Some new names of Moldovans have appeared in the #PanamaPapers investigation. At this time they are two businessmen who own and operate media companies and the Internet services in Moldova.
We remind you that in the #PanamaPapers investigation were already mentioned the names of Moldova’s citizens. We’rу talking about the former prime minister of Moldova Ion Sturza and the Anatol Stati.
Offshore companies that own Sun Communications
According to the RiseMD, the major shareholder (63,70%) of Sun Communications for 12 years is an offshore Lekert Management Ltd company, registered in the British Virgin Islands. The Sun Communications is the largest cable TV operator (36% of the national market) and one of the largest Internet providers in Moldova (4.5% of the national market). The Sun Communications capital is estimated at 107 million lei. In 2015 the profit only from the cable TV services was approximately 100 million lei. The profit from the Internet services in 2015 was approximately 48 million lei.
The Sun Communications was founded in 1993 (as the Sun TV), as a part of the USA’s Metromedia International Group of Companies Inc. This group of companies was one of the largest investors in television, radio and mobile communications in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union territories in the 90s.
A few years later (2002-2005), facing the financial difficulties, the Metromedia International Group had sold most of the Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union assets, including the share of 65% in the SunTV. The owner of Metromedia’s shares was the company Lekert Management Ltd, which paid for them 2.1 million dollars in cash. Also the Metromedia Group sold the Sun Construction Company SRL. According to RiseMD, the Lekert Management Ltd was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Neocom Ltd, which owned the remaining 35% of the SunTV shares.
Lekert Management Ltd was founded in 2003 (at the very moment when Metromedia sold its shares), and registered by already worldwide known company Mossack Fonseca. At the time of establishment, the owner of Lekert Management Ltd was the Hypercomm AG from Swiss, liquidated in 2013.
The current director of Sun Communications is John Maxemchuk. He appears in Mossack Fonseca documents as the final beneficiary of the Lekert Management Ltd through the Hypercomm AG.
In June 2012, according to RiseMD, the official owner of 50,000 shares (worth $ 1 per share) of the Lekert Management Ltd became Alexandru Sirbu, the Maxemchuk’s business partner (main photo) on Sun Communications.
The money for daughter education from the offshore accounts
#PanamaPares show that from the Sun Communications offshore accounts were paid personal bills.
In August 2011, Sirbu transferred to the accounts of the Suffolk University in Boston (USA) 17 thousand dollars from the Lekert Management Ltd account. There at that time was studying his daughter.
The payment was made from the offshore accounts, incorporated in the Austrian bank Hypo Landesbank Vorarlberg whose CEO resigned on 7 April, after #PanamaPapers scandalous facts about his activities.
According to the RiseMD, Sirbu refused to comment his reference to the #PanamaPapers, but he did not deny the fact of payment for daughter's education.
N4 and Agro TV
According to the RiseMD investigation, Alexandru Sirbu also owns another 7 companies in the Republic of Moldova:
Sirbu is also a co-owner of the National 4 channel (80%), which takes 4-5 place by views in the country, through the SelectCanal-TV company. His son Eugeniu Sirbu, who is a partner in the N4 (10%), has also AgroTV channel (the partner of AgroTV Network, Romania) through the Jevise company (50%).
Channel N4 in 2015 was included in the list of public TV for coverage the election campaign. Also in 2015, the N4 was accused of piracy because of broadcasting films and TV-series without copyright.
Another person mentioned in the #PanamaPapers is John Maxemchuk. Hу is the owner of Spark Management Consulting Services company, registered in the British Virgin Islands in 2003 by the famous Mossack Fonseca. Maxemchuk had transferred the ownership of the firm in 2012. Now it’s owned by his wife.
The original article "The owners of TV channels associated with offshores", published by the site rise.md, is a part of the #PanamaPapers investigation.