In the post-Ukraine invasion landscape journalists are daring to articulate a little more about the members of the Super-yacht Club, not least because governments have at last got round to sanctioning a great many of them.
However, the fear of ruin at the hands of such persons’ lawyers continues to stalk the newsrooms of Britain, Europe and America resulting in a crashing failure to join the most obvious dots to at least ask open questions of some of the most influential players affecting our democratic rights.
Rafts of protections for ‘the privacy of the individual’ have been honed and crafted thanks to well-meaning legislation and court precedents over the past few decades, creating a bastion and tool kit for those able to hire legions of lawyers, too often thanks to questionable sources of cash.
Such support is not available to the vast majority of folk in whose name these ‘individual protections’ were created, simply because armies of lawyers are extremely expensive. The average politician, celebrity, journalist or other ordinary person caught up by allegations they think untrue have no chance to defend themselves through such means, whilst the irony is that those who can afford lawyers can also afford to answer back in other ways – not least through the media itself.
Political parties who have failed to address this growing cancer, whilst willingly accepting a slew of cash from the self-same army of dubious billionaires, have now had their noses rubbed in the consequences as Vladimir Putin, who has funded them into this opiate state, threatens NATO and world peace through his blatant, lawless invasion of Ukraine. Their failure to stand up to his subversion fuelled his arrogance.
Yet still the process carries on, despite the existential battle in the heart of Europe and the apparent unity against the forces of aggression and corruption. Notable Putin connected oligarchs with special friends have remained unscathed, and news organisations still tiptoe in agony least they be found not to have twisted themselves into sufficient knots to accommodate the sensitivities of the rich and powerful before publishing important facts. Meanwhile, the same media continue to tread on the sensitivities of the less well off without a thought.
Without a free media, is there at least some agency – perhaps a government security regulator – to vet vast investments that appear potentially to be connected to outfits like the Kremlin, often taking a stake in our most sensitive democratic institutions?
We are left to hope so, given that whereas in the past the media was there to draw attention to such matters that process is now clogged.
In just one example today, Bloomberg has drawn only veiled attention to a ‘mysterious investor’ backing the move by the contrarian business titan, Elon Musk, to buy over Twitter – arguably the most influential agency in our democratic communications sphere of current times.
The present ownership has banished the insurrectionist former president Trump from the medium following his blatant falsehoods, incitements to violence, spread of hatred, targeting of individuals and seditious language.
However, as has been fully proven by official intelligence reports of the United States and by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Kremlin backs Trump as its chosen occupant of the Whitehouse. Musk has made clear his prime ambition is to return the troublemaker to Twitter’s platform – it is the main reason for his gambit to buy it up.
Hence, the significance of Bloomberg’s gentle nudge on who exactly is backing Elon Musk to the tune of hundreds of millions to perform his buy-out. The top investors include, according Bloomberg, one Alexander Tamas a youthful character who has somehow drummed up a multi-billion dollar fortune in his 43 years. Bloomberg describe him as ‘secretive’: “Psst…wanna know more about Elon Musk’s mysterious backer?” they query:
Elon Musk counts a secretive $5 billion fund among his backers. Vy Capital—whose main website consists of one page, with no address and no contact details—has committed $700 million to finance Musk’s Twitter bid, making it the third-biggest outside equity investor. Founder Alexander Tamas has a history of connecting himself to some big names.
If you’re wondering what’s the latest with the deal. Twitter’s top lawyer reassured staff that the sale to Musk is still progressing, and a shareholder vote will take place in late July or early August, people familiar said. [Bloomberg]
The article goes on at length to outline Tamas’s multiple investments and also his pivotal early partnership with a mentor investment tycoon that most have not hesitated to associate with Russia and the Kremlin.
“Tamas has a history of connecting himself to big-name investors. Before setting up Vy, he worked closely with Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner and now appears to be cultivating links to Musk”, Bloomberg acknowledges.
Milner’s own financial muscle owes to major Russia based investments such as Digital Sky Technologies (DST) and the Russian internet company Mail.Ru – you don’t conduct major business in Russia, it is now at least well understood, without the direct support, collaboration and commanding authority of Vladimir Putin.
However, Bloomberg does not directly refer to such indelicate assumptions whilst lacing the article with further references to Russian connections for those with time to read between the lines. Joining the dots with other credible references to Alexander Tamas’s Vy Capital and his partner Yuri Milner however, produces a troubling profile for the new would-be major player behind Twitter.
Take this profile……:
Vy Capital is a venture firm founded and run by Alexander Tamas who used to be a key dealmaker at DST, Yuri Milner’s Russian venture firm (with “close links to the Kremlin”). Milner was CEO and Chairman of Mail.Ru and became a household name once DST started writing big checks to US startups, notably $200 million to Facebook in 2009 (more on DST).
…. which itself refers to a devastating 2017 Guardian article detailing Milner’s connections to the Kremlin and his investments in Silicon Valley. The ‘Insecurity Analysis’ profile continues to outline how the youthful billionaire Tamas is now himself secretively one of the biggest investors in Silicon Valley, supposedly the tech hub of the free world:
After investing in the hottest startups at the time, DST’s third partner Alexander Tamas was blessed with this quote by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz:
“He (Alexander Tamas) is Yuri Milner’s human supercomputer. The investing whiz has placed some of the most impressive investment bets in the history of our industry, including Facebook, Zynga, Groupon and Twitter. He is a walking encyclopedia of Internet business models and strategies. He’s on speed-dial for everyone trying to build the most successful, highest-scale, global Internet companies today.”
So, if Bloomberg seems plainly uncomfortable to openly join the dots that are available through searches of existing reputable news reports, what happens to the likes of Sarawak Report who just asks the questions raised by such connections?
And if the media cannot highlight these matters fully for fear of dreaded legal onslaughts, are US government agencies filling in these gaps to protect their democracy under assault from the inside and the outside… now that the media can no longer properly do its job thanks to the need to protect the privacy of the powerful?