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Quest Means Business

Europe Cuts Aviation Links With Belarus; Big Banks Resist Calls For Racial Equity Audits; Japan Pushes Ahead With Summer Olympics Despite COVID Fears; George Floyd's Family Members Speak After Meeting With Biden; E.U. Imposing New Sanctions On Belarus Over Ryanair "Hijacking"; Bitcoin Back Under $38K After Musk Meeting With Crypto Miners. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 25, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: There's an hour left of trading on Wall Street, and the Dow has dipped into the red as we head towards the

closing bell. In fact, you can see from the day after good gains over the last few days, this is very much a breather. No real direction waiting for

economic or other information, and so you see the market just blissfully bouncing around.

We're also heading into some summertime sessions. But I think that's the main reason, it is just it has run out of steam.

The markets as they look, and the events of the day.

Empty skies over Belarus after the E.U. calls on European airlines to stop flying over the country.

Carlos Ghosn tells me he is ready to face his many legal battles head-on.


CARLOS GHOSN, FORMER NISSAN CEO: I am in a fighting mode. I'm in a fighting mode and I'm going to tell you why.


QUEST: Our exclusive interview with the former Nissan boss now in Beirut.

And one year after George Floyd's death, consider the progress made if such it be by companies addressing racial inequality.

We are, of course, live in New York. Today is Tuesday, May the 25th. I'm Richard Quest. And, yes, I mean business.

Good evening. Today, the skies over Belarus were strangely quiet after its first day without full air links to Europe. The European Union is telling

European airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace, and those airlines, perhaps without any prompting, are doing just that.

The E.U. is also in the process of banning Belavia, the Belarusian national carrier from flying over the E.U. Other countries like the U.K. have done

similar and have forbidden it from flying to London.

The move has a profound effect on the air travel in the region. You can see Belarus there in the middle. It stands at a busy intersection of flights

from Europe to Russia, Asia, and beyond.

You're looking at Flightradar from Friday. That's Friday. Now, look at today's picture and you see that hole in the middle, the empty skies that

was taken today. That was a tweet from the European Council President, Charles Michel. He described what was happening in Belarus as Europe in


That action, the E.U. is demanding that Belarus set free the dissent journalist and his companion who were removed from a Ryanair flight after

it was diverted to Minsk on the false pretense of a bomb hoax.

Fred Pleitgen has been following the story from Berlin.

Now, we have Fred -- I am looking at what the E.U. decided late last night after we'd spoken, so it really falls down to sanctions which they're doing

now, and if you like isolating Belarus. But is it working? Is the pressure -- are they feeling the pressure yet?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they are feeling the pressure, Richard. Whether or not it's going to work

or have any effect, that certainly is a very different matter. First of all, I think you're absolutely right, I think sanctions is a big part of


But I think one of the things that the E.U. has done, which is different than before, is that they are not only -- they don't only want to sanction

individuals, they also want to sanction perhaps parts at least of companies in Belarus entities as they put it.

Some of them affiliated with apparently with what happened in bringing that Ryanair jet down or forcing it to land in Minsk. But some also very close

to the Lukashenko regime as well. And then you're absolutely right, isolating it, to a large extent. Because I've traveled through Minsk many,

many times, and Belavia really is one of the only options that you have out there. I mean, there weren't that many western carriers that were flying

into Minsk before, flying into Belarus before.

And now certainly with, Belavia not able to fly to European Union countries, that is certainly something that will hurt air travelers in that

part of Eastern Europe. So that certainly will have a big effect on Belarus as well.

But I think the big thing that it comes down to is that as long as Vladimir Putin continues to support Alexander Lukashenko, Alexander Lukashenko is

going to remain in the driver's seat. And it certainly at this point in time does not look as though he is going to be willing to give in and set

this journalist free -- Richard.

QUEST: You put your finger on it, the role of President Putin. Now, Putin, I mean, will support Lukashenko. What, in your view, and bearing in mind

you've been a Moscow correspondent, you've been to Moscow. You've spent more time than is honest or decent there.


QUEST: What in your mind, Fred, could get Putin to change his mind and if you like, tell Lukashenko give up here?

PLEITGEN: Yes, I think right now, it would be hard to define anything that might be the case. I think one of the things that we saw last year when we

had those protests going on in Minsk and in other cities in Belarus as well was that the entire situation changed when Vladimir Putin decided that he

was going to support Alexander Lukashenko.

That certainly is something where you saw that the Lukashenko regime then got a lot of strength, not necessarily within the population, but certainly

within the Security Forces, and it really put him back on more of a secure footing.

So, as long as -- as you said, as long as Vladimir Putin is behind Lukashenko, that certainly is not going to change. Now, that does not mean

that there isn't a great deal of tension between these two men. It is certainly not necessarily the case that Vladimir Putin hasn't been

antagonized by Alexander Lukashenko in the past and some of the irrational moves that Alexander Lukashenko has made.

You have to keep several things in mind. First of all, Vladimir Putin does not like regime change, he never liked the idea of a protest movement

possibly bringing down a dictatorship.

And then also, Lukashenko is someone that Vladimir Putin, to a certain extent, can at least count on to not have Belarus ever be in the western

bloc, which is very important to Vladimir Putin, to his security apparatus as well, because one of the things that you do hear a lot in Russia is that

if Belarus were closer to the West, if it even at some point joined the European Union or something, then you would have West very, very close to

the Russian capital, to Moscow, and that's certainly something that Putin also wants to prevent as well.

So, I think right now, Putin stays behind Alexander Lukashenko. I don't really see that changing unless something very, very big happens within

Belarus. At the same time, though, I mean, we have to keep in mind that this is something that does isolate Belarus more and more as well.

QUEST: Fred Pleitgen, who is joining us tonight, thank you.

Now, Latvia's airBaltic was among the first airlines to steer clear of its southern neighbor. The airline flies to more than 60 European cities, and

many of its routes do cross Belarus, you can see form the map there how they would get from A to B.

According to the CEO, the change adds about 10 minutes to a flight time. That CEO is Martin Gauss who joins us now from Riga in Latvia via Skype.

Martin, it is good to have you with us tonight.

How quickly did it take you to make that decision? Because you were amongst the first airlines that basically said we're not flying over Belarus.

MARTIN GAUSS, CEO, AIRBALTIC: Good evening. It happened only 30 minutes from here from our headquarters, and when we heard of that diversion of

Ryanair, we immediately took a decision as a precaution to understand what happened. And we couldn't get at that time any proper information, so we

diverted the flights around Belarusian air space immediately when that happened when Ryanair was still in Minsk on the ground.

And then, it took quite a while until we got confirmation of what happened and until then, we avoided the airspace and now, we're waiting for

authorities to say that we cannot fly there anyway, and I'd expect that to happen tonight.

QUEST: Just do it on a commercial basis, how long can you keep that going? How long can you keep avoiding Belarusian air space without it being a toll

on your airlines?

GAUSS: Of course, it is a cost, it will cost us several million if we have to do that. But we can do that. We have a lot of destinations we can fly

via the north, this is Russia or we go through Poland, Lithuania in the south. It's about 10 minutes. It depends on which destination, and we can

do that.

So we have also a big part of our flights going to the west. So it's not an issue to avoid. Of course, it's a 10-minute delay, and it is a cost.

QUEST: Martin, talk to me about the significance. As an airline CEO, what Belarus did was pretty unthinkable in civil aviation. So how significant is

it from your point of view that the European Union and others send a strong message?

GAUSS: From an aviation, I'm an airline, I'm not a politician, it's a serious issue. Any emergency is serious because life are at risk and we do

not have an official report. We have what Ryanair said and some other sources.

So based on that, I think it's a very, very serious incident if we look at what that flight did and what risk was put at a civil aircraft. And we

shouldn't have that flying because we have global standards in aviation. And if they are not ensured, then something has to happen.

So from an airline point of view, we want to have maximum safety, and flying all over the world has to be safe, and if not, these air spaces are



QUEST: And in terms of how the pilots -- what you would tell your pilots to do in such a situation. Now, you probably haven't thought of this before,

but I'm guessing over the last 24 hours, you and your chief pilot maybe have thought, well, what would we have told our pilots to do? What would it


GAUSS: There are procedures for exactly these cases, so the Ryanair pilots have a checklist for that. We have this checklist on board. The difference

is we would have been able to communicate with our crew if they would have asked what to do. I think that was not the case in Ryanair. But the pilots

had to act if they were intercepted, if that is true, then you as a pilot have to follow that fighter aircraft because you are forced to land.

So, it's clear if on an international flight, if a military aircraft forces you to follow as a civil aircraft, you have to do so for the safety of the


QUEST: Martin, we have a couple of minutes left. I just want to turn to other issues, just particularly, of course, the re-opening of European

travel and the vacation and the holidays. Do you believe you can salvage something in 2021 now major destinations like Portugal, Spain, Greece are

opening up?

GAUSS: Actually, yes, we just had a sales action, the first one starting after the pandemic starting last week and we see a surge in bookings.

Of course, coming from a different level now, but we see exactly the countries you mentioned now there is such a strong demand. And I think the

U.S. has seen that for the domestic market. We see the same here now, and airlines are now adding even flights to what they thought they are going to


So we will see a strong summer as vaccination levels also in Europe are going up. So, we see that and I think it's lasting now if we look at the

last three weeks and the bookings coming in.

QUEST: Good to talk to you, Martin. Thank you for taking time tonight. We will talk more. In fact, we will check in again as the summer moves on. I

want to hear more about how you're doing and how you move fast and how things are going.

Thank you, Martin, joining us this evening.

GAUSS: Thank you.

QUEST: Martin Gauss of airBaltic.

A year and a half after his mysterious escape from Japan, Carlos Ghosn tells me he is still in fighting mode despite numerous legal battles. Our

exclusive interview after the break.

And a year since the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, business is under scrutiny on whether or not they actually have delivered

on the promises around diversity.

One of tech's first black female CEO, after the break, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.



QUEST: The head of some of America's top banks can expect tough questions about equality and diversity when they testify this week before Congress.

The hearing comes a year after the George Floyd murder, which, of course, sparked an international outcry.

Now at the time, there was an overwhelming number of companies. You see them on the screen who voiced support for Black Lives Matter. There was

Morgan Stanley, Peloton, Ben & Jerry's, Airbnb. You see them on the screen.

Amazon pledged to double its number of black directors and vice presidents. It also set goals to make its U.S. workforce more diverse. Other companies

like the bank, Wells Fargo and Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's company have been reluctant to disclose the racial makeup of their staff.

So, here we go. There are only two black chief executives amongst the Dow 30. Kenneth Frazier, the outgoing CEO of Merck, and Rosalind Brewer of

Walgreens Boot Alliance.

Shellye Archambeau is on the Board of several companies including Verizon, Okta, Nordstrom, and is the former CEO of MetricStream, and she joins me


Shellye, I know it takes time for change to take place. But if you bear in mind, let's just say for the point of this, the starting gun was fired or

the promises made after George Floyd's death. Are you satisfied with the progress that's been made?


for having me on. You can't say that you're satisfied with the progress that's been made across the board. I will tell you, though that, there has

been good progress made at some companies. It's like anything else.

Things happen, companies make promises, some actually move forward with executing and stay on task, and others don't. Other priorities come up.

So the key here is not just to make the commitments, but to make sure that you're actually sustaining and following through on those commitments.

QUEST: That, dare I suggest, that in many cases it is lip service over execution?

ARCHAMBEAU: It always starts with verbal promises, and we saw -- you know, many companies made verbal promises. A lot of companies wrote checks. But,

frankly, to make an impact, it takes more than writing checks. It takes actual execution.

And there are companies that are doing it. For instance, Verizon. Verizon, yes, wrote checks, tens of millions of dollars donated towards helping to

drive economic ability and access. But they've also launched an SMB incubator program, right, accelerator program to actually help small

businesses grow and thrive and half of the participants are companies that are run by people who are black.

Nordstrom has committed to half a billion dollars by 2025 to make sure that goods and services come from black designers, creators, or owners and

operators, right, of those countries. And right now they're ahead of plan.

So the key is, you can make an impact, but you actually have to put plans in place. It's just like executing anything else.

QUEST: Right.

ARCHAMBEAU: You want to grow revenue, you have to have a plan and execute on it.

QUEST: But we are talking about change at several different levels, aren't we? The supply chain, the supply lines. You're talking about employees at

the lower level that can work their way through. You're talking about employees in middle management. And then you're talking about the board,

because the leadership comes from the top down.

And I wonder, I would have thought we would have seen more change at the top.

ARCHAMBEAU: Yes. Well, you know, it's interesting. Between, roughly, if you look at the -- I want to say from the years, from 2018 to -- from 2008

rather to 2019, roughly a little over a decade, the percent of black directors rose half a percent from 3.6 percent representation to 4.1


But from last year, from basically that point to now, it has grown an additional one whole percentage point from 4.1 to 5.1 percent, which means

there actually has been gains. Think about it, in one year we grew as much as we had in a decade. Right? So, there is some positive movement.

QUEST: You are on the board of some big companies and they have very -- the agendas are full when you all sit down. Are you a troublemaker on these

boards? Or do you sort of politely say, "Chair, can we look at this?" Or do you thump the table sometimes and say, "This isn't good enough."

ARCHAMBEAU: You know, I think it's important for all Board directors to show courage and use their experience and their background to help the

company execute as well as it can. I'm fortunate, I actually serve on boards where this is a topic that has been in the conversation since before

George Floyd.


ARCHAMBEAU: But the key is not just to make it a topic of conversation, but to actually weave in the focus of diversity both from an employee, a

supplier, a customer, the whole bit, into the actual strategy. When it is part and parcel of the strategy, then it becomes something that determines

metrics that Board directors look at, that companies look at, that employees look at. It becomes part of the measurement system, right?

All of that, you have to make it part of the strategy. Because if it isn't, as soon as something happens in business that causes the strategy to need

focus, then it gets forgotten because it's off to the side.

QUEST: As we come out of the pandemic, where does diversity rest for a Board? I'll be honest here, most Board members won't do full interviews.

They run in the opposite direction at the thought of having to go on the record of some of these things. But if I look at post-pandemic,

sustainability, crucially important. The goals, crucially important. Diversity, crucially important.

But is there a danger you overload the Board's agenda?

ARCHAMBEAU: Again, if you make these elements part of a strategy, then it's not an extra piece, it's just an extension of where you should be focusing

anywhere. On my Boards, ESG, Environmental, Social and Governance is typically where these elements fall, and it is important to set not only

targets, but then actually to hold companies accountable to achieve these targets that they set for themselves and to make sure it's part and parcel

to how people are rewarded and supported as they execute.

QUEST: Good to have you with us. Promise me you'll come back as the year moves on so that we can talk more about it. It's something we follow

closely on this program and we need to hear more about it. And we're grateful to have you back.

ARCHAMBEAU: Well, thank you very much. Thanks so much for having me.

QUEST: Thank you.

Now, Japan says a new U.S. travel advisory won't keep American athletes from competing in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The organizers say the event

will be safe despite the host country's dangerous rise in COVID-19 cases. CNN's Selina Wang is in Tokyo.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. State Department is warning Americans to avoid travel to Japan because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in

the country. It has issued a level four do-not-travel advisory, the highest cautionary level. The C.D.C. says that even fully vaccinated travelers risk

getting and spreading COVID-19 variants in Japan.

The U.S. Olympic Committee says it is confident that its athletes can still safely compete. Japanese officials are downplaying this advisory saying it

does not impact U.S. support for the Tokyo Games.

But the contrast between what Olympic officials are saying and the reality here on the ground is only growing.

Tokyo and large parts of Japan are still under a state of emergency. Only two percent of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated and the medical

system is under strain. In Osaka, doctors are warning of a medical system collapse, with hospitals running out of bed space and ventilators.

At the same time, Olympic organizers are only portraying complete and absolute confidence that these games will go ahead safely.

I recently spoke with the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound, who said he has already bought his ticket to

come to Japan for the Olympic Games. Take a listen to what he told me here.

WANG: Is a cancellation still a possibility?

DICK POUND, MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: None of the folks involved in the planning and the execution of the games is considering

cancellation. That's essentially off the table.

WANG: So how can the IOC guarantee that this is going to be a completely safe bubble?

POUND: Well, nobody can guarantee anything. I mean, let's be reasonable on that, but all the indications, the fact-based indications are that the

bubble can be created and maintained.

WANG: But much of the medical community here in Japan disagrees with that optimism, saying that it is impossible to have a safe bubble with the scale

of the Olympics, and that these games need to be cancelled in order to save lives.

Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


QUEST: And a look at the markets as we come towards the last hour of trading, the last half hour of trading and the Dow has been all over the

place. It's now down just -- off a tenth or so. The NASDAQ has bounced down into negative, but that's about all.

So you get the idea of the impression of the day. It is quite looking for direction -- directionless.

After the break, the fallout from Belarus's midair flight diversion continues. It is promising a strong answer as it holds emergency meetings.

We'll talk about that and hear from Alex Stubb, the former Finnish Prime Minister after the break.



QUEST: It is more than a year since the dramatic escape from a Japanese prison, and tonight, Carlos Ghosn exclusively tells me he is still in

fighting mode despite all his legal woes.

You'll remember, the former Nissan boss was arrested in Tokyo in late 2018 for allegedly underreporting his income and shifting personal losses to

Nissan. He escaped to Lebanon in 2019, absconding from Japan in what some speculate was a box used for musical instruments carried on a private


I met Ghosn in Beirut last year. He told me freedom was sweet. However, bitter, he has continued to face legal battles around the world.

For instance, last week, a Dutch court ruled Ghosn needed to repay Nissan and Mitsubishi six million in wages, and the French taxman has taken

millions more.

Ghosn's former aide at Nissan, Greg Kelly continues on trial, a trial that's lasted months for allegedly helping Ghosn to conceal his


Now, in an exclusive interview, Ghosn told me, he doesn't think Gary Kelly will get justice.


GHOSN: If he had a fair trial, in fact, he should be out already. In fact, I know how they operate taking a lot of time. Why? Because he is pleading

not guilty.

If he was pleading guilty, the trial would have already taken place, the judgment already rendered. But this is part of what has been called by the

United Nations the hostage justice system.

I mean, you keep the person particularly when he dares saying that he is innocent a very long time, you know, and then you have always the

possibility at the end to be found guilty against all the evidence.

Don't forget that in Japan, the prosecutor win the case in 99.4 percent of the cases -- 99.4 percent. And you know how they justify it? They say, we

do well our job, which means that the defense is nonexistent.


QUEST: You've written a book, there's a documentary and a movie. And -- about you and your life. If we look at the book, what's its purpose?

GHOSN: Look, I've been incarcerated abruptly in November 2018. Between November 2018, until the time that I got out from Japan, which is December

2019, I was not able to open my mouth. When I decided to make a press conference, they rearrested me before the press conference. So the -- I --

during 13 months, you had the one voice coming from the prosecutor, Nissan, part of the Japanese government, relayed by some financial companies.

That's the only story you heard. And so for me, it was extremely important to tell my side of the story that has been postponed for such a long time.

You know, I've been treated in such a way.

So obviously (INAUDIBLE) said that or you said that or he said, he said not. Wait a minute, the United Nation as a council of experts in the United

Nations said that my arrest has been arbitrary that my human rights have been violated.

They asked Japan to make an investigation about how something like this can happen in Japan. And they asked them to compensate me but obviously

Japanese authority did not answer that and said it's not -- they're not bound by this.

QUEST: What about the escape? What can you tell me?

GHOSN: Well, again, I mean, a lot of things have been said already. I mean, a lot -- a lot of secrets, Richard. I didn't talk too much about it,

because I didn't want to incriminate people about, you know, helping into the escape. So that's why I am being mute on it. But there have been a lot

of descriptions about how things happen. And hopefully soon, you'll see much more details that should appear into a movie that will come out with

all the details.

QUEST: Was it a mistake to bring that case in --

GHOSN: Not at all. No, that's all. I think we believe that in the appeal, I've been told that that will have to listen to witnesses, will not be -- I

showed as a candidate to be witness, we gave a lot of names of people who should be witnesses, nobody was invited to talk, the judge just it on the

document which have been submitted, which obviously -- were extremely rich from the Nissan side. But from our side, we didn't have any because we have

been cut from the documentation.

So, you know, this is -- we lost the first battle, we didn't lose the war. But then this is going to go to appeal and appeal the fact --


QUEST: There we leave the interview with the Carlos Ghosn. To the White House where the family of George Floyd, the -- now speaking, I'm wondering



PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I'm just thankful as well what's going on, and we just want this George Floyd policing act to be passed in

the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any -- could I ask you real quickly, sir? I'm asking --


FLOYD: No, because this thing, if you can make federal laws to protect the bird, which is the bald eagle, you can federal laws to protect people of


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the fact --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we will have his brother Rodney Floyd.

RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: How are you guys doing? Today is about the remembrance of our brother George Floyd. Father, uncle, friend,

cousin, and the Mr. President and Vice President gave us our condolences and just keep it up touching back on what happened last year, reiterating

everything, ask how we were doing, are we -- do we need -- are we taking care of ourselves, healthy counseling.

And they ask us all about how we feel and what's going on about today about our brother. And we thankful that they show great concern. And you guys --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Floyd, did President Biden offer any reassurance that he would personally make sure --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you will hear from Terrence Floyd. We have -- we may take one or two questions at the end, maybe.

TERRENCE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: Hello, everyone. Hello, hello. You know, being here today is an honor, you know, to meet with the President

and the Vice President and for them to show their concern to our family and for them to actually give an air to our concerns and how we feel on a

situation. And I feel it was a very productive conversation and I'm grateful for it. I think everybody for the love. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now you will hear from Brandon Williams, the nephew of George Florida, who was like a son to him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm good. How are you doing?


WILLIAMS: I'm great. I think it was a very great meeting. We're very appreciative and grateful that the President and Vice President invited us

here. I think that the meeting went well. He shows concern and I think genuinely, he wants to know exactly how we were doing and what he could do

to support us. And he did let us know that he supports passing the bill, but he wants to make sure that it's the right bill and not a worse bill.

He also said that -- he said that deadline and he's not happy about it not being made. But all in all, he just wants to be able to be right and

meaningful, and that it holds George's legacy intact. Thank you.

QUEST: So there we have the family of George Floyd speaking at the White House. We'll monitor what else they're saying and bring it to you as

necessary. Returning to our top story. And the E.U. says it will impose new sanctions on people involved in what it called the hijacking of the Ryanair

flight to Minsk. It also says it's sanctioning businesses that financed the regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

Listen to what the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the action as -- by and the attack on Europe.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: This is an attack on democracy. This is an attack on freedom of expression. And this is an

attack on European serenity. And this outrageous behavior needs a strong answer.


QUEST: Alex Stubb, the former prime minister of Finland with me from Helsinki via Skype. Alex, they've moved. They've really done the sanctions,

and they've asked for other things while they put it in place. Are you satisfied with the response?

ALEX STUBB, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF FINLAND (via Skype): Yes, I think it was quite a quick response. And it was a very robust response as well. We

have to remember that the instruments that the European Union has at hand are quite limited, and most of them actually have to do with sanctions. But

I think this was politically a very clear and quick message. And in that sense, I think the European Union succeeded in getting its message through.

QUEST: Isn't the risk here that as long as Lukashenko has put in support, he really just has to ride out the E.U. until it's sort of -- all right, so

the sanctions remain and this, that and the other, but the, you know, it -- they just have to ride it out.

STUBB: Well, I guess the key here is probably going to be the population that civil society and citizens in Belarus. The European Union can only do

so much. They can basically put on the pressure. But as far as military action, or something like that, it's going to study to the question. What

we're probably seeing here, Richard, you know, is the remnants of one of the oldest dictators in Europe.

I met him a few times in various political capacities. And my experience with dictators is that they don't go. I mean, there are three ways in which

they go, they go number one in a coffin, number two into jail, or number three into exile. And, you know, you can choose one of those three, that's

how it's going to end in the Lukashenko case, but he does seem to have the backing of Putin. And in that sense, we're in it for the long haul.

QUEST: What's the like? What's it like when you meet him?

STUBB: Well, I have an interesting anecdote because I was a chairman of the OSC in 2008, in my capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs. So, we had

basically prepared these very precise speaking notes about the elections coming up in Belarus, and we said, we, you know, with the backing of all

the members of the OSC that we are happy to see that things are moving ahead with electrodes.

And, you know, we had like 20 -- 25 international (INAUDIBLE) Belarusian cameras there. And the first Lukashenko says, thank you. You're the first

European leader to say that from the west, and I thought that was the end of my political career. So, you know, this is the kind of stuff that you

get from Lukashenko. You know, he's a dictator, just like any of them.

QUEST: And, briefly, finally, I mean, how serious is this for Europe to be seen to at least make -- I put it crudely, Alex, to -- for Europe to win

this one?

STUBB: Well, I look at it from the other perspective, I think the most serious thing here is that Lukashenko and his regime has violated

international law, aviation law. And he has taken political prisoners by stealth.

And I think that is the main concern that all of us should have at this particular moment and hope we can dissolve it. I am, of course, glad that

the European Union acted swiftly and does have very strong backing from the United States as well.

But, you know, this is not the most important thing, the most important thing is to free and democratize Belarus.

QUEST: Which will take longer than we've got to talk about it tonight. Alex, good to talk to you, sir. Thank you. I hope you're having a good

summer. Thank you, sir. I'm going to show you the markets very quickly to see how the trading. It has been just to really reinforce it's been a

nothing day. Nothing. I mean, let's not overstate it.


QUEST: Nothing. But then that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for the moment. I'll be back at the top of the hour as we make a dash for the closing bell.

Coming up next, we have Living Golf because we never stop. This is CNN.


QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. The dash to the closing bell and we're only two minutes away from it ringing. And on those last minutes of trading

on Wall Street, the Dow seesawed throughout the session. it's now off 74 points low. It's off the worst of the day, but not by much. But as you can

see fairly small movements. And now we have the NASDAQ almost unchanged and the S&P 500. That's been the nature of the day.

Nothing really to get too excited about when we talk about market activity. The chief executive of airBaltic has been telling me he supports the E.U.

call to halt flights ever Belarus. He says it was unacceptable for the country to divert to commercial flight and adds safe -- unsafe airspace

must be avoided at all costs.


MARTIN GAUSS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AIRBALTIC: It's a very, very serious incident if we look at what that flight did and what risk was put at a

civil aircraft and we shouldn't have that flying because we have global standards in aviation. And if they are not insured, then something has to

happen. So from an airline point of view, we want to have maximum safety and flying all over the world has to be safe and if not these air spaces

are avoided.


QUEST: Now, look at the Dow 30 and how it's trading today mostly read across the Dow. But I think here you've got to look at what the losses are.

So, you've got some hefty losses of only really in three or four stocks right at the other end. And there are some biggies like Boeing that have

shown good gains, but the majority, it's just small numbers of losses. And that's reflected in the Dow 30 tonight.

A slight selloff in banks. Goldman's is off one percent. Amgen is the worst of the day off two percent. In Europe, let's look at and the close up

Europe today. The FTSE, the 100 and the CAC quarante both finishing the German DAX and the MIB both managed to eke out small gains. Again, you get

the trend of the day overall. Back to Bitcoin which has slipped back towards 37,000. What a rollercoaster we're talking. Down $1500 after

briefly touching distance of 40,000.

Thanks for the boost from Elon Musk. So that's where the markets are looking. And that's your dash to the bell. I'm Richard Quest in New York as

the bell prepares to ring, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead I hope is profitable. On Wall Street the closing bell is ringing as you can hear.


QUEST: The Dow is down. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts seconds away.