The investigation into the "Panama file" continues. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime (OCCRP) succeeded in obtaining new documents from the Panama offshore Mossack Fonseca registrar. These documents are valuable in that they cover the period after the publication of the first leak. Therefore, we had an opportunity to learn how the Mossack Fonseca clients around the world - officials, politicians, their relatives, friends and other persons involved in the first investigation - reacted to the largest joint publication in history of 380 journalists from all over the world.
From the new leak of documents it follows that in relation to one of the companies of Sergei Roldugin, a well-known cellist and friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an official investigation is being carried out by law enforcement agencies of Panama on suspicion of economic crimes. And with respect to most other defendants in the Panama Archives from Russia, checks are being carried out on money laundering and corruption.
As in the past, the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung shared documents with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which again organized the work of hundreds of reporters.
The only partner of the project in Russia was Novaya Gazeta.
The first results of the study of documents from the Panama Dossier were published on April 3, 2016. And the next day, on April 4, 2016, the Panamanian registrar Mossack Fonseca sent a so-called "suspicious activity report" about Sonnette Overseas, owned by Sergei Roldugin, to the British Virgin Islands Financial Intelligence Agency.
This company Roldugina received "loans"-donations from large Russian businessmen. For example, in July 2007 Sonnette Overseas borrowed from another offshore structure, Levens Trading, $ 6 million at 2% per annum. And within a couple of months the lender for the "reward" of 1 dollar forgave this debt to Roldugin. Levens Trading can be connected with the richest businessman of Russia Alexey Mordashov: according to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, this offshore company owned 100% of Severstal-vtremet.
The "Suspicious Activity Report" is a document that banks, registrars and legal companies are required to send to law enforcement agencies if they have doubts about the activities of their clients and the sources of their funds' origin.
In the case of Mossack Fonseca, such haste in the performance of their duties seems doubtful. For example, as the basis for sending a report regarding the company Roldugin was specified (literally) "corruption".
"In the articles, we found information that Sergei Roldugin ... is mentioned as a friend of Vladimir Putin, the president of the Russian Federation, and the godfather of his eldest daughter," the report said.
The Panamanian registrar pretended that only from the publications of journalists on April 3 did he learn about the friendship of the Russian president with the cellist, although this information was known for a long time and was not hidden by Putin or Raldugin himself. Mossack Fonseca's duty was to draw attention to this information back in 2006-2009, when they were approached by representatives of Roldugin to register offshore companies in his name.
During April 2016, the Panamanian registrar sent reports on suspicious activity to the Financial Investigations Agency of the British Virgin Islands in relation to other companies related to Roldugin.
Judging by the documents from the new leak, an investigation into the offshores of the famous Russian cellist is being conducted not only in the British Virgin Islands, but also in Panama itself. December 21, 2016 in the office of Mossack Fonseca came a request from the prosecutor's office in Panama, which deals with the fight against organized crime. In this request, the prosecutor requested all available documents to be submitted to Internatiomal Media Overseas S.A. (IMO) to include them in the investigation materials on suspicion of an economic crime (which is not specified).
IMO played an important role in the offshore empire of Roldugin. This company conducted strange transactions with shares of the largest state-owned companies in Russia. It, for example, concluded simultaneously two contracts - for purchase of actions of "Rosneft" and on the termination of the same agreement. For the failure of the contract, the company Roldugina immediately received compensation - 750 thousand dollars. There were many similar deals. These operations made it possible to earn millions of dollars simply from the air.
In other cases, Roldugin's companies bought stakes in Russian enterprises and sold them literally the next day exactly to those who were bought yesterday, but with significant profits, which allowed them to earn 400-500 thousand dollars from the transaction.
The secret of this success was simple.
The experts interviewed by us believed that these transactions were not in fact, and contracts were signed only to provide documentary confirmation of the legal origin of the funds.
In favor of this version, and the fact that some contracts, judging by the correspondence of employees of Mossack Fonseca, was closed backdating.
In addition, IMO owned a share (through the Cyprus structure) in the Russian company Video International (Vi) - the largest seller of television advertising in the country.
Mossack Fonseca sent reports on suspicious activity to offshore companies of the Rothenberg family. The reason for sending was the suspicion of "money laundering". It is curious that the report was sent on March 30, 2016, a few days before the joint publication of the first results of the investigation. By that time, the office of the Panamanian registrar was not yet aware of when and about what the journalists' articles would appear, but they had already received a request from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which included questions about Rothenberg.
All these investigations and checks at the official level, of course, can not yet say that the persons involved in the Panamanian dossier from Russia have committed crimes. The last word is always for trial. But even about such interim results, investigative journalists from Russia had never dreamed before. Whatever we write, however proven it is, the authorities did not react at all. But this is also the power of international cooperation: corruption is almost always cross-border, and if in Russia it is closed to her eyes, then under the pressure of hundreds of journalists stolen at home will sooner or later look in other countries. And even on the paradise islands, which until recently seemed Russian kleptocracy so quiet and reliable for the storage of their capitals.