Friday, January 31, 2014

Popular front

Well, hasn't the last week and a half been fun? Ever since Dylan Loeb McClain lobbed his hand grenade into the FIDE Presidential race, we've been entertained by an almost daily cycle of leaks and accusations of foul play.

Now you may think that what we are seeing resembles less a contest to see who can attract most votes than one to see who can buy them, but I say shame on you for such a cynical approach. Why not see it instead as a contest to see who's got the most front?

Front as in nerve. Front as in balls.

Here's three leading contenders from the end-of-January madness. Which of these has the most front?

  • Morten Sand

  • Because it takes a lot of front to have your team make secret agreements with a notorious individual, complain when they are made known and then claim that you yourself are publishing them because of your commitment to the principle of transparency.

  • Nigel Short

  • Because it takes a lot of front, in a controversy about transparency, to boast about bringing a legal case when that case was deliberately hidden, at the time, from the members of the organisation in whose name it was taken.

  • Andrew Paulson

  • Because it takes a lot of front to send other parties' confidential agreements to journalists, and then, when your own confidential agreements are sent to journalists, to shriek that the law has been broken while threatening some people with lawyers and others with expulsion from their posts.

More front than Brighton, all of them. But who's got the most?

[Andrew Paulson index]
[Nigel Short index]


Anonymous said...

It's interesting the spin being put on the Agon agreement that it describes something that has happened. As readers of the ecforum will know, it was established before the leaks that the structure of Agon is 100% ownership by Paulson of the issued shares. What then to make of the "signed" draft? A plausible explanation is that it was a mutually agreed document which was then presented to "the rest of FIDE" for ratification. If that was the case, credit then is due to those in FIDE who rejected the business model of co-ownership as flawed.


Nigel Short said...

You are more than a little credulous, Richard de C. That AP is legally the 100% owner of Agon is not beyond doubt, as the facts are available for anyone who can be bothered to spend 2 pounds acquiring the public records.
However that does not, in any way, preclude the possibility of a side deal. Incidentally, the only legal requirement for such an arrangement is that the Jersey authorities be tacitly informed.

Jonathan B said...

To me (JMGB) the ownership of a company is an inconsequential issue compared with the now established fact of a relationship with Kirsan that was deliberately kept quiet during the ECF presidential election.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame really that the Agon mole didn't manage to get hold of a set of Agon accounts. The flow of funds might have indicated who or what is financing it. In their absence, the presence or otherwise of side deals is speculation.

Someone or something financed Agon for the London Grand Prix, the development work on marketing and ChessCasting and the expenses for the London Candidates over and above those paid for by the Sponsor and paying spectators. The ownership of Agon implies it was AP himself, but in the absence of disclosed accounts, he won't be able to prove this. Nor for that matter will those who believe Kirsan was involved be able to prove the contrary.

It's clear that statements made during the election for ECF President were misleading as to the nature of the business relationship.


Anonymous said...

I don't know who Dylan Loeb Mcclain is, but I'd probably buy his albums.

AngusF said...

@RdC Yes, it would be interesting to see Agon's accounts. Good point.

It would also be interesting to the see accounts and other information for Kasparov Chess Foundation companies. What is the extent of their funding? Who are the Directors? Who are the Shareholders? What contracts have been entered into?... If the Kasparov team purport to be staunch advocates of the principle of transparency, what’s to keep them from providing information?

I don't know why @RdC says ECF election statements were "misleading as to the nature of the business relationship" – presumably between Andrew Paulson and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. If, at the time of the elections, there was no business relationship, is there anything to report?

Jonathan B said...

might knowledge of the deal proposed (but later changed by Kirsan and AP) have influenced the election? Might it have influenced the opinion of the electorate?


If at the time of the elections there was no business arrangement is there anything to report?


Anonymous said...

As one might expect, there is published financial material behind a paywall on the US version of the Kasparov Chess Foundation. You would expect there to be as it has a tax status of being not for profit, akin to a UK charity.

The African version is under South African law

The European version is under Belgian law. I would assume if your Flemish or French were up to scratch that published material on that as well would be available.

Kasparov's private company is Kasparov International Management and that's the one that financed White & Case "on behalf" of the ECF.

Again plenty of material if you can read US legal and financial statements.

So yes, there's plenty of publicly disclosed material about Kasparov finances if anyone wanted a good dig around.


AngusF said...

Jonathan, I'm still not sure.

The electorate might have liked to know but did AP have a duty to tell them? Or, perhaps, did it require the right question to be asked (and then for a frank answer to be given)?

Jonathan B said...

"Did it require the right question to be asked...?"

Well, of course, if you choose not to be interviewed you restrict the questions that can be asked of you.

Did AP have a duty to tell the electorate?

Legally? Presumably not. But if he wanted to be considered trustworthy, I would say yes.