Common journalist investigation of Canadian television “CBC”, “Radio-Canada” and Latvian “Nekā Personīga” (“Nothing Personal”) reflected the connection of Russian special cervices’ activities in civilized countries, massive Russian money laundering via shell companies, and Ukrainian oceanic fishery that traditionally was connected with Kerch and Sevastopol. Journalists followed the transactions of two letterbox companies in a Latvian and Russian State banks and links with a nominally Latvian company, and revealed possible insurance fraud, the death of a sailor, the fall of the Crimean fishing fleet into unknown hands and industrial-scale illegal fishing in Africa. It was connected with the tragic accident took place in the middle of the summer of 2019, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Mauritania when the fire broke out on the fishing vessel “Ivan Golubets”.

“Ivan Golubets” was formally owned by the Ukrainian state-owned company “Servis”, but is actually leased to the “Canadian” company “Evial Business”. It this is a typical mailbox company whose owners are unknown, employees do not reach. Now journalists have received information that shows that the Canadian offshore is related to a Latvian company. Documents from handed over to the “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists” (ICIJ) reveal the transactions of two Canadian-registered shipowners. One is “Ivan Golubets” manager, “Evial Business”, the other is “Oceanic Fisheries NB”, and both are the shell companies.

In 2016 and 2017, those companies received millions of dollars in its accounts with the Latvian bank “Baltikums”, now called “BlueOrange”, from the Russian bank “Sberbank”. At least part of the money was transferred from “Baltikums” bank to “Promsvyazbank” in Moscow. The suspicious Canadian offshore received $ 26.5 million from Russia in a matter of months.

“Oceanic Fisheries” owns the vessel “Kapitan Krylov”, which “happened to be nearby” when the “Ivan Golubets” caught fire. The documents provide a clue to a company affiliated with “Oceanic Fisheries NB”, it is located in Liepaja, in the premises of the fishing company “Baltreids”.

Thirty years ago, Ukraine owned a lot of ocean-going fishing vessels, and when the occupation of Crimea started their number had fallen to 11. Ships based in the port of Sevastopol, were leased to Cypriot-registered companies with unknown owners. Following the attempt of annexation of Crimea, Ukraine stopped receiving money for offshore use. The Liepaja company “Baltreids” is owned by Russian-origin businessmen Nikolai Varusechkin and Oleg Hramov. Neither Hramov nor Varusechkin gived interviews to journalists regarding those events. Varusechkin later cancels the agreed appointment time and does not answer phone calls, no one opened the gate in his private house to journalists.

“Baltreid” vessels have been caught several times in illegal fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, this company is mentioned in reports from Greenpeace and scientists. Dihia Belhabiba, a leading fisheries researcher at Ecotrust Canada, said: “My first thought was to turn off their satellite signals, their AIS, to hide something suspicious. The second thought was that they were very close, some of them even inside an area where they shouldn’t be.” The signal of the ship “Ivan Golubets” was turned off for ten days. When the fire broke out, it was discovered that there were other ships in the immediate vicinity of the ship, which suggested that illegal transhipment had taken place.

“Ivan Golubets” sailed under the Georgian flag, it was registered in the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. The ship’s insurer was Russia’s State Ingosstrakh, with a sum insured of $ 15 million, although the insurance policy came into force five hours before Ivan Golubets was set on fire. Responsibility for these matters rests primarily with the shipowner, and perhaps with the master, as well as with the classificationregister that oversees the ship. And this classification organization is the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, a federal agency of Russia. It is a Russian state-owned company and this company issued false documents covering the burned vessel.

We will add that the direct connection between the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, “Evial Business” and the “Ivan Golubets” shipwreck has already been established by the current decision of the Sarata District Court of Odessa Region on January 29, 2020 in case 513/1077/19 [4]. The relevant investigation is currently held by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine [5].

The ones mentioned in the plot of the “Nekā personīga” are not the only companies of “Baltreida” owners abroad. In Cyprus, they have registered the company at the address where the company owned by “BlueOrange Bank” is also located. The bank did not respond in substance to this coincidence or to the suspicious transactions of huge Russian-origin money of Canadian letterbox companies.

In its turn, the company “Baltreids” has issued a warning before the plot goes on the air “Nekā personīga” that it will “recover from journalists the losses” caused to it due to “negative publicity”. But the facts established during the investigation of “Nekā personīga”, prove the connection of the “Latvian” company with suspicious transactions of Russian money. And those money laundering via shell companies by Russian-origin businessmen in Latvia and Canada were impossible without activities of IPJSC “Ingosstrakh”, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and other Russian state structures.

So Crimean oceanic fishery became now the tool for money laundering by Russian state-controlled international mafia in many civilised countries of the world.

Published regarding “CBC”, “Radio-Canada” and “Nekā Personīga” materials