Panama authorities mount investigation into Sergey Roldugin's company
After the publication of the Panama Papers, the prosecutor's office of the country initiated a large-scale probe into clients of Mossack Fonseca company, the documents of which got into public access.
The authorities of Panama and the British Virgin Islands have launched an investigation into the activities of International Media Overseas S.A. (IMO), associated with the famous Russian cellist Sergey Roldugin, reports Novaya Gazeta. The inquiry became known from the new documents of Panamanian offshore register Mossack Fonseca (MF), which were received by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The previous leak of MF papers to public access was dubbed the Panama Papers in the press and formed the basis for some investigations.
As the journalists learned, in December 2016 Panama's prosecutor's office requested the documents of International Media Overseas from Mossack Fonseca. According to Novaya Gazeta, IMO entered into "strange transactions" for millions of dollars with Russian companies: for one, it simultaneously signed an agreement on some deal and an agreement on its termination. Legal entities received compensation for rescinding transactions. IMO also acquired securities of Russian companies and then sold them to the same counterparties at a higher price.
Also, in April 2016, just the day after the Panama Papers publication, Mossack Fonseca sent a report on the "suspicious activity" of Sonnette Overseas, which is also connected with Roldugin, to the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands. "Corruption" was indicated as the ground for the report transfer. The company received loans from large businesses, which later were forgiven for token sums. In particular, the text says that Sonnette Overseas took a loan from Cyprus company Levens Trading, and already "a couple of months later" LT forgave the debt for 1 dollar worth of compensation.
Furthermore, checks are being conducted for money laundering and corruption against other Russians named in the Panama Papers. Specifically, Mossack Fonseca sent reports on the suspicious activities of offshore companies of the Rotenbergs. They were suspected of "money laundering."
The report on sketchy activity, Novaya Gazeta notes, is a document that banks, registers and law firms are obliged to send to law enforcement agencies in case they have doubts about their clients' activities and the origin of their funds.
According to the Panama Papers, published in the spring of 2016, Sergey Roldugin is related to companies International Media Overseas, Sonnette Overseas, and Raytar Limited. The investigation stated that the companies associated with Roldugin had received hundreds of millions from the Cypriot subsidiary of VTB, RCB Bank, which were then distributed to other companies. Apart from Roldugin, the documents mention 6285 citizens of the Russian Federation, including 13 officials and deputies.
Last week, the entire world has celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Internet. In the meantime, the Russian legislators have adopted new laws restricting the development of the Russian-speaking segment of the world wide web. The 'fake news' and 'internet insults' laws adopted under the pretext of protecting the society from manipulations and threat, including external ones, violate the Constitution and some federal laws in relation to the right to search for, obtain, and use information. Furthermore, the bill on ‘sovereign Internet’ passed in the first reading by the State Duma leads us directly to self-isolation.