Why Did Kazakh Oligarch Mashkevich Bring The State Bank To The Congo?
The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) decided to disclose the fact of its negotiations with VTB. The press service of the government confirmed that Prime Minister DRC Bruno Tshibali met yesterday with the managing director of the London office of VTB Capital, Raymond O’Leary, to discuss attracting $ 1 billion to the country to finance “strategic projects.”
This recognition has quite obvious political origin. After President Josef Kabila refused to resign after the expiration of office in December 2016, Western financial institutions stopped financing the government and its “strategic projects”. And at this moment in the office of the premier there are messengers from the investment division of VTB Bank, which has nothing to do in the West because of the sanctions imposed in 2014. “The meeting with the Prime Minister was extremely useful: we outlined the country’s opportunities in the financial market in terms of attracting capital to finance strategic projects,” admitted Raymond O’Leary, who specializes in VTB in working with clients from Africa.
Under the phrase “strategic projects”, the financing of the Gesmines corporation, the state mining monopoly, is likely to be hidden. The government’s statements contain the words of Albert Hume, who is the chairman of the board of this company. Yuma acknowledged that, despite business interests, the issue of using VTB money will be decided by the government. Gesmines is a real mining giant in Africa, growing on the shoulders of Union Miniere du Haut Katang. The latter is a colonial enterprise created by the joint efforts of the symbols of the colonial era – the British Cecil Rhodes and the Belgian King Leopold the Second.
Subsequently, this company became the cause of the civil war and a series of dictatorships in the country. Albert Hume himself lived and studied in Belgium, the property of which was the Congo. The company’s largest partners also have links to colonial projects in the extraction and transportation of natural resources, Glencore, the successor to the empire of Mark Rich, who created the natural resources trading market after the collapse of the “simple” colonial system, is one of the main partners.
But the most interesting business partner of Gesmines is Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), which owns a whole set of assets in Kazakhstan. Formally, the private company ERG, according to some sources, is under the control of the country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Shortly before the talks in the Congo, another meeting was held. On June 1, within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2017), VTB and ERG signed a memorandum of understanding. Under the document, the signatures were put by Yury Solovyov, who oversees investment projects in VTB, and Alexander Mashkevich, chairman of the ERG board of directors.
Trio of billionaires
Alexander Mashkevich has long been looking for partners for African projects of the “Eurasian group” (as the trio of billionaires from the region, Mashkevich himself,
Patokh Chodiev and Alidzhan Ibragimov), who are the main holders of ERG shares. One of the candidates for participating in the “African safari” was Musa Bazhaev, a Russian oligarch with Chechen ties and roots. The proposal was made to him in very specific circumstances. The case was in 2010 on board the yacht – “Savarona” – also known as the “Ataturk yacht”, in the company of girls from Russia and Ukraine (most of whom were minors). According to the authors of the investigation of this story, Musa Bazhaev discussed with Alexander Mashkevich the topic of participation in an African adventurous investment. It was a question of CapFox Congo, another partner company of Gesmines, which was attached to Khulubuse Zuma, the nephew of South African President Jacob Zuma. It was assumed that the Alliance Group owned by Bazhaev would be among the partners of the raw material concession in the Congo, with the necessary political support.
Negotiations were interrupted by the landing of the Turkish special forces, who accompanied many participants in the party to the police station. But not all. Mashkevich and Bazhaev managed to avoid exposure in the media, for all it was necessary to blow it out to Tofik Aref, who is known as a shadow organizer of the Trans-World Group corporation. But the matter (it was a question of organizing a brothel on the symbol of the Turkish statehood) ended in nothing, including the reason for the untimely death of the investigator. The full composition of the participants in the meeting at Savarone became known only in December 2016, when the materials of Football Leaks were published – documents on manipulation and money laundering during the transfer of football stars.
Nevertheless, Alexander Mashkevich had to part with the head of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC) – he too contrasted with the composition and age of participants in the “negotiations” at Savanaron. A place on the board of Gesmines was taken over by the president of the American Jewish Congress and an American entrepreneur
Jack Rosen. The Eurasian “trio” was heavily battered in the London press, after which the company’s business was divided into two parts. Musa Bazhayev also sold the main assets, receiving substantial sums for them, which were then transferred to elite real estate.
In place of adventurous entrepreneurs in Africa, new authorized representatives with state status and the corresponding way of thinking come. The African continent has regained the status of the most promising territory, the development of which promises huge profits. VTB is no exception, and the rule in large business attempts is to implement large projects here that can change the fate of this territory. But it is unlikely in the near future on the “black continent” there will be some changes in the rules of doing business. Until now, these were the risks of individuals. Now they will become a problem of Russia’s reputation. This has recently happened in Mozambique, where financial transactions with VTB gave grounds to draw conclusions about the deprivation of the country’s “billion dollars”. Now Congo pretends to play this role.