A Russian oligarch at the heart of the war against Hydro in Maine

In its fight to bring its clean electricity to Massachusetts, Hydro-Québec has had to face several opponents, including a reputable billionaire close to Vladimir Poutine who is a shareholder of a big player in the gas industry.

Hydro-Québec lost the battle last November. In fact, during a referendum, 59% of voters in the

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The NECEC would have enabled the state-owned company to export 9.45 terawatt hours per year to Massachusetts and generate $10 billion in revenue over 20 years.

Hydro faced some very strong opponents. Calpine, the largest producer of electricity from natural gas in the United States, with a strong presence in New England, did everything to block the project.

The company funded a citizens’ committee, Mainers for Local Power and environmental groups to lead the fight against Hydro.

In this fight to the death, it was ultimately Calpine who won the victory, as did one of its most important shareholders, Access Industries, a company founded by Len Blavatnik.

His name is little known to us, but he is an oligarch close to dictator Vladimir Putin and ousted producer Harvey Weinstein. He owns the 20and world fortune, valued at US$32 billion by the magazine Forbes.

Blavatnik made his fortune after the fall of the Soviet Union amassing several oil and aluminum assets.

In a survey of Daily Beast on the billionaire, Calpine claimed to have “played a minor role” in the win over Hydro in Maine.

Without commenting directly on the actions and role of Russian oligarch Len Blavatnik, Hydro-Quebec said it finds the tactics used by the fossil fuel industry “extremely concerning.”

“By doing so, they are preserving the region’s dependence on fossil fuels, subjecting families to explosions in energy costs, as was the case this winter. It’s shameful,” said Lynn St-Laurent, spokesperson for the Crown corporation.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine destabilized the energy sector pushing gas and oil prices to a peak, reminiscent of the 1973 oil shock.

Also a Canadian shareholder

Another Calpine shareholder, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, also known as CPP Investment, had $900 million in the company in 2018.

“We are minority shareholders in Calpine. We are not aware of anything specific regarding the owners of Access,” said Asher Levine, spokesperson for the Canadian pension fund.

We saw him pose with several celebrities, in Cannes or Hollywood, with Bill Clinton or Prince William. He has been the boss of Warner Music since 2011 and was even close to producer Harvey Weinstein. But who is Len Blavatnik, one of the richest men in the world?

Owner and founder of Access Industries, Blavatnik was born in Odessa, now Ukraine, but part of the Soviet Union when he was born in 1957.

American… and British

In 1978, he emigrated to the United States. He will then obtain a master’s degree from Columbia, an MBA from Harvard, and his American nationality. He is also a British citizen and was considered the richest man in the UK in 2015.

According to several media, Len Blavatnik does not consider himself an oligarch and has often said that he is not a frequent visitor to the Kremlin.

Despite everything, he is considered by some to be close to Vladimir Putin and made his fortune by buying the industries privatized during the fall of the Soviet Union.

He is also on the list of the opponent of the Russian regime, the former world chess champion Gary Kasparov, who designated him as an oligarch.

Trump and the Paradise Papers

His company Access Industries, is an investment company in the field of media and entertainment, in real estate and natural resources, in particular with Calpine, opponent of Hydro-Quebec in Maine.

He is also active in the political field, he has given as much to Donald Trump as to the Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg.

His name was also named during the Mueller investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

In 2017, his name was named in the Paradise Papers revelations.


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