Belarus dictator’s ‘bagman’ Vladimir Peftiev, once a Malta resident, named in ICIJ’s Bahamas offshore leaks

He lived in Portomaso, his wife’s name crops up in the Panama Papers, and has been close to Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko (left) and oligarch Vladimir Peftiev
Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko (left) and oligarch Vladimir Peftiev

Billionaire Vladimir Peftiev, who for years was a resident at Portomaso and whose wife Olga Makarova was recently named in connection with the Panama Papers, has been identified in a new leak of offshore data from the Caribbean tax haven of the Bahamas.

The leak was revealed today by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists, who were responsible for the leak of 11.5 million documents in connection with the Panama Papers.

Peftiev, who was once lobbying for support to become consul for Belarus in Malta, held three companies – Investment Management Group, NTA, and V.V.K. Investments – in Bahamas through an intermediary.

He was suspected back in 2007 of having “transferred ill-gotten assets” on Lukashenko’s behalf.

Peftiev had held meetings with the Chamber of SMEs (GRTU) and the Chamber of Commerce, but his bid for the post of honorary consul for Belarus was turned down by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Arms dealer who lived in Malta

Peftiev heads Beltechexport, a company which produces and overhauls used weapons for resale.

According to the US cables released by Wikileaks, Peftiev had resided in Malta for five to seven years since 1999.

The embassy’s source was reported to have said 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.”

In 2011, three of his companies were frozen out of doing business in the EU – Beltechexport, the national telecommunications provider Beltelecom and gambling company Sport-Pari. Peftiev was accused of using the companies as a vehicles for a “presidential fund” for Lukashenko.

Wife’s name in Panama Papers

Peftiev’s wife Olga Makarova, set up over 12 offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Seychelles at the height of the sanctions afflicting her husband’s companies.

The address connecting Makarova to these offshore companies was the Portomaso apartment that the Peftievs lived in since the mid-2000s.

Makarova was said to be the shareholder and beneficiary of Barchetta Ltd, Maestrale Ltd, Stenmore Management Limited, Segal Investment Limited, Cardel Group Inc, Rocchetta Ltd, Sfera Ltd, Strathford Holding Ltd, Cadwall International SA, Milden Holdings, Sarles Investments, Kelly Bay Pacific Overseas Co., Isely Investments Ltd, and Unifin Consultancy Limited.

MaltaToday knows that in order to obtain residency in Malta, Peftiev had himself appointed as a “marketing director” of the firm Samuel International, a firm that was at one point owned by Maltese firm CAC Fiduciary.
The firm also appears in the Panama Papers as an intermediary that used Mossack Fonseca’s services to set up 10 entities in the British Virgin Islands, but not for Peftiev or Makarova.

A notice appearing The Times’s social and personal pages in 2005 announced the birth of his son Nikolai, his fifth child, with Olga Makarova.

In February 2016, the European Council suspended the travel ban and asset freeze in response to the release of all Belarusian political prisoners on 22 August, 2015, following improved EU-Belarus relations. It followed presidential elections held on 11 October, 2015 in an environment free from violence.

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