US financial intelligence documents FINCEN show that while Lubomir Karimanski was the bank’s CEO, an offshore company account was maintained there and transfers were made through which Russian money was laundered from the Magnitsky scheme.
Solidstar Worldwide Ltd is registered in the British Virgin Islands. It is included in the reports of the US financial intelligence FINCEN because of dubious dollar transfers.
The FinCen files were leaked two years ago to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). More than 2,100 documents reveal how global banks facilitate the movement of money related to terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal oligarchs’ operations.
One of these reports looks at dollar transactions related to Prevezon Holding. It is key to the Magnitsky case, a massive scheme to launder $230 million in tax fraud money in Russia. The Prevezon report is over 300 pages long with a long list of bank transactions.
Among the companies detected is Solidstar Worldwide LTD. FINCEN has studied its wire transfers worth over $105 million.
An ICIJ investigation revealed that the offshore Solidstar Worldwide LTD was registered in the name of Azerbaijani footballer Javid Hyuseinov and was involved in numerous suspicious transactions through its account at Danske Bank’s Estonian branch.
But in addition to an account in Estonia, Solidstar Worldwide LTD has managed to open an account with the Bulgarian Investbank from where it has made suspicious transactions.
The data for Solidstar, studied by FINCEN, are for the period 2014 – 2017. Until October 19, 2015 the Executive Director of Investbank was Lyubomir Karimanski.
In the scheme “Magnitsky”
The FinCen report cites translations from the Bulgarian account of Solidstar to a Czech account of Castlefront L.P.
Castlefront was identified in the case of U.S. VS. PREVEZON HOLDINGS ET AL as a shell firm used to “launder $230 million from a Russian real estate tax fraud scheme in the United States,” the report said.
It was this scheme, revealed by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, that caused his death in a Russian prison in 2009. In 2012, the United States adopted the first version of the Magnitsky Act, but the investigation continued for years after that with tracking cash flows from dubious firms.
Back in 2015, U.S. investigators discovered the trail leading to Castlefront as part of the criminal scheme. And two years later, FinCen identified Solidstar Worldwide and the other companies that fed this complex network of offshore companies, which overlapped with the Azerbaijani Laundriere and the Troika Laundromat.
Translations to the media boss of GERB
Earlier, an investigation by Bivol found that money from the “Magnitsky network” flowed to Dobrin Ivanov’s arms company Transmobil.
These are three transfers for a total of EUR 1 096 921 to an account of Transmobil in Investbank, which come from Solidstar Worldwide LTD.
The transfers are for the period January – July 2015, when Karimansky was still CEO of the bank.
The lists of transactions available in the FinCen Files show that these are partial payments of commissions under a contract from 2012.
08.01.2015;11-20/60985; TRANSMOBILE LTD; BG20IORT80481420571600;1501085104068866 COMMISSION AGREEMENT DATED 25.08.12 PARTIAL PAYMENT;278921; EUR;†; Ref 1501085104068866
10.03.2015;11-20/63156; TRANSMOBILE LTD; BG20IORT80481420571600;1503105101094508 COMMISSION AGREEMENT DATED 25.08.12 PARTIAL PAYMENT AS PER AZ/STI-017.; 714000; EUR;†; Ref 1503105101094508
09.07.2015;11-20/67686; TRANSMOBILE LTD; BG20IORT80481420571600;1507095105983343 COMMISSION AGREEMENT DATED 25.08.12 PARTIAL PAYMENT AS PER AZ/STI-017;104000; EUR;†; Ref 1507095105983343
While this money is flowing from the offshore company to Transmobil, two events are happening in Bulgaria: the owner of Transmobil acquires shares in TV Europe, which is editorially positioned as a party television of GERB, and in Bulgaria the arms dealer Emilian Gebrev is poisoned with Novichok.
Investigative website Bellingcat revealed that the attack on Gebrev was the work of GRU agents and linked Transmobil to this international scandal.
At the time when it received the transfers, Transmobile was owned by businessman Dobrin Ivanov and the former director of the Dunarit arms factory Plamen Simeonov. Currently, Dobrin Ivanov is the sole owner of the arms company Transmobil, and through another company, associated with the interests of Delyan Peevski, he owns TV Europe. Recently, the television was rebranded to Euronews Bulgaria.
Former Investbank CEO Lyubomir Karimanski is now a politician from the ruling party “There is such a people” and a candidate for the post of governor of the BNB. Paradoxically, his candidacy is also supported by the opposition party GERB, as well as by Delyan Peevski’s MRF.
Investbank did not respond to a request by Bivol when the account of Solidstar Worldwide LTD was opened, which person was declared as a beneficiary and how much money went through it.
An opinion sent by Investbank said that the information sought “includes facts and circumstances constituting bank secrecy within the meaning of Art. 62, para. 2 of the Credit Institutions Act, which may be disclosed only when the specific requirements of the law are met. ”
The financial institution also clarifies that the opening and maintenance of accounts of offshore companies is not prohibited by law.
This is not the first time Investbank has been involved in suspicious transactions. So far, more than $158 million worth of accounts have been frozen there over suspicions that it was dirty money of Venezuelan dictator Maduro, a loyal ally of the Kremlin.
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