Music’s Mystery Mogul: Len Blavatnik, Trump and Their Russian Friends | Hollywood Reporter – Oct. 2018 |

In May 2013, Martin Scorsese went to the Cannes Film Festival — not to be feted but to pitch a project: Silence, his not-exactly-commercial saga of two priests in 17th century Japan. The director had dinner aboard billionaire Len Blavatnik’s 164-foot yacht, Odessa, named for his birthplace in Ukraine. Scorsese and Blavatnik then headed to a lavish party hosted by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, owner of the English Premier League’s Chelsea F.C., who, like Blavatnik, had made his fortune following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Abramovich was hosting director Baz Luhrmann, whose The Great Gatsby was having its premiere at the festival. One observer was struck by the scene: “Len got to arrive with his prestigious guest and Abramovich was there with his, so it was oligarchs showing their connections.” Now, sources say, Blavatnik is negotiating a major multiplatform deal with Luhrmann, and Warner Bros. plans to make a long-gestating Elvis Presley film with the Australian director, presumably with Blavatnik’s backing.

The use of the O-word would annoy Blavatnik, 61. The press-shy billionaire has long maintained that he’s not an oligarch but a naturalized American citizen who emigrated from the Soviet Union [Ukraine] as a young man of 21 in 1978. Nonetheless, he has found himself on the radar of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to ABC News. Amid the drumbeat of the probe of Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. election, Blavatnik is on a quest to achieve his stated goal of building a “media platform for the 21st century.”

Continued below the fold …

Ignoring the Blavatnik origin story may become a little tougher, however, as he is one of several U.S. citizens with deep foreign ties who have attracted Mueller’s attention by donating millions to GOP causes in the past few years. Foreigners are not permitted to make such donations, but as American citizens, billionaires like Blavatnik can.

Starting in the 2015-16 election season, Blavatnik’s political contributions “soared and made a hard right turn,” according to an analysis by business professor Ruth May in The Dallas Morning News. In that cycle, he contributed $6.35 million to Republican candidates and incumbent senators. The biggest beneficiary was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose Senate Leadership Fund received a $2.5 million donation followed by another $1 million in 2017. Blavatnik or Access gave generously to PACs associated with Sen. Lindsey Graham ($800,000) and to Sen. Marco Rubio ($1.5 million).


At a glance, Blavatnik not only is a wildly successful businessman but a philanthropist who has made huge donations to uni­versities, including $117 million to Oxford (the university’s School of Government building, completed in 2015, bears his name). Oxford’s press release announcing the gift obligingly described Blavatnik as an “American industrialist and philanthropist.” That gift drew protests from a group of more than 20 critics, including academics and activists, who argued that Oxford should “stop selling its reputation and prestige to Putin’s associates.”


Perhaps it was through Blavatnik’s visits to the Cannes Film Festival that he met other regulars, including Brett Ratner and future Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (who now wields considerable influence in determining which oligarchs will be subject to sanctions). Both Ratner and Mnuchin frequented Blavatnik’s yacht. In 2013, Ratner founded RatPac Entertainment with Australian billionaireJames Packer. (A source says Blavatnik was an investor from the beginning.)

Sir Michael Pakenham

Since retiring from the Diplomatic Service, Pakenham has been chairman of Pakenvest International; senior adviser to Access Industries; non-executive director of the Westminster Group; a trustee of Chevening House; and a lay member of the governing Council of King’s College London (and its Vice-Chairman since 2009).

Sir Michael Pakenham’s 70th birthday {photo’s attendees)

Access Industries

Len Blavatnik founded Access Industries in 1986 as an investment company. He attended Harvard Business School while running the company on the side, graduating with an MBA in 1989. Among its early investments, Access Industries helped form the large aluminum producer Siberian-Urals Aluminium Company (SUAL) in 1996, which later became part of UC RUSAL.

In 1997, Access acquired a 40% stake in the Russian oil company TNK. Half of TNK was sold to British Petroleum (BP) to form TNK-BP in 2003, in what was the largest-ever foreign investment in a Russian company. In 2013 Rosneft acquired TNK-BP for $55 billion, with Access Industries selling its stake and Blavatnik collecting US $7 billion for his share of the oil venture. The Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) part of the deal will share the cash pot between Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, all of whom emerged as tycoons after the Russian privatisations of the 1990s.

Khan, who effectively heads TNK-BP and is Fridman’s partner in the Alfa Group consortium, sought advice and broached potential partnerships.

Rusal with Oleg Deripaska  settles dispute in London Arbitration Court with shareholders Glencore, Victor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik (2013/14)

Since 2013, Access Industries has owned Clal Industries Ltd. (CII), an Israeli industrial investment group. Among CII’s main investments are Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises, Hadera Paper, Golf & Co., Clal Biotechnology, and the logistics group Taavura. Also since 2013, Access has owned a significant interest in EP Energy, a North American oil and natural gas producer with a portfolio of fields in the United States and Brazil. On August 18, 2017, Access Industries and a consortium of investors agreed to acquire the energy company Calpine Corporation for $5.6 billion.

Negotiations Underway to Sell Control of Channel 10 to Jewish Billionaire Len Blavatnik | Haaretz – Nov. 2013 |

Billionaire’s testimony said to shore up Netanyahu bribery suspicions | Times of Israel – Sept. 2017 |

Leonard Blavatnik reportedly confirms tells police he only purchased shares in Channel 10 after PM intervened

The recent testimony of a British-American billionaire in a corruption investigation into Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly “significantly” strengthened suspicions the prime minister received bribes from an Israeli-born Hollywood mogul in exchange for advancing his interests.

During his testimony, which took place a few weeks ago in London, Leonard Blavatnik confirmed to police that a media company he partly owns only purchased a controlling share in Channel 10 after he was approached by Netanyahu, Channel 2 news reported.

Police are said to be investigating whether the prime minister intervened in the sale of the Channel 10 shares in order to financially benefit Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and part-owner of Channel 10, who for years supplied Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, with cigars and champagne.

Monday’s report said Blavatnik also told police that as part of Netanyahu’s involvement in the deal, the prime minister requested he make an offer for the shares and sent his aide Ari Harow to meet with him.

Harow, who was then Netanyahu’s chief of staff, turned state’s witness in August in a that investigation, known as Case 1000, and a second probe, Case 2000.

In Case 1000, Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably the cigars and champagne from Milchan.

Milchan, who was recently questioned under caution by Israeli police investigators in London, is reported to have said there was no basis for the bribery allegations against him and that the hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne he gave to the Netanyahus stemmed from his years-long friendship with the family, Channel 2 reported earlier this month.

<< photo >>

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara (C) and their son Yair seen with actress Kate Hudson at an event held at the home of producer Arnon Milchan (right), March 6, 2014. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

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Key words with link to stories/diaries @BooMan/EuroTrib ::

| Oleg Deripaska | Rusal | Victor Vekselberg | Chabad-Lubavitch | Leonard Blavatnik | TNK-BP | Glencore | Felix Sater | Rosneft | Steve Mnuchin  | Alan Dershowith | Binyamin Netanyahu | Unit 8200 | Arnan Milchan | Ukraine Poroshenko |

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