Ukrainian News | 23Nov2005 | Marco Levytsky

Canada rejects Rabinovych visa

(UkrNews) - Canada has rejected a visa application by oligarch Vadym Rabinovych, President of the Ukrainian Jewish Congress.

Rabinovych had been invited to attend a business luncheon sponsored by the Jewish National Fund at Government House in Edmonton, Nov. 17, 2005 but this event was postponed because he had not been granted a visa as of Nov. 16 -- the day before the luncheon was to take place.

According to a spokesperson for the JNF the failure to obtain a visa was due to a "bureaucratic screw up" at the Canadian embassy in Kyiv and the luncheon would be held in the new year.

Asked for a clarification, the Canadian Embassy replied:

"Canada's privacy legislation prohibits the release of information to a third party without the written consent of the applicant. We therefore cannot confirm or deny the existence, contents or outcome of a visa application.

"Any person wishing to become a temporary resident of Canada must satisfy an officer that he or she: will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for his or her stay; will not contravene the conditions of admission; and does not belong in a category of persons inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Where there are eligibility or admissibility concerns, the burden of proof rests with the applicant to satisfy the officer that those concerns have been overcome."

Rabinovych has been barred from entering the United States since 1995.

According to Taras Kuzio, Visiting Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University in Washington D.C., and a former Resident Fellow at the Centre for Russian and East European studies and adjunct professor of the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Rabinovych, in conjunction with arms exporter Viktor Bout, is known to have supplied military equipment to Afghanistan's Taliban regime from 1999-2001.

"A former Soviet air force officer and notorious illegal arms trafficker, Victor Bout runs most of his business operations from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), operating between 40 and 60 aircraft (including the largest Antonio cargo fleet in the world) and employing 300. One of Bout's airfreight companies air-lifted Rabinovych's weaponry from the UAE. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Saqr al Nayhan, former UAE Ambassador to the United States and a member of the UAE ruling family, remains a close business associate of Bout.

"Bout's links to the Taliban go back to the mid 1990s, when a transport plane intended for the Northern Alliance government of Burhanuddin Rabbani landed in Taliban-controlled territory. Bout immediately began selling Rabinovych's arms to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and continued right up to 9/11. British intelligence (MI6/SIS) had been monitoring Bout since 1999," wrote Kuzio in a March 25, 2004 article for the Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor entitled "Loose Nukes and Al-Qaeda".

Rabinovych had also been declared persona non grata in Ukraine in 1999, after he had obtained Israeli citizenship.

According to a July 1, 1999 story in the Kyiv Post:

"The U.S. government revoked his visa in 1995 and placed him on the list of undesirable foreigners for his alleged connections with the Swiss-Austrian firm Nordex, which was accused by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of illegal arms trading and money laundering. Rabinovych denied the allegations at the time, saying he only participated in one Nordex deal as a Ukrainian subcontractor.

"Rabinovych spent nine years in a Soviet prison in the early 1980s. He was convicted on a charge of theft of state property, but was released early. Later, the violation was erased from his record.

"Rabinovych is considered one of Ukraine's wealthiest men. Rabinovych himself has described his wealth as a "mere one or two million."

"His businesses include fur, jewelry and cosmetics trading, banking, investment and advertising. He also owns or is involved in a TV station, several newspapers and a news agency. The Associated Press estimated Rabinovych's annual gross income at $1 billion,"
wrote the Kyiv Post.