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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MAILBOX: Shame on You Mr. Fyodorov, From an Old Friend

In response to recent comments by ousted tax chief Boris Fyodorov that the International Monetary Fund should withhold further loan disbursements to Russia:

Dear Boris Grigoryevich,

I have known you for a number of years. Throughout this time I have followed your career with great interest. I have had the highest respect for your professionalism and for your judgment.

But today I am very disappointed. I have just read in Thursday's issue of The New York Times your advice and admonishment to the IMF not to provide further financial aid to Russia. SHAME!

You say: "The IMF should learn a lesson from the past five years. The IMF was pretending that it was seeing a lot of reforms in Russia. Russia was pretending to conduct reforms. The Western taxpayer was paying for it."

Have you forgotten that in the very same past five years you had been twice a senior member of the government? Indeed a minister of finance and until a few days ago, a deputy prime minister? You were even a member of the Kiriyenko government on that day of infamy, Aug. 17, 1998 f a day, which will go down in history, when the most stupid economic decision was ever taken by a government of Russia. A decision that has adversely affected and impoverished millions of your own countrymen.

Steven Low,

General Director Prima Industries Moscow

Mutual Funds Live On

In response to "Crisis Kills All but One Mutual Fund," Sept. 30:


As the manager of one of the domestic mutual funds mentioned in your article, I was disappointed to read the specious and inaccurate comparisons made by your reporters between PIFs and Russia's defunct pyramid schemes. Domestic asset management companies bear no resemblance to the illegal schemes of the early 1990s, which deliberately stole money from their clients. PIFs, by contrast, were created to give Russian investors the opportunity to invest in transparent, well-regulated, long-term savings vehicles run by licensed professionals. By law, no promises are made about future gains, and the investment risks are clearly spelled out for all investors in published documents.

It would be unrealistic to expect that the equity market slide and GKO default would not have a negative impact on every aspect of the financial markets, including investment funds. Many funds such as ours attempted to minimize risks by investing in sovereign debt f as a rule the least risky form of investment in a volatile market.

The default and protracted debt restructuring process led the Federal Securities Commission to temporarily suspend the sales and redemptions of a number of funds. The industry has not been "killed" and no investors were "cheated" as your article appears to suggest. Once debt restructuring has taken place the commission should allow these funds to resume normal operations.

Since it will be some time before the Russian government and Russian companies can raise capital abroad, it is even more important now that the country mobilizes its internal savings of between $35-40 billion. We believe mutual funds offer Russian investors good long-term savings opportunities and Russian companies a much needed source of capital.

Dominic Gualtieri


We at Fleming-Guta Asset Management agree that the mutual fund industry has been hit by the financial crisis and that only a few mutual funds will survive it. We also agree that the resignation of Federal Securities Commission chief Dmitry Vasilyev will not help our industry's activities. However, given the strict rules that govern Russian mutual funds we disagree with Beth Hebert that without him "...Russia will be back to pyramid schemes." The rules are here to stay, as are the strong staff of the commission.

Most importantly, however, we strongly disagree with your headline. We fully expect our fund to close its initial placement this month as planned and required by the commission, and know that others such as Templeton also plan to remain in the Russian mutual fund business and expand.

Jan Hochtritt

No Excusing Clinton

In response to "Clinton Pales Before Legacy of Deception," Sept. 30:


The "everybody does it" defense Richard Shenkman espouses in this column is one familiar to every parent. My response to it is the same as to my children: "If everyone were to jump off a cliff, would you also?" That other presidents have lied and gotten away with the lie is no excuse if U.S. President Bill Clinton has committed perjury. Perjury isn't about sex, it's about lying. The desire to keep questionable behavior private by denial is understandable, but not acceptable, when sitting in front of a federal grand jury under oath. As uncomfortable as telling the truth may be, it then becomes a crime to lie. The office of the president carries enormous prestige and responsibilities. One of these is to follow the law. I don't know about Mr. Shenkman, but I expect at least that much from my president.

Elizabeth McCarter