* Today we announce the beginning of a new media campaign in the Journal of Week – who, when and how did involve in the ”bank robbery of the century”.
Marios Papantoniou. Accountant specialized in establishment and administration of companies in fiscal paradises. He represented the interests of Vladimir Plahotniuc in offshores Financial Investments Corporation Limited and Victoria Invest Limited. He has collaborated at least for 10 years with the oligarch. At the same time he has participated to the establishment of several companies which are involved in the scheme of the theft of Moldovan bank system.
Name of this fiduciary appears twice in the first report realized by the international company Kroll on bank fraud of the Republic of Moldova. The first time Papantoniou appears as the representative of one of 21 buyers of shares to Unibank, in 2012, on the stage when taking the control over this fiduciary institutions.
- We mention that it was one of the initial phases of fraud scheme followed in 2013 by taking the control over Social Bank and Banca de Economii and in 2014 – by taking out money from those three institutions through fraudulent credits.
- The second time, the financial detectives employed by NBM to investigate the theft of Moldovan bank system mention Papantoniou in the context of his activity in the offshore Axiano Ltd., which is supposed that has participated in another big international scandal broke out in 2014, – laundry of more than 20 billion dollars came from Russia which involved a group of the Republic of Moldova and our judicial system.
- As Viktorija Zirnelyte, Marios Papantoniou is an accountant specialized in establishment of companies for persons or entities who want to remain into shade. Several offshores registered on behalf of the Cypriot or founded by other his companies have participated to the big scheme of money theft of the NBM, Social Bank Unibank. We will enumerate just some of them. From those disclosed in the first Kroll report, one is Manitoba Management LTD, that we said above that bought in 2012 a package of about 5 percent of Unibank shares, thus participating to taking control over the institution by a group of persons and companies affiliated to Ilan Sor.
Marios Papantonio is the person who has founded the company some months before the purchase and further he administered it in the position of director and shareholder. Another one is Rosslyn Trade LLP, company which borrowed to ex-president of the Republic of Moldova, Petru Lucinschi a part of money necessary for purchasing another package of about 5 percent of Unibank shares.
Documents for foundation of Rosslyn Trade LLP were filed in 2012 by British company Lawsons & Co. LLP which at its turn is managed starting with 2007 by the Cypriot from the Kroll report, Marios Papantoniou and his wife, Ishbel. Another company founded with the contribution of the company of Papantonio, Lawsons & Co., is Harrogate Consulting LP which is mentioned five times in the first report executed by Kroll on participants to the theft of Moldovan banks. Harrogate played also the role of creditor but for other three buyers of shares of Unibank through which the notary Olga Bondarciuc who is considered a fiduciary of Vladimir Plahotniuc. The Cypriot also has founded the company Harwood United LLP which credited other two buyers of shares through Reghina Apostolova, Orhei deputy mayor, party colleague of Ilan Sor, the person who recently manifested the will to become mayor of Chisinau.
The list with the participation of Papantoniou in the scheme can continue, both with companies mentioned by financial detectives of Kroll and with companies involved in numerous transfers with stolen money whose names were mentioned in the actions initiated by prosecutors in the file of bank fraud. Several companies established by the company of Marios Papantoniou, Lawsons & Co. appear in the decisions issued in the files in which the ex-Prime Minister Vlad Filat, ex-Deputy, Chiril Lucinschi and businessman Veaceslav Platon.
The role of these non-resident companies could constitute the subject of a separate investigation. For the time being we will limit to underlying the fact that the fiduciary Marios Papantoniou has established several companies involved in the scheme of bank theft. At first sight these companies make part or are affiliated to Sor group. But Papantoniou has an elder client in the Republic of Moldova – the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc. One of the company through which the Cypriot mentioned in Kroll report sells his services is called Axiano Company Secretaries Limited. At its turn it has established for the benefice of Plahotniuc another offshore – Financial Investments Corporation Limited.
On November 18, 2004 the fiduciary has signed a declaration where he mentions that he has only the role of nominal shareholder and that the real owner of the managed company is Vladimir Plahotniuc. The collaboration between those two did not finish in 2004 and it did not limit only to a single company.
Papantoniou also worked for Plahotniuc in offshore Victoria Invest Limited, another actor in the scandal with the shares from Victoriabank obliged by British justice to disclose the final beneficiary. According to a declaration signed on December 20 by the nominal shareholder of this company, the final owner of the company is the oligarch which is the president of DP. And those who administrated the accounts of offshore starting with the establishment up to dissolution in 2014 are Eftuchya Turnbull and his son-in-law, Marios Papantoniou. The woman was the one who filed the documents of establishment and had the position of nominal director during the time and the man later involved for dissolving the entity. Name of Marios Papantoniou appears in documents concerning closing the company Victoria Invest Limited which dates with 2013 and 2014. It results that while collaborating with companies and persons of so-called Sor Group, the fiduciary with Cypriot origin simultaneously was cooperating with Plahotniuc.
Until now we have enumerated two fiduciaries of Vladimir Plahotniuc who also appear in the scheme of bank fraud – Viktorija Zirnelyte and Marios Papantoniou. They were colleagues in the company Lawsons & Co. in the period 2007-2014 and it seems that they are still collaborating. Their services were also used in another big scandal. We speak about the scheme of raising tariffs for electricity through the company from Transnistria, Energokapital.
Journalists of The Black Sea platform published in 2016 an investigation where they showed that one of offshores which established the entity of Tiraspol is the Scottish company Energy Assets Development LP. This offshore was established in 2012 with the contribution of the company of Papantoniou and in 2017 it was dissolved, the documents being presented by the company of Zyrnelyte, the same company which was used for the registration of the company which bought non-performant credits through which Banca de Economii, Social Bank and Unibank were ruined. Both Fortuna United which is involved in bank fraud and Energy Assets Development involved in the Eenergokapital scheme has for a period the same legal address – the apartment of Zirnelyte, Edinburg.
Here we will speak again about the partner of Zirnelyte of Fortuna United whose signature appears on the documents of both companies mentioned above, Remigijus Mikalauskas. His name appears in the first report of Kroll auditors. Both, in the final part of the scheme realized through Fortuna United and in the initial phase – the one when taking the control over Unibank. The Lithuanian was through the representatives of those 21 buyers of shares affiliated to Sor Group.
Circumstance in which it results that at the back of the whole machination from the very beginning up to end stay the same persons who hide behind screens. At least two of these screens were previously used by DP President. If this finding would be an accidental coincidence, it would mean that from thousands of fiduciaries who exist in the world are ready to register their name on behalf on any company, authors of billion theft and those of Energokapital scheme decided to use exactly the fiduciaries of Vladimir Plahotniuc.
The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: jurnal.md