There are suspicions about possible attempts to steal Latvias Naftas Tranzits‘ (LNT) cash worth millions by means of issuing a loan to Oleg Stepanov’s company Topmar.
It is said that Stepanov is trying to make sure LNT Supervisory Board agrees to pay Topmar the share belonging to Ventbunkers/Ventrans Riga. This is the reason for the convened LNT Supervisory Board meeting.
It should be mentioned that this kind of scheme was done already last year: it circumvented the property arrests presented in Lembergs’ case.
Stepanov’s need for LNT’s money within the Ventspils transit business is explained with both the need to maintain the millionaire’s expensive place of residence and the political ambitions in expectation of change in government, for the realization of which Ventspils transit business players traditionally use company resources. In the last half-year, there have been signs that Stepanov has formed an alliance with Aivars Lembergs, on behalf of which he conducted negotiations for extensive settlement during the so-called Ventspils transit war.
It is assumed that Lembergs’ interests in regard to LNT and Ventbunkers‘ money has not gone anywhere, and is now being executed with Stepanov’s aid. Also, several sources within Ventspils transit business have all noted in the last several weeks that Anrijs Lembergs talked to people related to Olafs Berkis, offering them to divide LNT’s owned finances – $29 million deposited in Valartis Bank in Lichtenstein.
On the eve of the shareholders meeting, two LNT major shareholders – Ventbunkers and Ventrans Riga (own 62.49% of LNT’s capital) sent a warning to the Supervisory Board members and the Prosecutor General’s office, stressing that they are strictly against any division of LNT’s money, including dividends, loans, etc. Moreover, the issue of money to Topmar would be considered a criminal offence.
“Any such attempts will automatically lead to criminal prosecution against all the individuals involved in the activities by either active participation or assisting the embezzlement,” – Ventbunkers representative Rudolf Meroni writes in his open letter.
Suspicions surround not only possible criminal decisions within LNT, but also the legality of authority of the company’s only Board member – Stepanov’s adopted son Alexander Kulikov. After Sergey Odintsov resigned from his post in Supervisory Board of LNT on February 28, the whole Supervisory Board is considered illegitimate: Part 9 of Section 296 of the Commercial Law states that in the event of withdrawal of one member of the Supervisory Board, there should be elections of a new Supervisory Board – all members are to be re-elected. LNT major shareholders Ventbunkers and Ventrans have already submitted a request to hold extraordinary LNT shareholders meeting, which is being ignored at the moment.
The issue of legality of Kulikov’s authority on the post of Board member of LNT was also raised in the letter. He was appointed to his post based on minutes of a LNT shareholders meeting of January 18, 2013. Its legality is is question because not all shareholders were present and the meeting itself was not legally convened.
“There are no such original minutes signed by the LNT shareholders, which would mirror the falsified Extract. This falsification was arranged by Aleksey Ovod and his assistant Poshkurlata. Obviously this is a manifest case of a criminal falsification of a document. The matter is being investigated by the authorities,” – said in Meroni’s letter.
This is not the first time for there to be questions in regard to Oleg Stepanov’s actions related to LNT’s funds. It was revealed last year that an exclusive Aston Martin One-77 was registered in the name of Stepanov’s wife. The purchase of this exclusive vehicle was made possible thanks to a generous loan from LNT.
The transaction was carried out with the approval of the Supervisory Board of AS Latvijas Naftas Tranzīts, which means the represented owners of the company agreed to this. The company’s Supervisory Board also features representatives of Vitol, Ventspils millionaire Olafs Berkis and the interests of other Ventspils “transit warriors”.
The millionaire did not even try to hide the fact that he is mad about this story surfacing. Such forthcoming to Stepanov, giving him a credit for the purchase of a top of the line car, is explained with the interest of all involved sides to perverse good relations with the millionaire whose voice is an important factor in maintaining control over such enterprises as Ventbunkers and AS Latvijas Naftas Tranzīts, as Pietiek previously reported.