched assassination
attempt in the Jordanian capital last
week. Israel's army put out a brief state-
ment at 4 a.m. citing only Yassin's failing
health and a request from Jordan's King
Hussein for "positive steps which will
help the peace process" Government
officials declined to elaborate.
The deliverance of one of Israel's
.mortal enemies, who has renounced nei-
ther the Palestinian claim to all of the
land on which the Jewish state now

stands nor the use of violence to obtain
it, had more than a little mystery about
it. The drama came at the meeting point
of multiple political weaknesses among
Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian lead-
ers, all of whom have relationships with
Hamas that are troubled at best.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who
has struggled with Hamas for political
dominance but adopted the imprisoned
Yassin as a national symbol, was embar-
rassed at Israel's decision to bypass him
and fly the Gaza-born cleric to Jordan.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
mere weeks after the last Hamas suicide
bombing in Jerusalem, felt obliged for
the second time this year to abandon a
long-held Israeli criminal claim against a
senior leader of the Islamic Resistance
Movement, as Hamas is formally known.
The greater political need, in
Netanyahu's judgment, apparently
belonged to King Hussein. What creat-

ed it was a cloak-and-dagger episode
last week in which, Jordanian officials
and Hamas spokesperson said, Israeli
agents, in Amman and carrying
Canadian passports, used exotic tech-
nology and tried to kill another Hamas
leader, Khaled Meshal.
That operation deeply embarrassed
Hussein, already engaged in delicate
political negotiations with his own mil-
itant Islamic opposition.
Without narning Israel, but hinting
strongly that the Jewish state was
responsible, Hussein said in a speech
Tuesday that his government knows who
was behind the attack, which left Meshal
in intensive care at a military hospital
outside Amman. Twice in the speech he
called on Netanyahu to effect Yassin's
immediate release, and semiofficial
Jordanian newspapers reported that the
monarch demanded Yassin in exchange
for the two alleged Israeli agents.

AP PHOTO
The family of Shiekh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, watch television in
their home yesterday in Gaza City after hearing reports about Yassin's release from prison.

i

Plutonium-powered Cassini
poised for trip to Saturn

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Saturn has
always been the most alluring of plan-
ets, with its encircling rings and a gath-
ering of 18 known moons with eupho-
nious names such as Mimas,
Enceladu, lapetus and Tethys.
The Saturnian neighborhood is a
ilniature solar system that was visited
briefly in 1980 and 1981 by a pair of
U.S. Voyager spacecraft during their
grand tour of the outer planets.
Now another American spacecraft,
called Cassini, is poised to head to
Saturn for a much longer visit aimed at
giving scientists a better opportunity to

study the ringed planet and its moons.
The Cassini craft will carry along a
European-built probe called Huygens,
which will plunge through the opaque
cloud tops of Titan, the largest and most
interesting moon of Saturn.
Titan is a frigid, forbidding place, but
scientists believe it contains some of the
same organic chemicals that existed on
the early Earth just before primitive life
arose.
By studying the environment of
Titan, the researchers hope to learn
more about how Earth evolved into a
life-bearing planet.
"For all the superb research that has

been done in laboratories, we don't yet
know how life on Earth came to be,'
says Jonathan Lunine, a Cassini inter-
disciplinary scientist from the
University of Arizona.
So scientists are eager to look at a
natural laboratory - Titan's atmos-
phere - where some of the early chem-
ical steps toward life may be occurring.
But they quickly add that there is little
chance that Titan harbors even the most
rudimentary life.
Because. of surface temperatures
approaching 300 degrees below zero,
"Titan is almost certainly not the home
of life today," Lunine said.

WEB DESIGNER: entry level position for
person with good web design skills. Must
have good knowledge of webpage composi-
tion programs such as PageMill, HTML,
animated GIFs, Photoshop, & JavaScript.
Must understand web color pallets, web
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, owledge of intemet electronic commerce.
3-1677.
WORK-STUDY STUDENTS: Looking for
a variety of work experiences? Flexible
hours. Computer skills (word processing,
data entry) a plus. Will train. Positions avail-
able in Web design, and general office work.
Off-campus office. Own transportation
necessary. Free Parking. Contact Heidi or
Peg at: 998-7832 to schedule an interview.
~dCare

***1 STUDENT TICKET for Northwestern SPRING BREAK '98 - Sell Trips, Earn
vs. UM. Sec. 26/Row 8. Call 761-8418. Cash & Go Free!i STS is now hiring campus
**SPRING BREAK BAHAMAS Party reps. Lowest rates to Jamaica, Mexico &
Cruiset 6 davs S279? Includes meals. free Florida. Call 800-648-4849.

AFTER SCHOOL CARE for two kids, 6th
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somewhat flexible hours. Need reliable, fun,
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AFTER SCHOOL Childcare/transportation,
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BABYSITTER NEEDED for our 2 little
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.U1 0Uy5P47 1.UUl 1!<1, 1
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springbreaktravel.com 1-800-678-6386,
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FOR SALE. Remaining games for pair of
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package avail. Call 770-736-9273.
IOWA VS. MICHIGAN football tickets
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LOW FARES WORLDWIDE Instant pur-
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209 S. State 665-6122.
NORTHWESTERN 2 TICKETS sect. 9.
Call Bob 763-6729 or boblewis@umich.edu
***EARNFREE TRIPS & CASH!**
CLASS TFRAVEL needs tudents to
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STUDENTS Purchase your tickets with Con-
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ZACH FROM CANADA needs tickets vs.
OSU on Nov. 22. Call (613)521-7007.
LESSONS-STRING-WIND-PIANO. You
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' announcements

!NAKED MILE footage/photos wantedi Can
pay some $-contact:
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NO FUTURE no future no future for you!?
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Saturday October 25 10:45-12:15 All RC
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(313) 668-6882
Positions in private homes.
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I

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