Baltic News Network: Prime minister: Linužs’ dealings with offshore business warrants an investigation
Latvia’s Transport Minister Uldis Augulis refused to comment on information reported by De Facto programme one week ago – that Rail Baltica organized Andris Linužs had signed a deal with an offshore company based in Seychelles and used by influential businessmen from St. Petersburg. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, on the other hand, told the programme that «deals associated with state security had been recorded in the past and represent a matter that warrants an investigation».
De Facto reminds that Seychelles-based Parmas Corporation is the central figure here. This company was mentioned in two separate litigations.
Parmas Corporation was used for money transfers by Russian mining company Phosagro. Its largest shareholders include Andrei Guryev, who is Russia’s 26th wealthiest person, and Vladimir Litvinenko. The latter is also rector in St. Petersburg Mining University. He was also Vladimir Putin’s election campaign’s manager in St. Petersburg.
Russian citizen Igor Sychev has been granted political asylum in Latvia. Sychev is the former head of the tax department of Phosagro, one of the world’s leading producers of phosphate-based fertilisers based in Moscow.
He escaped from Russia in 2016 after conflict with shareholders of Phosagro Andrey Guryev and Igor Antoshin, closely related with the political elite of Russia. The conflict started after Sychev made an official claim against Phosagro regarding not having received remuneration for defending Phosagro's interests in court. The court case disputed previous court decisions for Phosagro’s fines on tax avoidance. Phosagro won the case and all charges were dropped. Phosagro saved around $700 million and received compensation of around $10 millions.
Igor Sychev stated: "In Russia my life was in danger after I tried to close a written agreement with shareholders of Phosagro. Somebody tried to deal with me three times. The wheels of my car fell off three times, when I was driving. 4 independent investigations were carried out and all confirmed that the cars were damaged before I drove them.
I tried to solve everything in legal way but unfortunately it was not able to attain justice in Russia. I was forced to leave the country leaving my family there, and started to look for a justice in other countries — in Great Britain, Switzerland and Latvia.
I took the floor in the Latvian Parliament in a capacity of person being subjected to persecution in Russia. I told my story in the Press Club Brussels as well. I applied for political asylum in Latvia in December 2016"
This week Sychev visited Brussels to discuss how a falling out with senior figures within the company has led to attempts on his life, and to him fleeing the country to safety in Latvia. His story paints a frightening picture of business, politics, and corruption in Putin's Russia.
From 1995, PhosAgro had been owned by Mikhail Khordokovsky, at one time the wealthiest man in Russia, but who fell could of Vladimir Putin after entering the world of politics. Khordokovsky was to be persecuted and imprisoned in 2003, and with high profile international support was he to be released recently, after which he promptly left the country, and currently resides in Switzerland.
One of Khordokovsky’s former employees, Andrei Guryev, a former Communist Party committee leader in Moscow, was to become head of the company. Guryev, now a billionaire, currently resides in London’s Highgate, his home being the second largest in London, after Buckingham Palace.
Through a trust, Guryev’s family effectively owns PhosAgro, although in 2014 one Vladimir Litvinenko, former campaign manager to Vladimir Putin during the period 2000-2004, and the man who “oversaw” Putin’s controversial dissertation work in 1996, secured 9.73% of the company, although there is some Confusion over his precise holding at the time of writing.
Arguing that Guryev had promised him shares in PhosAgro but then reneged on the promise, Sychev initiated a criminal complaint for fraud, forgery of documents and malpractice against him in Switzerland.
Then began a series of events which led Sychev to flee Russia.
Speaking to EU Today he explained what happened.
The case of the top Russian manager Igor Sychev who took refuge in Latvia
A story that starts in Russia to continue in Latvia and has judicial links with Switzerland and London. It is the story of Igor Sychev who will come to the Brussels to tell the press about his claims and complaints.
Thursday, 7 December 2017 10h00 – 12h00 Press Club Brussels Europe 95, rue Froissart - 1040 Brussels
Two persons persecuted in Russia, Igor Sychev and Olga Litvinenko, were heard out recently by members of the Latvian parliamentarian group “For the support of Russia’s civil society”.
Igor Sychev, former top manager of Phosagro, was forced to flee from Russia, leaving his family there, after the conflict with the owners of company, closely related with the political elite of Russia.
“They tried to deal with me several times. Somebody tried to fake car accidents but surprisingly I stayed alive. Several investigations confirmed that the car was damaged before the drive. Criminal proceedings were also initiated against me. My passport was taken away so that I couldn’t run away,” explained I. Sychev.
RIGA, LATVIA, November 14, 2017 / EINPresswire.com / -- Igor Sychev : I couldn't achieve any justice in Russia
Two persons persecuted in Russia, Igor Sychev and Olga Litvinenko, were heard out recently by members of the Latvian parliamentarian group "For the support of Russia's civil society".
Igor Sychev, former top manager of Phosagro , was forced to flee from Russia, leaving his family there, after the conflict with the owners of company, closely related with the political elite of Russia.
The conflict started after I. Sychev didn't receive the agreed remuneration for defending Phosagro interests in court. This was dispute of previous court decisions for fines on tax avoidance and the first case in history of Russian court system, when the state paid compensation to the accused company.
"They tried to deal with me several times. Somebody tried to fake car accidents but surprisingly I stayed alive. Several investigations confirmed that the car was damaged before the drive. Criminal proceedings were also initiated against me. My passport was taken away so that I couldn't run away," explained I. Sychev.
The parcel of shares of "Phosagro" belongs to billionaire Andrey Guryev, whereas at least 10% of the company shares belong to Vladimir Litvinenko, who was the manager of Vladmir Putin's political campaign in 2000 and 2004.
Igor Sychev and Olga Litvinenko were heard out by members of the Latvian parliamentarian group "For the support of Russia's civil society". Juris Vilums and Martins Sics, as well as by two deputies of Riga City Council - Juta Strike and Krisjanis Feldmanis.
The visit gave nothing to Serdyukov. But "Fosagro" still managed to fend off the claims. It could be considered a miracle: the destruction of Yukos began with the arrest and prosecution of Plato LebaMaid of embezzling state-owned shares and tax evasion "Apatite". Then, in July 2003, suddenly disappeared owner of the office, located opposite Guryev, - chairman of the "Fosagro" Board Alexander Gorbachev. No one said goodbye, he flew to London and more in Russia did not return. "It was not a voluntary departure. But Guriev and it was clear that to continue for the company is unreal, "- says Gorbachev.
12 years later, in May 2015 he filed a criminal lawsuit against the court of Cyprus Andrey Guriev and other owners' Fosagro "demanding the return of allegedly illegally taken from his 24% stake in the holding company. And four months later, Igor Sychev, who left "Fosagro" in 2013, sent a statement to the Russian law enforcement authorities with allegations against Guriev and other managers of the holding. Why former managers feel entitled to make claims principal owner of one of the largest fertilizer producers in the country?
Witanhurst, London’s largest private house, was built between 1913 and 1920 on an eleven-acre plot in Highgate, a wealthy hilltop neighborhood north of the city center. First owned by Arthur Crosfield, an English soap magnate, the mansion was designed in the Queen Anne style and contained twenty-five bedrooms, a seventy-foot-long ballroom, and a glass rotunda; the views from its gardens, over Hampstead Heath and across the capital, were among the loveliest in London. For decades, parties at Witanhurst attracted potentates and royals—including, in 1951, Elizabeth, the future Queen.
Andrey Guryev is Russia’s twenty-eighth-richest man. Forbes lists his personal fortune at some four billion dollars. According to a Web site about Russian real estate, Guryev and his wife, Evgenia, have a large house in a gated community called Forest, in a pine-clad area on the outskirts of Moscow that is favored by oligarchs. Putin’s main residence, which has become the site of most Presidential business, is close by.