Bush's Brother and the Fugitive Russian Tycoon

It sounds like the pitch for a Hollywood comedy.

The younger brother of the president of the United States, seeking to establish himself independently of his more successful sibling, visits a small country in the company of a ne'er do well business partner. Their arrival sends law enforcement, government officials and local reporters into a tizzy, but the First Sibling emerges unfazed and news of his trip goes unnoticed back at home.

But this is no script.

In September, Neil Bush, brother of President George W. Bush, visited Latvia with Boris Berezovsky, a fugitive Russian tycoon who made millions in the violent scramble for control of Russian government assets after the fall of communism. Their mission, according to the Baltic Times, was educational -- promoting teaching software created by Bush's Texas-based firm, Ignite Learning.

The visit to the former Soviet republic earned lots of media attention in Eastern Europe and provoked an international incident. "Much controversy surrounded the meeting, since Berezovsky is wanted for arrest in Russia, and the scandalous Russian businessman, who now lives in London, met with a relative of the U.S. president," said the Baltic Times in its report.

Russian authorities asked Latvia to extradite Berezovsky, who has been indicted in Russia in connection with a $13 million fraud case, charges that Berezovsky says are politically inspired. "The request was ignored by Latvian law enforcement officials," the Baltic Times noted.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow distanced itself from the Neil Bush-Berezovsky visit, according to the St. Petersburg Times in Russia. The State Department denied any "involvement in, or any role in arranging, the activities of these two private individuals in Riga."

Berezovsky depicted himself as a business adviser to Bush, who founded Ignite Learning in 1999. "He asked me to think about possible projects in the regions that I know about." Berezovsky told the St. Petersburg Times.

The whole affair put the Latvian government in an uncomfortable position.

"Even with a partner like Neil Bush on board, Berezovsky's Latvia trip caused Riga's political establishment to sweat," the St. Petersburg Times reported. The Latvian prime minister allowed that Berezovsky's visit posed "a real threat to the Latvian state" by putting it at loggerheads with Russia, its powerful neighbor.

In October, Latvia declared Berezovsky persona non-grata, according to Moscow News. In response, the Latvian interior minister resigned, apparently to protest the capitulation to Moscow. The Baltic Times concluded that "the imbroglio has threatened to destabilize the [government's] ruling coalition."

By then Neil Bush was long gone. Ignite Learning did not return phone messages or e-mails requesting comment.

By Jefferson Morley |  November 28, 2005; 3:46 PM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Further proof, as if we needed it, that the Bushies use their geographic and diplomatic ignorance in the service of enriching themselves.

Posted by: moosetracks | November 28, 2005 04:32 PM

Well, when your product is essentially a projector that plays cartoons of concepts like "penninsula" I guess you've got to do something. Maybe he should try Dilbert's imaginary "Elbonians" next time.

Posted by: asdg | November 28, 2005 04:44 PM

Well, what is a scion of an ologarchy to do?

Hey, everyone else in the family plays the geo-political Noecon game... why not the younger Bush?

Posted by: Typical.. | November 28, 2005 05:21 PM

Could this be the infamous Neil of marital fame?What a pleasure it is to see another Bush spreading Democracy and Capitalist prosperity to our newly Indpendent Baltic States.

Posted by: AlanK. | November 28, 2005 05:33 PM

Neil was also mixed up in the "Loan" scandle??

Posted by: | November 28, 2005 05:46 PM

One more proof that Neil continues to play his role as the Billy Carter of the Bush family. He's been on the shady side of the law for years, going at least as far back as his involvement with the Silverado Savings scandal in Denver in the early 1980s. Sometimes I wonder when the entire family is just going to self-destruct.

Posted by: Scott | November 28, 2005 07:42 PM

I'm beginning to wonder if 'Embarrasing Sibling' isn't an official position in the White House. It seems to have been filled more often than not in the last few administrations.

Posted by: David Patrick, UK | November 29, 2005 05:45 AM

There is nothing more corrupt than the Bush family, they are nothing more than a family of criminals. They have a need to declare that they are Christian, to counteract their dirty deeds and somehow put a wholesome spin on their evil doings. Dad is linked to illegal drugs and has been since the Reagan administration.
I would like to see a true expose of his involvement in the Boys Town pedophilia scandal involving politicians, where he was seen with a young black boy going off to have sex with him.
I remember when a writer a few years ago decided to write a book about George Jr.'s gaffes, a humour book. The longer he worked on the book and looked at his gaffes, he realized he only made them when he spoke of sensitive issues such as human feelings. When he spoke of the military or war there were no gaffes. He realized after much study that Bush is unable to deal with the needs of others or their feelings and fit the profile of a typical sociopath. I think if anybody took a good look at the Bush family, they would see they are a family of sociopaths. Anything goes with them, and they leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of money and power.

Posted by: Gael | November 29, 2005 07:40 AM

To Gael;
I found your letter interesting as my Mom, who's been around a lot longer than me, told me that the Bush's made their first fortune in the Opium business. Hmmm, makes one wonder what's really going on in Afghanistan, folks. She (my Mom) is an avid reader and said this was many years ago just after or during the Ottoman Empire. I think the corruption involving Cheney, the Bushes, and Haliburton, is also way over the top and again shows them as profiting all over the world by the misery of others.

Posted by: sherry | November 29, 2005 01:31 PM

search this:...nazis in latvia...more food for thought

Posted by: el kyle, galveston | November 29, 2005 02:38 PM

Big deal. Roger Clinton did things like that all the time and the press never reported on it. But when a Bush family member does something questionable, suddenly it's front page news.

Posted by: DougJ | November 29, 2005 02:58 PM

Silverado Neil as Berezovsky bellhop - ranks right up there with Jerry Weller, Co-chair of the Western hemisphere subcomittee, marrying Rios Montt's daughter, a most vocal defender of the Guatemalan Brotherhood.

Posted by: Johnson | November 29, 2005 07:23 PM

Doug J. there is a world of difference between the crimes of Roger Clinton, which are fairly small and poorly executed and the powerful Bush family and their drug dealing. The Bush empire spans the globe and controls other countries through the illegal drug movement internationally
and their oil empire. It is like comparing a pea to a mountain.
I am not a fan of Clinton either and there is much evidence that he allowed the South American drug drop offs to happen in Arkanasas while he was governor. The Mina story where the Bush drugs being dropped off in Clinton territory, and two young boys murdered for witnessing it should have been properly investigated. The corruption is too deep in America for the truth to ever see the light of day.
As William Colby, ex director of the CIA said, " The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It is possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." The CIA have been involved in overthrowing democracies to bring in Communist governments because it suited their drug business. This is provable.So much for America spreading democracy around the world, more like spreading a huge drug problem that costs us all.
As one Russian man who lived in America for many years said, "There is propaganda in the U.S. and Russia, the only difference is that Americans believe their propaganda."

Posted by: Gael | November 30, 2005 08:15 AM

I can see a lot of time and energy wasted with the, lefty righty. Democrat and Republican as enemies, helps no one and holds back any real dialogue. I see this as falling into the hands of corrupt government, get the little worker bees to fight amongst themselves and it is corrupt business as usual. To me a two party choice is no choice, you end up with shared buddy corruption playing the game that they are enemies.The little worker bee call each other names, and waste their time and deflect their energy from the real enemy. Rotten corrupt republican and democratic government.
William Colby died a suspicious death at a time he was detailing the Clinton's, " sordid drug, mob, and murder connections." which he detailed regularly in his newsletter, "Strategic Investment." Someone went to the press after the canoeing death of William Colby and said his wife had reported him not feeling well just before he went out in the boat. She denied this after reading it in the press and said he was fine and never mentioned going out in his boat.
The Clintons and the Bush's are two peas in the same pod. Same illegal drug business, same mob connections. This is not an issue between two parties, one evil one not. This is deep and dirty corruption that has global implications.

Posted by: Gael | November 30, 2005 08:44 AM

Looks like Neil Bush is also touring the world with Rev. Moon as a "peace leader."


Posted by: John Gorenfeld | December 2, 2005 03:00 PM

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