US embassy cables | Belarus money-man channelled funds from Malta to dictator

US diplomatic cables say Belarusian tycoon Vlaidimr Peftiev closed his business dealing and bank accounts in Malta, as Belarusian president may have transferred “ill-gotten” assets elsewhere.

In September 2007, the Embassy in Minsk communicated the return of suspected Belarusian arms dealer, Vladimir Peftiev, from Malta, questioning whether Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko “may have transferred ill-gotten assets elsewhere”.

Last June, MaltaToday reported how Peftiev - who had held meetings with the Chamber of SMEs (GRTU) and the Chamber of Commerce - had his bid for the post of honorary consul for Belarus turned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ostensibly because he is Lukashenko’s personal bagman.

His business interests have also been placed under European Union sanctions.

Peftiev also headed the Beltechexport, a company, which produces and overhauls used weapons for resale. At the beginning of Lukashenko’s reign, local newspapers had implicated Peftiyev in illicit weapons deals.

According to the US cable, Peftiev resided in Malta for five to seven years and may have obtained dual citizenship. Once or twice a year, Peftiyev would fly back to Minsk where government security would meet him at the airport and escort him directly to the President’s residence.

The Minsk Embassy also noted that even Peftiev’s children “merit protection by government security”.

But in 2007, Peftiev reportedly returned to Minsk permanently. This, according to the US embassy in Minsk, suggested that Lukashenko “no longer maintained business dealings or bank accounts in Malta.”

The embassy’s source told them that “the alleged Maltese money might now be salted away in Venezuela.” The embassy noted “if illicit Lukashenko’s-controlled funds really did leave Malta recently, they just as easily could have been repatriated to Belarus.”

Belarus is currently facing restrictive measures by the Council of Europe in view of the deteriorating human rights, democracy and rule-of-law situation in the country. Belarus is believed to have been trading arms and other material to countries like Iran, North Korea and Libya which might have been used for internal repression.

Lately, the country has been experiencing human-rights crackdown with Lukashenko’s regime arresting and imprisoning political opponents. Presidential candidates who dared to stand against Lukashenko have been imprisoned or put under house arrest alongside dozens of opposition activists and journalists.

Jessica Chetcuti
I must admit that the first thing I thought after reading this report was what the hell are they actually reporting, Its all seems a bit hit and miss. I’m not at all sure how embassy’s send cables to their HQ but there doesn’t seem to be any definite information coming from the US embassy here. For example as reported. He may have transferred “ill-gotten” assets. Alleged Maltese money might be in Venezuela, but could easily be in Belarus He may have obtained duel nationality. He is a suspected Belarusian arms dealer.......... No suspected about it he is definitely an arms dealer being the head of Beltechexport. I’m sure even James Bond would be scratching his head with all this useless information.
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