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Missive from FIDE

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FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has issued the letter you'll find below. It's a mini state of the union address with more spin than content. Mentioning FIDE's work with the ACP is a good sign. Not long ago they wouldn't even acknowledge the existence of the players' group.

This newfound call for suggestions from someone long prone to unilateralism is doubtless a consequence of the serious support being shown for an alternative ticket, likely led by Anatoly Karpov. Ilyumzhinov's comment about having "the full support of the Russian Government" is no doubt directed toward blunting opposition momentum, but last I checked Putin didn't have a vote, only a veto. Other items in the release sound like they've actually been listening to the many complaints regarding professionalism and corporate sponsorship and the lack thereof. But a press release doesn't mean action.

The putative opposing ticket may run into trouble if Karpov's name continues to be involved in a Russian banking scandal. Two people have sent me items from the Russian press about a fraud affair over a bank of which Karpov is/was (honorary?) chairman. More details if I get a decent translation, but it seems incredibly unlikely that Karpov could be in any way liable. Celebrities are often on dozens of boards with little or zero contact with operations.

[As released September 12, 2005, from the FIDE secretariat to all member federations.]

I am happy to report that FIDE has successfully concluded its 76th Congress in Dresden, excellently hosted by the German Chess Federation and the Organizing Committee of the 2008 Chess Olympiad. Several major issues were on the agenda; among them the World Chess Championship, the Women's World Championship, the forthcoming Chess Olympiads, decisions towards securing the highest standard for all FIDE events, protection of our titles and rating systemís credibility and other important subjects such as the development of chess in schools and the instructional system of trainers worldwide.

During the last two years FIDE has improved significantly its performance in several aspects: operational costs have been greatly reduced with a parallel enhancement of FIDEís productivity in its day-to-day function. At the same time, income for FIDE has steadily increased. Concerning our World Championships, over 3,500,000 USD have been raised as prize funds and soon we hope to secure the funding of the World Cup for a further 1,700,000 USD. FIDE has also obtained organizers for our Chess Olympiads up to 2008 and several countries are preparing their bids for 2010!

I know that there are still many issues that require co-ordination and improvement. These will be addressed during the coming period. As many of you may already know, I announced in Dresden my readiness to seek a new term of office as FIDE President during the next General Assembly. As the leader of Kalmykia, a republic of the Russian Federation, I have also obtained the full support of the Russian Government before making any such decision. We have important work to do and I see the need for all of us to further strengthen our efforts in order to achieve the highest level of professionalism for FIDE towards securing permanent corporate sponsorship. Though many steps have been made lately to improve FIDE's effectiveness, I am determined to do my best to further develop the variety and quality of the services provided by the FIDE Secretariat in Athens and the FIDE office in Elista.

The active dialogue we have started with ACP (Association of Chess Professionals) will certainly continue and their representatives have already been included in several FIDE Committees and Commissions. Furthermore, reigning World Champions and Women's World Champions have been approved as full members of the FIDE Presidential Board by the recent FIDE Congress in Dresden. My motivation is my optimism for the future of World Chess and to this end Iím also considering certain changes in my ticket to ensure that all of our targets will be successfully accomplished!

I take this opportunity to thank all of you for your vital contributions to worldwide chess development. However, in order to focus on the new challenges, I kindly ask all of you to be my partners in the work that lies ahead of us. I am ready to receive your various inputs and suggestions so that we can work out the best strategy for the years to come. -- Gens Una Sumus! -- Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE President


Hi Mig

thanks for the information. Do you know when exactly the FIDE presidential election is held??

The scandal involving Karpov is somewhat serious. His (as the sourses say, Karpov is its "head", whatever it means) "Arbat-Bank" lost the operating license from the Russian Central bank because of several violations of the Russian law (which could actually be anything from "money laundering" to improperly feeding fishes in the office). They cite one case of "Arbat-Bank" lending someone a total of 22 bln. roubles (something around $900 mln) while having a balance of only 475 mln roubles. On the other hand, these things happen quite often these days, so it is not clear what impact the whole affair will have on Karpov's perdonal well-being and his FIDE campaign. At least, so far I saw/ heard no news on TV or radio, which means people in Russia dont know about it.

The FIDE elction will be during the FIDE General Assembly, end of May 2006. So the election campaigning is just beginning.


Karpov is not just a simple member of the board but the chairman himself of the Board of Directors of Arbat Bank. Here is a translation of the following link: http://news.rusmarket.ru/20050908/73171

8 September 2005

Arbat Bank, where ex World Chess Champion A. Karpov is the Chairman of the Board of Directors, lost its license for money laundering

The Bank of Russia from 8 September has withdrawn the license for bank transactions from the Company ďArbat BankĒ, is in the information by the Central Bank. It has established numerous facts of the violation of the legislation to counteract against the money laundering. The Bank has not been submitting in due course to the Federal Financial Monitoring Service the information on the transactions, subject to obligatory supervision, and did not register any data on the identification their clients-physical persons. There has been absence of the necessary control to create the cashier documents in the bank, and there have been other violations of the bank legislation and regulations of the Bank of Russia, for which the Central Bank has on several occasions implemented various penalties.

During the current year the Bank has provided his clientele the cash monies for the amount more than 22 billion rubles (allegedly for the purchase of the agricultural produce and stock), having at the same time the currency balance of 475 million rubles.

From 8 September in Arbat Bank there is a provisional administration led by the Central Bank representative V. Kalygin.

Arbat Bank was founded in 1994, the initial capital was 40.4 mln rubles. There is no public information on the stock-holders. Anatoly Karpov, ex World Chess Champion, President of the International Association of the Peace Fondations, and the UNICEF Ambassador in Russia and Eastern Europe heads the Bankís Board of Directors.

The fact that Karpov is a Chairman of the Board and not just a member still doesn't mean much. Boards often elect famous men/celebrities (and Karpov is especially famous in his native country)as honorary or official figureheads. The fact that this is the first time we have heard of Karpov's involvement in Arbat Bank, that his chairmanship is not prominently stated in his releases and that there is no indication of precisely how Anatoliy Yevgenyevich himself is involved in the suspected illegal activity are all strong indications to me that this is the case here.


Nobody accepts being a chairman of a bank without accepting the responsibilities. A bank is not a charitable organization or a fun park.

By the way, another good one of Karpov is here: http://www.jmrw.com/Photos/Belfort_Karpov.jpg Karpov with his friend Touze in Belfort during the recent scandalously organized World Youth! Karpov looks very satisfied with the conditions in Belfort indeed! ;-)

Two issues here: one, whether Karpov is legally responsible for the actions of the company, which is something I am obviously not legally qualified to judge, not knowing the bank charter or Russian law, and two, whether Karpov, as chairman, necessarily participated/aided/was aware of the crime being committed. The post could very well have been an honorary nominal position, which had little to no responsibilities. As such, Karpov can not be blamed for what happened. He can, however, be blamed for attaching his name to a shady idea. That sounds like the Karpov we know.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 13, 2005 2:00 AM.

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