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Sunday 17.02.2019 | Name days: Konstance, Donats
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Offshore ties Rail Baltica’s chief with business of «Putin’s teacher»

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe chief of Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas, the company responsible for Rail Baltica project’s realization, Andris Linužs had once signed an agreement with an offshore company registered in Seychelles Isles. This very same offshore was used by shareholders of Russian company Phosagro. Among them is Vladimir Litvinenko, who is often called Putin’s teacher, as reported by De Facto programme.

The programme reports that this link surfaced as a result of two seemingly unrelated litigations.

Litvinenko is a rector in St. Petersburg Mining University. It was in Litvinenko’s led university that Vladimir Putin defended his thesis twenty years ago. Rumours have circulated for a long time that Putin’s work was plagiarized. Litvinenko’s daughter, who has recently fled Russia, told the media that Putin’s thesis was written by her father. Litvinenko also headed Putin’s election campaign, De Facto reports.

Litvinenko also owns 20% of shares in Phosagro. The largest shareholder is Andrei Guryev. The third partner is Igor Antoshin. A former employee of Phosagro – Igor Shitsov –has turned against them with a claim in London Court of Justice. He was provided with political asylum in Latvia several weeks ago. In his claim, Shitsov also turns against Seychelles Isles-based offshore Parmas Corporation, through which Phosagro shareholders performed transactions.

Information has also surfaced that the same offshore plays a major part in another conflict involving people from Latvia. One of them is Andris Linužs – the chief of state-owned Eiropas dzelzceļa līnijas.

The history of Linužs’ complicated relations with Norvik Banka also surfaced in association with Parmas Corporation.

Ten years ago, Norvik Banka was used to transfer EUR 2.5 million to a Malta-based fund for a real estate project in Russia. The fund’s owned L-Serviss immediately commenced construction of a villa one hour away from St Petersburg. Construction was never finished, however, because the crisis struck soon after construction had commenced, as reported by De Facto.

It is also reported that Belize-based Service Shipping Ltd. had invested more than EUR 800,000 in this construction project. Its owners are unknown. However, its authorized representative is Latvian citizen Aleksandrs Smogļukovs. He was once in charge of a company owned by Linužs.

Several years later, Malta’s fund received word that the money invested in the project no longer has to be repaid to Service Shipping, rather a Seychelles-based offshore company – Parmas Corporation, which plays an active part in the dispute between Shitsov and Phosagro shareholders.

The letter sent to Malta’s fund was signed by Dzintars Vainovskis, who previously worked in Norvik Banka’s ARG Shipping – which is now owned by Linužs.

Vainovskis claims he does not remember Parmas Corporation. «There were a lot of companies at the time,» he said about offshore companies he has represented over the years. He says he does not remember if his name was used to authorize enforcement of funds from Norvik Banka’s owned fund in Malta.

Parmas Corporation not only wanted its money back from the fund, but had also turned to L-Serviss with a claim. The claim was signed by a different director – Veronika Savi. L-Serviss refused to pay and was sued.

This is when Andris Linužs appeared on stage, De Facto comments.

It was uncovered in court that Malta-based fund’s manager Tīna Petersone had given Linužs unlimited authority. Linužs handed over money recovered from the villa project to Seychelles-based company.

In a short telephone conversation with De Facto, Linužs said he does not remember why he had signed a contract with Parmas Corporation. He denied having personal interest in Parmas Corporation and Service Shipping.

In August 2017, Linužs testified in court in St Petersburg. He said he contacted with Parmas Corporation by coincidence.

«Parmas was the only side that benefited from Linužs’ actions. He testified that Parmas was picked at random during a symposium in Europe. He acted free of charge. I allow that Linužs, being in a friendly relationship with the management of Malta-based fund, had been provided with their signatures on his authority, but the fact that those documents were not found in the fund requires further investigation. This points to the possibility that documents were prepared specifically to allow illegal acquisition of land,» says Russian L-Serviss representative Anton Betayev.

Linužs claims he has nothing in common with Phosagro shareholders. It is worth mentioning that Linužs had graduated from Litvinenko’s led St. Petersburg Mining University.

«What you said about involvement of the mining university’s rector Litvinenko – this is the first time I’ve heard of it. I’ve not had any dealings with him – I have attended ceremonies associated with my thesis. That is all,» claims Linužs.

He claims that in both case the aforementioned offshore company Parmas Corporation is two different companies.

Nevertheless, De Facto holds evidence to the contrary. For example, there is one and the same account in Lichtenstein’s bank, to which money was transferred in the Norvik Banka and Shitsov dispute.


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