Paradise Papers | Power players with interests in Malta companies

Politicians with some Malta interests did not disclose their secret holdings in their official declarations

Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim's two sons are amongst the elites with company interests in Malta
Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim's two sons are amongst the elites with company interests in Malta
Valeriy Voshchevsky
Valeriy Voshchevsky

Valeriy Voshchevsky

Valeriy Voshchevsky, a member of the Radical Party, was the vice prime minister of Ukraine from December 2014 to September 2015. He is a candy and real estate executive who had also served as head of the Ukrainian road construction department.

Voshchevsky is listed in Malta’s register of companies as one of only two shareholders and directors of Marfa Holding Ltd., along with Maltese citizen Marvic Borg.

Voshchevsky doesn’t appear to have disclosed his interest in Marfa Holding when he took office, but it is not clear whether he was required to. Voshchevsky denied being a Maltese citizen. The company showed up as “in dissolution” in the Malta Registry of Companies in October 2017.

Voshchevsky resigned as vice prime minister when his Radical Party withdrew from the government in September 2015.

Borg said the company was set up to extend his “tourism business activity” on Malta, but that nothing came of it. “Since Mr. Voshchevsky could not take part in this business, this company was closed without any activity,” he said.

 

Binali Yildirim

Erkam and Bulent Yildirim are the adult sons of Binali Yıldırım, the prime minister of Turkey since May 2016. The Yildirim family has made its fortune in the shipping industry. Erkam operates his own shipping business.

The Yildirim brothers are sole shareholders of two companies registered in Malta. The first, Hawke Bay Marine Co. Ltd, was set up in April 2004. Public records suggest that the company owns or manages shipping vessels.

The second, Black Eagle Marine Co. Ltd, was incorporated in January 2007. Records show that Erkam, who was the majority shareholder of the companies, is also the director of both. The companies are still active.

 

Antanas Guoga

Antanas Guoga is an EPP member of parliament
Antanas Guoga is an EPP member of parliament

Antanas Guoga is an MEP from Lithuania and a professional poker champion also known as Tony G.

Guoga is a founder and former shareholder of iBus Media Ltd., a gambling news publisher on the Isle of Man. Appleby data show that another shareholder is Mark Scheinberg, a co-founder of PokerStars, an online gambling company that settled a U.S. Justice Department fraud lawsuit for $731 million in 2012. An internal Appleby message in 2015 said Guoga was no longer a shareholder or officer of iBus.

Guoga owns a company called SG Holdings Ltd., according to the Maltese corporate registry. He did not reveal that stake in his parliamentary disclosures, according to 15min.lt, an online media platform in Lithuania.

 

Ravindra Kishore (RK) Sinha

RK Sinha
RK Sinha

 

Ravindra Kishore Sinha, a former journalist also known as RK Sinha, is a member of the Indian Parliament’s upper house and the chairman of Hindustan Samachar, a news agency backed by an organization behind the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Sinha, who is considered one of India’s richest politicians, is also the founder of Security and Intelligence Services, SIS, a private security company with operations in India and Australia.

Sinha is a minority shareholder and director of SIS Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd., a subsidiary of Security and Intelligence Services, registered in Malta in 2008. His wife, Rita Kishore Sinha, is also listed as a director. According to the prospectus of the Indian parent company, which is the country’s second-largest security provider, Sinha’s single share in the Malta subsidiary is owned by a holding company in the British Virgin Islands.

An affidavit he submitted to the Election Commission of India when he was nominated in 2014 does not mention his interest in the Malta company.

 

Beibut Atamkulov

Beibut Atamkulov
Beibut Atamkulov

Beibut Atamkulov is the minister of defence and aerospace industry in Kazakhstan. Before entering government in 2006 as an adviser at the Kazakh embassy in Russia, Atamkulov was an executive in the metals and energy sectors.

Atamkulov is a director of the Maltese company Centraz Finance Ltd., established in 1998. In October 2017 the company was listed as active. Other directors include Atamkulov’s brother, Yerlan Atamkulov, who headed Kazakhstan’s national railway company from 2002 until his sudden resignation in 2007 on the heels of a corruption investigation into the railway company. Yerlan Atamkulov was not charged or arrested. Centraz Finance Ltd. is registered as a grape producer and wine seller.

 

Alfred Gusenbauer

Alfred Gusenbauer
Alfred Gusenbauer

Alfred Gusenbauer was Austria’s chancellor from January 2007 to December 2008 and headed the Social Democratic Party of Austria from 2000 to 2008.

Gusenbauer is one of the directors and legal representatives of Novia Management Ltd., a company registered in Malta in 2014, along with fellow Austrian Herbert Stepic, the former chief of Raiffeisen Bank International who resigned after his offshore deals were made public by ICIJ and its partners in 2013.

Novia Management is a shareholder of Novia Funds Sicav Plc, a Maltese company that lists among its shareholders Gusenbauer’s former campaign adviser Tal Silberstein, an Israeli entrepreneur who was arrested in August 2017, along with diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz, on charges of money laundering and then released. The companies are registered as investment services and, according to Austrian and Serbian news outlets, have pursued business opportunities in the casino and lottery industry in Austria and neighbouring countries.

Gusenbauer said that Novia was a “closed-end investment fund” designed to become the first sector-specific gaming fund managed by industry experts, and he acted as a non-executive board member.

The Fund was incorporated in Malta because it is a very well-known international gaming licensing centre, he said.

 

Milo Djukanovic

Ana Kolarevic, formerly Djukanovic, is the sister of Milo Djukanovic (pictured)
Ana Kolarevic, formerly Djukanovic, is the sister of Milo Djukanovic (pictured)

Ana Kolarevic, formerly Djukanovic, is the sister of Milo Djukanovic, who was in power – with two interruptions – from 1991 to 2016 as either Montenegro’s prime minister or president. The family is considered one of the richest in the country. Kolarevic, who is a lawyer, had more than $3.5 million worth of stocks and real estate in 2009, according to an investigation at that time by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Center for Investigative Reporting in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kolarevic was a shareholder of Ranin Ltd., a company registered in Malta in 2012, the year Kolarevic’s brother Djukanovic was most recently re-elected prime minister.

According to Serbian media reports, Ranin owns Serbian Nickel, a mining company that, in 2012, sought to invest about $1.4 billion in the country’s nickel deposits, causing protests in Serbia concerning the health risks of nickel “exploitation.” According to Malta registry files from 2012 and 2015, more than 90 percent of Ranin’s business interests were “outside Malta.”

In October 2015, Kolarevic sold her half of Ranin shares to Serbian Nickel’s chief executive Radomir Vukcevic, who replaced her as company director. At present he remains the sole shareholder, according to Malta registry files.

The documents also show that Kolarevic and Vukcevic were also directors of Ruukki International Ltd., a Maltese subsidiary of a Finnish company that specializes in mining and mineral processing. In October 2017, the company was listed as closed in Malta.

 

Anton Prigodsky

Anton Prigodsky, a business executive, was a member of the Ukrainian parliament from 2006 to 2014, and served on the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications. Before entering politics, he was also the director of Embrol Ukraine Ltd., a company engaged in coal and coke production and railway transportation. Prigodsky is a close friend of former president Viktor Yanukovych, according to Ukrainian media reports.

Prigodsky is listed as the sole shareholder of TUC Ltd., a company registered in Malta in 2013, the principal activity of which is to “carry out shipping activities,” including the acquisition of vessels.

According to a TUC financial statement filed in 2015, as of Dec. 31, 2014, the company’s assets were valued at about $6.6 million and consisted of a vessel under construction. It also reported a loss of about $25,100, which allowed it to pay no income taxes for 2014, according to the document. The file also shows that TUC agreed in July 2015 to lease the Santa Maria T, a 120-foot motor yacht built in the Netherlands, to an unnamed user.

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