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Report Links Putin to Dresdner

Published: March 1, 2005 (Issue # 1048)


MOSCOW - The head of Dresdner Bank in Russia, Matthias Warnig, has built his career on his personal relationship with President Vladimir Putin, whom he first met while the two men served as secret agents in East Germany, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing former colleagues of both men.

During his time as an agent for the Stasi, the East German secret police, Warnig first met Putin, who was serving as a KGB agent in East Germany, and helped him recruit spies, the paper reported.

Later Warnig opened Dresdner's St. Petersburg office in 1991 and oversaw the bank's awarding of high-profile government contracts such as the valuation of Yuganskneftegaz last year. Warnig maintained a close relationship with Putin, who worked as St. Petersburg's liaison to foreign businessmen in the early 1990s, once intervening to fly Lyudmila Putin to Germany for medical treatment on the company's dime, the paper said.

In 1993, City Hall assisted Dresdner in opening a joint venture branch with Banque Nationale de Paris in the massive former German embassy on St. Isaac's Square, the Journal reported.

Earlier this month, Warnig was nominated to the board of the state-owned energy behemoth Gazprom.

Although neither man has been accused of business improprieties and Dresdner appears not to have violated Russian law, the paper said their relationship "underscores the shadowy interplay between businessmen and former intelligence operatives in today's Russia."

Neither the Moscow office of Dresdner Bank nor a Frankfurt-based spokesman for its investment banking arm Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein could be reached for comment Thursday. The Kremlin press office said nobody was available for comment.

Retired Dresdner CEO Bernard Walter, who headed the bank's Eastern European operations in the early 1990s, told the Journal that he would not have hired Warnig had he known of his Stasi past.

In an interview published in the online version of Germany's Manager magazine, Walter said that years after being hired, Warnig alluded to a Stasi connection but that German investigators later dropped the case.

As for Warnig's connection to Putin, Walter dismissed the report that the two men had first met in their capacity as secret agents.

"Mr. Warnig told me clearly that he met Mr. Putin for the first time in his life in 1991, when I sent him to St. Petersburg," Walter said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during today’s FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Today’s event will discuss the BBC Two documentary “Victorian Farm Christmas.”



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



To have your event included in All About Town, email tot@sptimes.ru



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