I CALLED Alexander Litvinenko in London to ask him about poison and the K.G.B., and he was glad to oblige. Yes, he said in that interview two years ago, he believed that the Russian security agency was behind the dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko, who was running for president of Ukraine.
The poisoning in London of a former KGB officer, Alexander Litvinenko, will damage investor confidence in Russia, the primary trade association representing those doing business between Britain and Russia warned yesterday.
At the end of 2003, former Russian banker Alex Konanykhin was spending a little time in jail as a guest of Uncle Sam, having been nabbed by U.S. immigration officials as he tried to go from Buffalo to apply for political asylum in Canada. (That's right, going across the Peace Bridge in his BMW, leaving the country.
By William Norman Grigg. Senior Editor for The New American magazine
Alexander Konanykhine is a wildly successful 37-year-old Russian expatriate entrepreneur. The U.S. government has accused him -- on the basis of supposed evidence provided by Russian investigators -- of being an embezzler, a bigamist, and a draft dodger. Konanykhine's background is somewhat murky, perhaps even troubling, but this much is certain: He is a man who blew the whistle on the KGB's continuing stranglehold on Russia, particularly its banking industry. For this, the government of KGB veteran Vladimir Putin wants Konanykhine dead - and our Department of Homeland Security has done its best to give Moscow a helping hand.
Washington Post: Konanykhin, one of the first Russian millionaires after the fall of the commies, left in 1992 and was granted asylum here in 1999. He's built a very successful Web advertising business in New York City. He had been chosen "New York Businessman of the Year." "As such, you will be honored and presented with your award," NRCC chairman Thomas M. Reynolds (R-N.Y.) said, at a "special ceremony" April 1. " President Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are our special invited guests.
CNN: Alex Konanykhin controlled Russia's largest commercial bank in the 1990s
Wall Street Journal: Mr. Konanykhin was a whiz-kid physics student who became a pioneering Russian capitalist in early 1990s, building a banking and investment empire valued at an estimated $300 million all by his mid-20s. He was a member of President Boris Yeltsin's inner circle.
The Baltimore Sun: Business whiz kid.
WJLA TV / ABC: Russian Bill Gates.
The Times: By the time he was 25 he was one of the most important figures in post-Communist Russia. But in 1992, while on a business trip to Hungary, Alex Konanykhine was kidnapped.
The New York Times: The Federal Bureau of Investigation notified Konanykhin that Russian organized crime figures had paid to have him killed.
CBS "60 Minutes": Alex Konanykhin didn't only have KGB after him… He had the FBI, the Justice Department, even the CIA all on his case, as a favor to the Russians, part of a deal to allow the FBI to keep a bureau in Moscow.
Los Angeles Daily Journal: Representing himself through much of the process, Konanykhin managed to convince an immigration judge of an alleged INS and KGB conspiracy and cover-up. Following the court's admonishment, the INS agreed to drop all charges and also pay $100,000..The judge also ordered an investigation of the Justice Department. In separate actions, Konanykhine subsequently won multimillion dollar libel judgments against two Russian newspapers. A $100 million lawsuit against the Justice Department is pending, alleging perjury, fraud, torture and witness tampering by U.S government officers on behalf of the Russian Mafia.
Profit Magazine: Imagine you are a teenage physics genius who quickly amasses a $300 million empire of real estate and banking ventures, has dozens of cars, six hundred employees, several mansions and two hundred bodyguards—but you are nonetheless kidnapped by those you trusted, threatened with torture and death, and have your entire empire stolen from you one dark night in Budapest. You escape with your life by racing through Eastern-block countries and flying to New York on stashed-away passports—only to have the KGB and Russian Mafia hell-bent on your hide and the U.S. government jailing you and conspiring to serve you up into their clutches. All this before your 29th birthday. Sound like a Tom Clancy thriller? No. . . just a slice in the life of Alexander Konanykhine.