Vadim Saranov, Yulia Pelekhova Versiya, May 15-21, 2001, p. 2

One theory says Putin and Clinton made a deal last year about the Kursk submarine, which is now being implemented by President Bush. This allegedly explains why all companies in the salvage operation consortium have their head offices in Texas. This account focuses on the Halliburton company.

We are told that the wreck of the Kursk will be raised. Many Russian citizens believe it. We are told Dutch and Norwegian companies will be involved. Russians believe it. These companies ate Smit Internationale NV, Heerema Contractors, and Halliburton, according to the media.

Are these companies really Dutch? Are they Norwegian? This editorial office has conducted a kind of investigation. These are indeed companies registered in Norway and the Netherlands. But their headquarters, “parent companies”, are located in Dallas and Houston.

Houston is one of the largest military-strategic centers of the United States, home to enterprises and research facilities of the US Navy are located.

Born in Texas

The public learned of the existence of the Halliburton company in October 2000 during the operation in which some sailors were retrieved from the wreck of the Kursk. Russian and Norwegian divers brought back twelve bodies from the submarine. According to the Russian authorities, the operation was a success. The decision to involve Halliburton in the salvage operation was made several months later. The public was told this is a Norwegian company with some American participation. In fact, this is an American company. It has a small office in Norway, as in some other countries. Its head office is at 3600 Lincoln Plaza, 500 N. Akard Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

Shareholders of the company include finance companies which are well known in Russia. They are American Express, Barclays, Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch.

The media described the Halliburton company as small and obscure. However, according to our findings, its top executives have salaries of $1-3 million. This is serious money. Moreover, shareholders include well-known banks. Hence the question: is it really just an ordinary company? How could this small company land a lucrative (although preliminary) contract with the Russian government? Did any famous American banks lobby for it?

According to our sources, calling Halliburton a small company is inaccurate. This company is well known, for example, in the Russian oil sector. Halliburton that was a mediator recently in requesting a $275 million loan for the Tyumen Oil Company. This loan from the US Export-Import Bank could have been the largest in the history of Russian business. However, the loan was refused, and rumors blame BP Amoco, an old rival of the Tyumen Oil Company and Halliburton. This failure did not prevent Halliburton from claiming the role of the largest promoter and lobbyist for Russian companies in the United States. It should be noted, by the way, that the company is not particularly favored by the American establishment.

Two other companies whose services are to be enlisted in the operation in the Barents Sea became known this January. Heerema Marine Contractors is a Dutch subdivision of the Swiss Heerema Holding Company based in the United States. (Americans have their own methods of tax avoidance.)

Its address is US Inc. 17154 Butte Creek, Houston, TX, 77090.

The address of the “Dutch” company Smit International is 411 M. Sam Houston Parkway, Suite 600, Houston, TX, 77060.

What did Putin and Clinton discuss?

Reports on a telephone conversation between presidents Vladimir Putin and Bill Clinton appeared as soon as the Kursk disaster was reported. The CIA director made a quiet visit to Moscow. Observers assumed that the presidents had made some sort of deal. Perhaps even the Navy did not know the contents of the conversation, since it went on promoting the collision theory.

The admirals were soon silenced. It happened while the presidential campaign was underway in the United States. In his interview with a Moscow newspaper, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov recalled the “American link” again – and was reprimanded by Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov immediately. Sources close to the Navy commander-in-chief say Klebanov rather strongly advised Kuroyedov to forget the Kursk. We reported on this at the time.

The salvage operation might have been one of the elements of the Putin/Clinton deal. Something like “you sank it, so now you can raise it”. Is it because of this that the true owners of the “international consortium” are not being disclosed to the public? President George W. Bush “inherited” responsibility for the Kursk disaster. Is it a coincidence that all participants of the “international consortium” are registered in his native state of Texas? Moreover, Vice President Dick Cheney headed the Halliburton company for five years…

Will the Kursk be raised?

In the middle of March, Klebanov announced that the operation in the Barents Sea would be postponed from July until autumn. Serious financial problems were cited. Klebanov’s statement coincided with a deterioration in diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington, caused by a series of spy scandals. During a trip to Severomorsk, one of our correspondents talked to specialists of the Rescue Operations Directorate of the Northern Fleet. They consider the postponement automatically eliminates the possibility that the submarine will be raised. Bad weather is the major problem. July and August are the best time for the operation.

It seems the Kursk will remain on the seabed.