Offshore fronts for Yanukovych and Klyuyev
The notorious book by Viktor Yanukovych Opportunity Ukraine, which was recently caught in plagiarism, has almost no reference of any specific Ukrainian companies. But there is one company, to which the author chose to dedicate two full pages of the book. Just like in other cases, the literary servants of the President did not bother to re-work the text. They simply pasted into Yanukovych’s book the press release of Austrian company Activ Solar, which owns Zaporizhia Semiconductor Factory
and engaged in the construction of solar power plants.
“…The long-awaited event occurred last October and was largely unnoticed by the media and the public. A solar power plant opened in the Crimea. It was built and run by Austrian firm Activ Solar in Rodnikove village … I brought this example to illustrate why the Ukrainian government is interested to use alternative energy sources…” – Yanukovych wrote in his book.
Recently, on October 7, during his visit to Greece, President Yanukovych appealed to local businessmen: “Ukraine is interested in deepening cooperation with Greece in the field of renewable energy … I made a proposal to Mr. President during our conversation about the construction of a solar power plant in Greece as a turn key project – we have this opportunity and are willing to do it at any time. ”
The book does not mention the real owner of this business, as well as conditions of its development in Ukraine. In fact, this story is a textbook example of how business merged with politics creates favorable conditions for one of the most influential figures of modern Ukraine – Andriy Klyuyev.
Last year, Ukrainska Pravda wrote how Klyuyev as First Deputy Prime Minister chaired the Commission on Investment Projects and provided a state subsidy to his family business. As one of the first decisions of the Commission, it allocated a state subsidy in the amount of 200 million 842 thousand UAH to Zaporizhia Semiconductor Factory for the development of solar power plant project.
The main shareholder of Zaporizhia Semiconductor Factory with the share of 75% is Activ Solar company based in Vienna. You can find this information in the official database of the State Commission for Securities and Stock Market of Ukraine. Everybody can check this at the following link, upon registration on the web site of this authority.
Ukrainska Pravda asked Klyuyev at the Yalta European Summit if he or his family had any connections to Activ Solarcompany. “No relation whatsoever,” assured us Klyuyev.
Why would anyone want to set up a holding company in Austria? Because dividends from foreign subsidiaries, in this case – from Ukrainian companies – are not taxed! Austria is using these funds to fill its banking system.
Thus, Klyuyev can freely forward revenues from Ukrainian energy companies to Austria as dividends, where they are exempt from taxation. And then these funds can be invested worldwide – even channelled back to Ukraine – under the guise of Austrian investments. And no one will know that at the beginning of the chain there was a Ukrainian business funded by Ukrainian taxpayers.
Registration in Austria allows to pitch business as a western company with a clean history. This is exactly what Activ Solar does. This is what they wrote about themselves: “Activ Solar is an international group of companies based in Vienna specializing in the development and production of solar technologies.”
Ukrainska Pravda purchased a copy of the documents of incorporation of Activ Solar GmbH from the Commercial Court of Vienna, which has the business registration function. It turned out that the firm exists as a limited liability company that is subject to a simplified reporting system. So, this is how a report of Activ Solar GmbH looks like:
So, the head Activ Solar is Mr. Kaveh Ertefai. He is Serhiy Klyuyev’s son-in-law, and according to the registration documents, comes from the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The stunning pictures of the wedding of Serhiy Klyuyev’s daughter Olga to Mr. Ertefai, which occurred in one of the palaces of Vienna, recently shocked the Internet with grandeur. By the way, Mr. Ertefai is not the only Klyuyev family member in the company. The son of First Deputy Premier Andriy Klyuyev – Bogdan Klyuyev – according to publicly available information, is the development manager at Activ Solar. However, Klyuyev Sr stubbornly continues to deny any connection to Activ Solar.
The Activ Solar headquarters is located in Vienna at Wipplingerstrasse 35.
According to the sign near the entrance to the office building, the company that builds solar power plants using the public funds of Ukraine is located on the fourth floor. Slav AG, which belongs to the Kluyev brothers, also has an office on the fourth floor of the same building. We will discuss this company in the next section. Moreover, Activ Solar does not have a separate bell for visitors – you can get to this company only by calling the office of Slav AG.
So, the first founder of Activ Solar in 2008 was the Austrian firm Slav Beteiligung GmbH, which is a 100% subsidiary of the company with a similar name Slav AG, which in turn is owned by brothers Andrei and Serhiy Klyuyev in equal shares 50% to 50%. This information is freely available in on the Austrian business website.
In late 2008, the decision was made to change the ownership structure – the director of the company and Serhiy Klyuyev’s son-in-law Kaveh Ertefai became the sole owner of Activ Solar. But the new shareholding structure was not in place for too long either.
Since July 2009 and till today the owner of Activ Solar is a very inconspicuous at first glance firm – P & A CORPORATE TRUST headed by Mr. Reinhard Proksch.
We would probably stop our investigation here, had we not paid attention to the address, where this trust is registered: Stöcklerweg 4, Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein.
Ukrainska Pravda has already come across this address before… during the investigation into the privatization of Mezhyhirya State Residence. The same company P & A CORPORATE TRUST at the same address in Liechtenstein is the owner of the British company called Blythe (Europe) Ltd. This London firm, in turn, owns 35% of the Kiev company Tantalit, which today is the nominal owner of the legendary Yanukovych’s Mezhyhirya Residence.
The same firm Blythe (Europe) Ltd is the owner of another company in Yanukovych’s orbit – Dom Lesnika that controls the Dnieper-Teteriv Hunting Forestry in Sukholuchchia. Formally, Dom Lesnika is the owner of 17.5 hectares of of land, where Yanukovych’s hunting residence is located. But thanks to the antitank ditch and the network of checkpoints, the entire 30 thousand hectares of forest were turned into an exclusion zone.
We bought a copy of the certificate of incorporation of Blythe (Europe) Ltd on the web site of British state registrar.
Thus, the property of Activ Solar, which builds solar power plants attracting public subsidies from the state budget of Ukraine, and the property of Yanukovych’s family businesses that own Mezhyhirya and Sukholuchia, is registered on one entity – P & A CORPORATE TRUST in Liechtenstein.
On his personal website Mr. Proksch refers to himself as the CEO of P & A CORPORATE TRUST.Of course, all of this cannot be a mere coincidence.
This means one of the two things:
(a) Klyuyev and Yanukovych are so close that they use the same Liechtenstein lawyer and register their property on the same front – the Liechtenstein trust.
(b) Klyuyev’s solar business actually does not belong only to him – the President’s family also has a share in it. The answer to this question is found only in the trust agreement that, under the laws of Liechtenstein, is not recorded anywhere, but only kept in the lawyer’s safe.
Given the new circumstances – the presence of the same trust in Klyuyev’s solar business and in the ownership structure of Yanukovych’s Mezhyhirya Residence it is is worth mentioning one more secret document. It is a diplomatic cable created by the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv in September 2007, which was later published on Wikileaks website.
The then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor reports to Washington about his meeting with Donetsk oligarchs Serhiy Taruta and Vitaliy Hayduk. During the three-hour conversation, according to the Ambassador, Taruta and Hayduk, among other things, told the diplomat about the leader of the Party of Regions.
In particular, they touched upon the relationship of Yanukovych and Kluyev. “Hayduk and Andrew Klyuev both worked for Yanukovych as vice-governors. Then Klyuyev provoked changes in the relationship by making Yanukovych his business partner, so he would get preference. Taruta did not know if they were still business partners, but said they have a special relationship.”
“Taruta thought Klyuyev was smart enough to implement reforms. Unfortunately, he had learned early that he could make money from holding a senior position, now he was abusing his office for self-enrichment. For example, according to Taruta, Klyuyev was smuggling huge amounts of chicken through a Special Economic Zone. Taruta thought Yanukovych might be getting a taste of the chicken smuggling as well, although he wasn’t sure.”
This also reminds us of the story of Serhiy Kluyev buying an apartment from Viktor Yanukovych for the clearly inflated price of $ 7 million. It looked like an attempt to legalize the Ukrainian President’s future share of income.
P.S. During the course of this investigation, Ukrainska Pravda has repeatedly tried to get the point of view Andriy and Serhiy Klyuyev on these facts. Serhiy Klyuyev said he did not want to talk to Ukrainska Pravda. Andriy Klyuyev refused to discuss Activ Solar business. Our questions passed along to Klyuyev through his press secretary remained unanswered. Pavlo Litovchenko – the formal director of Tantalit, the entity that allegedly owns Mezhyhirya, did not answer to Ukrainska Pravda’s request for information either.
Written by Serhiy Leshchenko