A new article from "Panama Papers" series published by Rise Moldova tells about Stati family known as the richest one in Republic with a fortune made on petroleum business. STATILEAKS is a leak of data in volume over 30 GB obtained exclusively by Rise Md. The documents reveal some legal connections between Ascom Grup company and offshore companies controlled by Stati.
Taking a look back, Crime Moldova had already published two articles of Panama Papers series telling about ex-premier Sturza and businessmen Alexandru Sarbu and John Maximchuk.
According to RiseMD, the Stati family is running business affairs via 50 offshore companies recorded in widely known tax paradises on British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Belize and Luxembourg. Journalists of RiseMd have analyzed over 10 thousand documents which showed the ways Anatolie Stati used different tax schemes to create a personal petroleum business network.
The African project
The first business steps in Africa were taken by Stati family in 2005 with signing a contract with South Sudan.
The key role in these affairs played an offshore company Casco Petroleum Overseas Ltd, which was founded on 10th of December 2005 on British Virgin Islands. The shares were distributed between East-West International SA company (80%) represented by Anatolie Stati and Gabriel Stati (20%).
According to documents obtained by Rise Md, employees of Ascom affiliated companies, controlled by Stati, made no bones of the ways they bribed African representatives.
In a number of internal memos employees of Casco Petroleum Overseas Ltd reported to CEO Eugen Ungureanu the cases of giving bribes to African representatives.
Thus, in 2008-2010 company's employees gave bribes to custom officers (around $30), Kenyan authorities ($2400) and traffic police in Uganda. The bribes were given to avoid confiscation of goods and transport, to flee penalties, etc. In every note employees requested a compensation of expenditures.
Tax evasion and illegal salary
In another internal message dated by 2010 the in-house lawyer of Casco Petroleum Overseas Ltd informs his superiors that no salary taxes were paid for almost 900 employees situated in South Sudan. These are concerns Ascom Sudd Operating Company Ltd, Casco Petroleum Overseas ltd and Gabycon Civil Works Ltd, all of them owned by Stati. In this message the lawyer offers several ways of avoiding the taxes, including off-the-book accounting and under-the-table salaries.
Another internal message shows how the vice-president of Ascom Grup SA Andrei Bashtovoi (with criminal past for money laundering) is being offered two ways of avoiding taxes in amount of $5000. This taxes were to be paid to Kenyan authorities for the rental of 2 vehicle owned by Casco Petroleum Overseas ltd.
Affairs with the brother of Ugandan president
In 2010 Salim Saleh, the brother of current Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, established relationships with affiliates of Ascom.According to correspondence dated by 2010 between Saleh and company's employee, the brother of Ugandan president placed a request for comparison of transportation prices offered by Casco and its competitors. In several days Saleh's company Akiba Products Ltd places an order for delivery of over 400 tones of agricultural goods which were meant to be distributed via Casco.
Salim Saleh (at the right), source: rise.md
On 9th of March, 2011 Andrei Bastovoi, who was coordinating the Sudanian project, disclosed the information on affairs with Saleh to two outsiders who were willing to form any sort of relationship with Casco (as they were in need of equipment provided by the company) to be able to act on territory of Uganda.
Ilan Shor is interested in Africa as well
In October, 2008 two in-house lawyers of Ascom exchanged emails regarding interests of someone Ilan Shor to open a duty free shop in Africa.
One of lawyers, Lilian Perecheatco, informed another, Victor Neagra, that he has a meeting with Shor, which was arranged at the instance of Gabriel Stati, the vice-president of Ascom. According to email which was published by RiseMd, mister Shor showed intention to distribute certain goods via duty free shop in Sudan. For this he appealed for Ascom's assistance. The lawyer offered prospects of information on regulatory framework implied by Sudan and asked his colleague to offer a hand in obtaining this information.
In several days Neagra have sent Perecheatco a report on legal requirements applied for duty free shops in Sudan. According to the document, the Ministry of Finance, on learning about the involvement of Ascom, promised to issue the authorization for the duty free shop without any delays, though this is the unique case in this area.
Nevertheless, Shor didn't have a chance to open his shop in Africa.
In 2013 because of the war in South Sudan, Ascom company decided to withdraw its employees out of Sudan and Kenian territories with the help of Ministry of External Affais of Republic of Moldova.
For a year Gabriel Stati distanced himself from Casco Petroleum Overseas ltd while Gheorghe Ciobanu, an intermediary, became a representative of the company. Gheorghe Ciobanu is a co-partner in Moldavian company founded by ex-wife of Gabriel Stati, Natalia, who is also a daughter of PD delegate Dumitru Diacov.
In February 2014 Ciobany confirmed in a document issued by Mossack Fonseca that Casco Petroleum Overseas Ltd will not participate in any illegal actions or fraud.
By the end of 2014 Ciobanu confirmed that he is the only beneficiary of Casco Petroleum Overseas Ltd and declared that the offshore company operates in Africa, Iraq, Kazahstan and Romania.
The original article "Stati's Secrets and Bribes in Africa" is published by rise.md and is a part of investigation Panama Papers. All documents confirming the material can be viewed on rise.md.