Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has died, allegedly a suicide because he had investments in Cyprus.
Berezovsky was, um, an interesting figure. In 1996, Forbes published an article about him titled "Godfather of the Kremlin?" -- the subtitle of which was "Power. Politics. Murder. Boris Berezovsky could teach the guys in Sicily a thing or two." Berezovsky didn't like the article's insinuation that he was involved in the murder of a Russian TV producer; he successfully sued, and Forbes denied linking him to the killing. The article's author, Paul Klebnikov, was subsequently murdered in Moscow.
Berezovsky also had business dealings with Neil Bush. From The Washington Post in 2005:
... 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.Ignite profited from the No Child Left Behind law Neil's brother George W. signed when he was president, as the L.A. Times reported in 2006:
The visit to the former Soviet republic earned lots of media attention in Eastern Europe and provoked an international incident....
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....
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....
A company headed by President Bush's brother and partly owned by his parents is benefiting from Republican connections and federal dollars targeted for economically disadvantaged students under the No Child Left Behind Act.The links to Neil's brother Jeb are harder to pin down, but Jeb has denied that Neil is profiting from Jeb's decision as governor to stress a standardized test for which Neil's company produces prep software. Oh, and Neil's company is called Ignite!, while Jeb's Foundation for Excellence in Education says its mission is to "ignite a movement of reform to transform American education."
With investments from his parents, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, and other backers, Neil Bush's company, Ignite! Learning, has placed its products in 40 U.S. school districts and now plans to market internationally.
At least 13 U.S. school districts have used federal funds available through the president's signature education reform, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, to buy Ignite's portable learning centers at $3,800 apiece.
If I had to bet, I'd say Jeb probably won't ever become president. But I could imagine him becoming secretary of education in a Rubio administration. And if he gets that gig, this is what I'll be thinking about.