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Saturday 22.02.2020 | Name days: Rigonda, Adrians, Ārija

Lithuanian Railways signs contracts worth EUR 130 million with ex-KGB agent

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULithuanian Railways [Lietuvos geležinkeliai] has signed contracts worth EUR 130 million with ex-KGB officer Yuri Simonenkov’s owned company Sigmen, as reported by Lithuanian public media LRT.

Simonenkov’s network of contacts from his time in KGB reaches all the way to people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In spite of his connections with Russian political elite, Lithuanian law enforcement has not checked any of the contracts, LRT reports. Nevertheless, in some cases the committee responsible for investigating influence of business transactions on state security had prohibited Lithuanian Railways from signing contracts with Sigmen.

It is worth mentioning that

Contracts with Sigmen are nothing new for Latvian Railway either, as in May 2019 the two companies signed contracts worth nearly EUR 5 million, according to data accessible on the website of Latvian Procurement Monitoring Bureau.

Officially Sigmen shares are owned by Simonenkov’s wife. Lithuanian public media reports that the ex-KGB officer and his associates have ties with other ex-KGB officials and agents, reaching all the way to Putin’s associates and oligarchs applied with US sanctions.

Nevertheless, Sigmen has no problems participating in public tenders in Lithuania. Lithuanian Railways is also involved in Rail Baltica process and is currently busy building the 15 km-long railway line in Kaunas. Rails are supplied by Sigmen.

In February Lithuanian Railways signed a contract worth EUR 11.5 million with Sigmen. This year it is planned to purchase rails worth EUR 36 million. LRT reports that in the past decade Lithuanian Railways has procured rails almost exclusively from Sigmen, which supplies them from production plants in Russia or Spain.

It is reported that Simonenko previously worked in Latvia’s KGB branch together with Yevgeny Roldugin, who studied in KGB school together with Vladimir Putin. Roldugin’s brother Sergei Roldugin is one of the Russian president’s closest friends.

Simonenkov started his business in Latvia with Skonto, a company founded together with his other former KGB officials. He also owned Multibanka until 2008, when USA applied sanctions against it for money laundering. Until three years ago Simonenkov also had a joint business with Sergey Nosov, one of Putin’s advisors.

Observers also say Simonenkov’s business may still have ties to former KGB structures.

Even before the collapse of USSR, KGB prepared its subordinates for a future in business so that they are able to use their contacts, including with the crime world. KGB had even reportedly supplied start capital, says political observer Marius Laurinavičius.

«They left agents in Baltic States so that they engage in business, acquire influence and be able to influence politics as well,» says Laurinavičs.

LRT reports that Simonenkov’s ties with ex-KGB agents could lead all the way to Kremlin. His name is also mentioned in the scandal involving governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvics.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Simonenkov outlined in the photo


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