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30-09-2010
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By JENNIFER GOULD KEIL
Last Updated: 9:23 AM, September 27, 2010
Posted: 3:18 AM, September 27, 2010

A Russian oligarch has seized control of a coveted American asset: beautiful models.

Ford Models, the famed agency that has come to epitomize all-American good looks, is now in the hands of metals billionaire Vladimir Potanin, sources told The Post.

Ford, which has repped Brooke Shields, Christy Turlington, Lauren Hutton and Elle Macpherson, is owned by Altpoint Capital Partners, which, in, turn is owned by Interros, Potanin's holding company.

The Ford family retains about a 5 percent interest in the company, one source said. Ford was launched by Eileen and Jerry Ford in 1946.

Meet The Russian Billionaire Who Just Bought Ford Models
From jezebel.com via Rumor Has it Thread

Quote:
Earlier this week, Vladimir Potanin bought Ford Models. But just who is this billionaire oligarch, media mogul, mining tycoon, philanthropist, and ex-politician? And what's the deal with Potanin's former partner and that whole prostitution-ring scandal?

I didn't know the answers to any of these questions, but turns out Potanin's is a fascinating tale of untrammeled capitalism, chess, and whoring. So, here are 15 Things I Learned On Nexis About Vladimir Potanin, Which I Bet You Did Not Know, Either:

1. His is not a rags-to-riches story. Vladimir Potanin, 51, was born into a wealthy and well-connected family. His father was a high-ranking official with the Ministry of Foreign Trade, and Potanin was largely raised outside of the U.S.S.R. He was educated at an elite Moscow university which groomed the children of top Communist officials for positions within the KGB or within government. Like his father, he began his career at the Ministry of Foreign Trade. His vast wealth originates from two right-time-right-place decisions: to found a company, Interros, in 1991, and a bank, United Export Import Bank (UNEXIM) in 1993. The New York Times reported that in 1993 in Moscow, a bank could be opened by anyone with "about $1.5 million in capital and an office"; UNEXIM soon became Russia's largest private bank. Potanin's partner in both enterprises, at least until a prostitution scandal forced their separation, was Mikhail Prokhorov.

2. Potanin really is extraordinarily wealthy. Interros has at various times accounted for between 2.5% and 4% of the Russian economy. He is ranked number 61 on this year's Forbes list of billionaires, with an estimated fortune of $10.3 billion.

3. Like any oligarch worthy of the name, Potanin sought and attained both political and economic power early on. Potanin and six other oligarchs master-minded Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign, and Potanin joined the government as a sort of handmaiden for the interests of the wealthiest class. His political career culminated in his being named first deputy prime minister under Viktor Chernomyrdin, the Yeltsin-era prime minister who was famous for his near-Dubya-grade gift for malapropisms.

4. The mid-1990s in Russia was a very good time to be in a liquid position. Potanin came up with a little scheme known as the "loans for shares" program that gave Interros some of the state's prime assets. As The South African Sunday Times explains:

In 1995 Potanin exploited his Kremlin ties, setting up what was described as a brilliantly self-serving scheme: Russian businessmen lent money to the cash-starved government in exchange for hugely undervalued shares in valuable state-owned companies.

When the government defaulted on the loans, it allowed tycoons like Potanin to retain ownership of these lucrative assets. These auctions were conducted in some secrecy and the oligarchs were branded the new "robber barons".

Some of the neat stuff Potanin bought? A 51% stake in the Sidanco oil company. Cost? $130 million. Two years later that holding was worth $3.2 billion. And Interros also bought a 38% stake in the mining conglomerate Norilsk Nickel for the bargain-basement price of $170 million. Norilsk Nickel today is worth around $28 billion. Vladimir Polevanov, a government official at the time, explains how Potanin set up the loans-for-shares to enrich himself:


6. So at this point, our man Potanin is into gold, oil, copper, nickel, a little platinum, and a lot of palladium. And banking. The media are next: through the late 90s and early 2000s, Interros added newspapers and television stations to its formidable holdings. Until 2005, Potanin owned the daily newspaper Izvestia. He summarily fired its editor, Raf Shakirov, after Izvestia's coverage of the Beslan school hostage crisis drew Putin's ire. According to the BBC, "Potanin changed his other most prominent paper — the once-politically daring Komsomolskaya Pravda — into a pro-Kremlin tabloid focusing on sensationalism rather than political reporting."

7. When the ruble collapsed, in 1998, UNEXIM Bank "became the first Russian institution ever to default on a Eurobond," wrote the St. Petersburg Times. "But founder Vladimir Potanin just shrugged, telling The Wall Street Journal, 'We like to be first.'" After defaulting on over $1 billion worth of bonds and his depositors' money, Potanin flew 100 of his closest friends to a lavish party in Courcheval, in the French Alps.

8. He's totally one of those middle-aged dudes who thinks a number two cut will camouflage his balding pate.

9. Potanin hosted "Kandidat" (the Russian "Apprentice"). Doesn't he look so impressively stern? Oligarchs-in-training competed for a position at Interros. Potanin was the wealthiest person to host any edition of "The Apprentice" — his fortune dwarfs Donald Trump's. He told unsuccessful contestants Вы уволены. "I want people, in particular the young, to understand that success in life and in business is not manna from heaven but the result of hard work, study and self-improvement," said the oligarch.

10. Potanin has been married to his wife, Natalia, since the early 1980s; they have a daughter and two sons. He keeps his private life verrrrrry private. He lives in an $8 million luxury Moscow apartment in a complex with its own ski run. He also spends a lot of time in the South of France, in London, and in Courcheval. Potanin speaks fluent French and English, but is said to be shy; he is friends with the British Labour politician Peter Mandelson.

11. About that prostitution scandal: in January of 2007, around the time Potanin was receiving the Order of Arts and Letters in France, his business partner, Mikhail Prokhorov, was one of 26 people arrested in Courcheval during a prostitution and sex-trafficking sting. Prokhorov was released four days later; he claimed the women were models, not prostitutes. He was never charged. The scandal was enough to motivate Prokhorov and Potanin to break up their multi-billion-dollar business empire, something which took them 18 months (and several lawsuits) to achieve.

12. Potanin has made himself into something of a patron of the arts. He is said to be a gifted player of chess, and he sits on the board of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. He bought the Kazimir Malevich painting "Black Square" and repatriated it to Russia.

13. That love of high culture did not stop Potanin, in 2007, from paying George Michael $4 million to play his birthday party.

14. "I must understand why people don't like me. I must learn not to be loved," Potanin told the Independent in 2004. The oligarchs are not hugely admired in Russia — might be the whole robber-baron thing, or perhaps the bank default, or just the sheer fact of accumulating so much private wealth in a nation where so many still live in poverty. Perhaps this is why Potanin announced earlier this year that he intends to give the lion's share of his fortune to charity, Warren Buffett-style. (Potanin runs a foundation, too.) He says his kids don't need it: "A million handed over from inheritance helps a person to receive a good education, find employment without haste and find himself. A transferred billion kills him and deprives him of the sense of life."

15. Before that happens, though, he'll take one Ford Models to go, please. Potanin's plans for the New York-based modeling agency — home to Crystal Renn, Anna Jagodzinska, Tao Okamoto, and Carmen Dell'Orefice — are unknown.



Read more: http://jezebel.com/5650485/meet-the-...#ixzz114Ic0Rru


Last edited by agee; 30-09-2010 at 10:12 PM.
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03-10-2010
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Could somebody tell me a bit about OUI Management in Paris? I've never heard of them and since Valerija K & Chloe M are represented there...

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27-10-2010
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from The Imagist:

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. Then there is that clause I noticed in an email I received regarding future legislation on H1-B visas for models. It proposes, " According to this new memo, employer-employee relationship must exist between the petitioner and the person who will benefit from this petition (beneficiary). And, this relationship must continue during the whole period of H-1B employment." What does that mean? Should that proposal go through, a model would now become an employee of the modeling agency with a proper guaranteed salary.( See the profit margin shudder). The idea could be a disaster or it could compel an agency to select with greater care, the models they choose to represent.
comments from readers:
Quote:
The States of NY and Florida's Departments of Labor have long wanted to force the agencies to employ the models and now, finally, they will succeed. There will be tremendous public support for this. While the millions of dollars the agencies have spent fighting this was worth every penny to delay this happening all these years; dawn is breaking on a new day and a new business model for the model business.
Quote:
These new visa requirements will also bring a huge crackdown on girls coming into the USA as "tourists" being told not to travel with their books, agendas, comp cards etc. The immigration officers will no longer turn a blind eye to the obvious lie. When the NY shows are approaching I would expect a great deal of attention will be paid to tall, thin girls on line in various arrivals halls trying to pass as coming to visit a friend or to attend a wedding!!!! The agencies are going to see a big crackdown as well. Spot checks will take place where Immigration will be dropping in unexpectedly to inspect the paper work. Agencies beware of posting your illegals on your websites!!! Uncle Sam is watching!!!!!! Even in Florida !!!!!
wonder if this could happen.

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27-10-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fontenrose View Post
wonder if this could happen.
I'd say, not likely... It's a huge business with lots of tax free money. Hopefully they will find a way to work it out. Or NY will become the 2nd Paris with models earning 32% from gross...

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27-10-2010
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It seems like this mostly applies to models who are not citizens - at least the first and third comment, I don't understand the second comment. If you are a US citizen, the existing set up where the model is an independent contractor is not affected, right?

What about non-U.S. citizen models who are not based in the US but come here for shows and photo shoots, off the top of my head Lara Stone and Jourdan Dunne come to mind, and presumably this also applies to a lot of the younger models like Jac and Barbara Palvin? I am not asking about these specific models, I am just providing their names as an illustration.

Was there a big issue with models earning money in the US and not paying taxes on her earnings?

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27-10-2010
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Well, I don't really know whether it's all been invented by the journalists or not. If they come to the French model of employer-employee relationship, the working visas would be needed for everyone who does some public job like shows. Direct bookings don't count of course.
Re the taxes, I meant only that there's a huge lobby in this business because it seems that money-laundering is not so uncommon here. And lots of wealthy guys are interested in keeping NY fashion market alive. Which probably won't be the case if they do such a trick as all the additional expenses will be finally covered by the models' net earnings.

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29-10-2010
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Regarding Visa, it is interesting to know that the agencies who works in the strightest way has always invested in work visa even for a brand new face coming to test.
some other agencies, strangely the same who has their board fullfilled by girls poached here and there take usually the risk to start to make the work the girl just on tourist paper.
It did not happaned to NY directly, but as her great NY mother agenct who had poached her had also decided that theey could send her to tokyo as they thought, i know a lithuanian girls that 2 years ago, spent 2 days locked by the customs in Tokyo airport before to be sent home...

To work in NY with no visa is a real risk since always, there is nothing new in that, but some agencies will still play with the risk anyway...

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07-11-2010
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I have a question about Taiwan agencies. Which agencies in Taipei are trusted and which are totally mistake and don't recommended for young models, especially on first contracts? Some girl on my "home" forum at promodels.pl wrote this year in some thread words "never again Taiwan, massacre", "apartments? massacre" and I found via Google information about two other not happy opinion's from our Polish girls from few years back (2007) about Taiwan and modeling (also "never again Taiwan!"), but all these girls always doesn't give any agencies names - is it top secret or what? I know only that DOLLS agency is very good and trusted.

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07-11-2010
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fritmayo,
Everything that you say is very correct but we're living in a real world. I have to remind you that unlike O1 visas (which could have been started only to the girls with some editorials in their books), H1B visas are 2 times more costly and are not given to everyone who applies - it's a lottery. And I wouldn't call it a wise investment - to waste 5000-6000 on a girl that finally may never be able to come as she may not receive a visa.
Btw, I'll have to disagree about the agencies in NY that are willing to invest in the working visas from the very start: never met this actually, all of them are OK to have a girl on a tourist visa for starters.
As for your example re Tokyo, well, everyone has to use some brains after all. Otherwise one has to be ok with all the consequences. A Japanese visa doesn't cost a penny, the only reason for not getting a working one is to come 1 week earlier.

mkamelg,
Taiwan is one place where the models come with a working visa which is really difficult to receive. Especially having in mind, that all the girls younger than 20 are cosidered minors there. Thus the girls are pretty legal in Taipei and usually the agencies treat them just ok. You take any model agency in the world and you will always find the models that didn't like it there. Unless you know the reasons for them to be unhappy (maybe, if they had earned 15.000 USD into the pockets in 2007, they wouldn't have been unhappy), there's really nothing to discuss. Actually to depend on some rumours with your choice is really strange, you've chosen already your mother agent so it's up to him to see that everything runs smoothly. And if you're not sure that he's capable of doing his job well enough, maybe it's the right time to look for the better one, not to start doing his own homework.

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08-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkamelg View Post
I have a question about Taiwan agencies. Which agencies in Taipei are trusted and which are totally mistake and don't recommended for young models, especially on first contracts? Some girl on my "home" forum at promodels.pl wrote this year in some thread words "never again Taiwan, massacre", "apartments? massacre" and I found via Google information about two other not happy opinion's from our Polish girls from few years back (2007) about Taiwan and modeling (also "never again Taiwan!"), but all these girls always doesn't give any agencies names - is it top secret or what? I know only that DOLLS agency is very good and trusted.
I would say that there are 3 which are really good, Dolls, FMI and Fashion (who also run sisters agencies "newface" and "queens")
I know Dorian models ran bankrupt around 2008 and the last months of their existence have been very hard for their models still in town (for exemple appartments owner coming everyday to ask money to girls for the rent caus agency did not pay him...) but it was exeptional situation in an agency who previously was quiet OK but who finally died leaving of course bad experiences to their last girls.
Just notice that lik everywhere in asia, the gap between the good and the bad agencie are really bigger than in Europe, so it is obviously possible to arive in bad agency there, if your mother agency is not carefull with who they work.

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08-11-2010
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[quote=sleb;8214665]fritmayo,
Everything that you say is very correct but we're living in a real world. I have to remind you that unlike O1 visas (which could have been started only to the girls with some editorials in their books), H1B visas are 2 times more costly and are not given to everyone who applies - it's a lottery. And I wouldn't call it a wise investment - to waste 5000-6000 on a girl that finally may never be able to come as she may not receive a visa.
Btw, I'll have to disagree about the agencies in NY that are willing to invest in the working visas from the very start: never met this actually, all of them are OK to have a girl on a tourist visa for starters.
As for your example re Tokyo, well, everyone has to use some brains after all. Otherwise one has to be ok with all the consequences. A Japanese visa doesn't cost a penny, the only reason for not getting a working one is to come 1 week earlier.

quote]

I was thinking about 01 visa, as in fact in my experience it is not really often that a NY agency will start with a european girl of really zero experience anyway. As you said 01 normally needs some stuff already, but if application well prepared we usually can get it with things which can be srill considered like new face stuff, local edito, good test, set card....
But even for 01 visa, i have experienced agencies who knew they would have the girl, to try to propose to give in cash to the girl the price of the visa telling them that anyway the agency who does it spend money for nothing and just waist time...

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08-11-2010
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Well, anyway now it's all in the past as O1 visas are not issued to the models anymore. So there's actually a pretty nasty choice: B1/B2 or H1B...

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08-11-2010
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There's no disadvantage to the agency to tell a girl to come in to the U.S. as a tourist, but if she answers a question wrongly on the way in she'll be tossed out and flagged for life, which means extensive questioning each visit and maybe no visa later. I doubt any agency tells the girl that side of things.

If the IRS or U.S. Immigration wanted to start making trouble for models once they are in the country they easily could look on the agency web site and check it against a list of visas. That would be much, much more serious. They just haven't bothered. The Imagist seemed to be saying that someone has received a warning.

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08-11-2010
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Well, it may be pretty difficult to figure out the full names of the girls just having their nicknames from the websites Also here and there the girls were caught in NY and were deported home. Also the girls pretend that they do not work but come for shooting tests and seeing the key clients - there's nothing illegal in this. As they don't actually receive the money other than in form of an advance from the agencies, well, that's ok also.
I mean I believe that in fact that wasn't thus easy to screw all of them as you put it. But if they change the rules, well, it may be otherwise.
Anyway, as I said before, I doubt it that the whole NY fashion industry will be transferred to H1B visas. It just doesn't make sense to me, considering the increasing amount of free jobs for the new face models and the falling rates for the paid ones.

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09-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fritmayo View Post
I would say that there are 3 which are really good, Dolls, FMI and Fashion (who also run sisters agencies "newface" and "queens") [CUT]
Thank you very much for your valuable opinion.

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