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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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