Companies of Iurcu’s friends continue to win contracts with Moldtelecom
Companies affiliated to Vitalie Iurcu, currently Deputy Minister of Economy and ex-director of Moldtelecom, continue to be key procurement partners of the joint venture owned by the state, even after he left the company. Recently, just through one invoice, to the firm’s accounts established by Iurcu’s friends, were transferred 700,000 lei.
Previously, we demonstrated how several companies belonging to friends or business partnersof VitalieIurcu, then director of Moldelecom, obtained multi-million contracts with this joint stock company owned by the state. The information is now confirmed by recent acts, which came into our possession, demonstrating that Moldtelecom continues to buy from the same companies, even if, at least officially, Iurcu is no longer running the institution.
Joint premises with his ex-boss’s company in Bucharest
Weeks earlier, only through one invoice, Moldtelecom representatives purchased several products from "Lobi Steel Trade" company, in the amount of 700 thousand lei. The company was registered in April 2009 but officially obtained the certificate of registration in January 2010, the firm being founded by "Lobi Trade" LLC from Romania, with 84%, and Russian citizen residing in Moldova MukhmadGalaev, with the other 16%. "Lobi Steel Trade" is managed, at least according to the documents, by AlinaTalavira. The company from Romania, which owns the LLC that was winning and keeps winning contracts with Moldtelecom has its legal address in Bucharest, sector 6, Preciziei St. 34 B. Moreover, at this address are registered a few companies with Moldovan founders. One of these companies is "Hellis& Partners Real Estate". According to the National Trade Registry Office of the Ministry of Justice of Romania, the company was registered in 2013 on Preciziei St., 34, in an apartment bought in the same year.
The founders of this company are VitalieIurcu, ex-director of Moldtelecom, the current Deputy Minister of Economy who holds 92.5% of assets, with a capital contribution of 9,250 Romanian lei, equivalent to about 40 thousand lei (MDL) and Vitaly Frunze, which contributed with 750 Romanian lei, with 7.5% of assets. In other words, the company that wins contracts from Moldtelecomis founded by the same firm thatshares the same premiseswith VitalieIurcu’s company in Bucharest.
Lobi’s history at Moldtelecom
In fact, "Lobi Steel Trade", as announced on its website, www.lobi.md is part of Lobi Group that encompasses several entities with similar names: "Lobi - GP", "Lobi M" or “Lobi Logistic ". Some of them have also dipped in the gravy from contracts with Moldtelecom. In fact, the relations between "Lobi-GP" and Moldtelecom are disclosed in a report of the Court of Accounts that in 2011 verified the activity of the joint stock company for 2009-2010. From the report we learn that in 2010 the company was awarded a contract of 4.88 million lei by Moldtelecom “for the procurement of box switches (electric devices that convert alternative current (AC) into direct current (DC) and vice versa, and modules".
"Lobi Steel Trade", like other companies from theLobi group, has its premises on2/4 Studentilor St., where there are located several warehouses and buildings privatized in 2005 and now,according to cadastral data, belonging to "Tehnovin" joint venture,managed by Alexander Valcu. He is the business partner of Vitaly Frunze, Iurcu's partner from Romania but also a family friend of Iurcuspouses. Alexander Valcu,VitalyFrunze and AlinaTalavira (manager of "Lobi Steel Trade") are company founders.
"Lobi-GP"has partners in other businesses. In some of them, they are partners with Dmitri Mironov, nephew of the current Deputy Minister of Economy. Moreover, in 2007, the land and buildings at2/4 Studentilor St. were pledged at Victoribank to obtain loans of tens of millions MDL, most of which unrepaid even in 2015. In 2011, "Lobi Steel Trade ", which now sells products to Moldelecom, had other activities. It won a tender for the production of "20th anniversary celebration badges for the Secret Service of Moldova” in the amount of 40 thousand lei.
Friends with connections at Moldtelecom
However, not just Lobi group companies are winning tenders at Moldtelecom. Another regular customer is "Sticlamont" a joint venture previously managed by Mukhmad Galaev, listed as founder of "Lobi Steel Trade". Until recently, Galaev was President of Zikkurat group companies that includes"Sticlamont". According to the documents we got,Zikkuratis a partner of Moldtelecom. On a social network, Galaev appears in a photo with Alexander Valcu, Vitale Iurcu and other friends, sitting at a table. To note that in 2014, the National Integrity Commission (NIC) initiated an inspection in respect of VitalieIurcu, then director of Moldtelecom, following a claim that he had purchased Zikkurat shares. This, however, had not been confirmed within the official review by the representatives of NIC, although, as our sources have also confirmed, Iurcu has a more than close relationship with this company, participating in some working meetings there.
We contacted Victor Gherasim, the secretary of the Tender Commission within Moldtelecom and asked how he could explain the success of these
companies, particularly those from Lobi group, in tendersatMoldelecom. He told us that he would not be the person responsible to give us such information and also urged us to formulate our questions in writing. We mention in this the context that we had already submitted these questions in writing, only that Moldtelecomrepresentatives refused to tell us which companies were winning tenders in recent years, arguing that the law on access to information would not obligethem to provide us such information . We talked with representatives of the press service of the institution, to whom I had sent a written request, insisting to explain to us what would be the Lobi group companies’ key to success in winning tenders at Moldtelecom. No response followed, so far. As a reminder,Moldtelecom remained without a general director afterAugust 2015, when VitalieIurcu was appointed Deputy Minister of Economy. No new manager has been appointed in his place, even an acting one.
Prosecutors have finally reached Moldtelecom
After the publication of Moldtelecom tender related articles, at our request, the National Anti-Corruption Center (NAC) announced us in May that the institution would verify the information submitted, and then would inform us of the outcome. Although we are already in October 2015, we have not received yet any feedback from NAC. The other day, however, in the midst of political war, and after VladFilat,awaiting arrest for corruption, was declaring from the parliamentary tribune about the irregularities atMoldtelecom, Metalferos and Moldovagaz, the General Prosecutor’s Office announced that it ”seized the documents referring to the economic and financial activity of the three companies. The acts and shares of the administrations of the respective companies are to be analyzed and documented under the proceedings of committing abuses and excess of powers provided for by law and regulations in this field, which would have inflicteddamage to public interests and consumers", reads the press release of the institution.
General Prosecutor’s Officeinforms that these cases, including the Moldtelecom investigation, are managed by the Criminal Prosecution Division. NicholaeChitoroagă, Head of the Division, refused to give us too much information, saying that we should talk to the press service of the institution. At our questions, Chitoroaga said that the investigation is not a mere verification and, by law, can take place only under criminal proceedings or criminal prosecution, but refused to tell us under which of the two capacitiesMoldtelecom searches were conducted
The investigation was carried out within the "Journalists for integrity in public service" campaign organized by the Center for Investigative Journalism, with the support of the Good Governance Program of Soros Foundation Moldova. The financing Institution does not affect in any way the subject and content of published investigations.
Investigations in the same category:
How separatists in breakaway regions mine cryptocurrencies for terrorist financing and money laundering
● Characters from the Kremlin's entourage revolve around the cryptocurrency business in the pro-Russian separatist republics of Moldova and Ukraine. ● The mining activity takes place with cheap or free raw material guaranteed by Moscow. ● Legislation in this area is still in a grey zone, and Bitcoin has exceeded the level of 25,000 US dollars per unit. Andriy, 38, lives in a modest apartment in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk. Unemployed, he decided to make some money by installing a "cryptocurrency farm" in his bedroom. He is already used to the noise of coolers, and the gain is guaranteed. "For a
SCHEMES // Protective equipment, made in Moldova, exported to Poland, as COVID-19 crisis is in full swing
In full swing of a pandemic crisis, when Moldovan hospitals are facing a lack of coronavirus protective equipment and Moldovan authorities spend millions of public money on their import, an economic agent from Balti is exporting protective equipment to Poland. The equipment was exported by two air flights, operated by Ryanair, on April 11 and 14, respectively. This happened amid the ban on the export of protective equipment, obviously, with the help of the authorities, who do not assume responsibility and say they have banned the export of gloves and masks, but not of protective equipment. The company that exported
● The main beneficiary of the cryptocurrency business in the breakaway region of Transnistria is the Sheriff holding and a former employee of the Interior Ministry of the Russian Federation. ● The equipment was purchased through a bank involved in the theft of the billion. ● The actors and companies involved have businesses in the energy sector, telecommunication, internet in Crimea and in the Western countries in Europe. Tehnopark company is located in the Business Center "Rossia", one of the most modern buildings in Tiraspol, the main city of the breakaway region of Transnistria, in contrast to the grey of Soviet architecture. This is a
Vlad of Arabia: properties, interests and connections in the Middle East
● The leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova Vlad Plahotniuc reported for the first time a series of business and interests in the Middle East. ● Moldova has strengthened its relations with the countries of this region in recent years. ● One of the intermediaries is the Trans-Oil patron, Vaja Jhashi, who advised several government structures in the Middle East. ● The United Arab Emirates has been a destination for money leaks from the "Russian Laundromat" affair, as well as the "grand theft" of the billion US dollars from the Moldovan banking system. The leader of the Democratic Party, Vlad Plahotniuc, is
European funded roads rehabilitated with significant delays
Four out of 13 companies, that have been shortlisted in international tenders over the last five years in order to rehabilitate the national roads of the Republic of Moldova, have been sanctioned for delays in the execution of the works. All fined companies are international and the amount of fines exceeds EUR 3.8 million. The four companies that were sanctioned for delays in the execution of the works were contracted during 2011-2014 for repairing several areas on national the routes Chisinau - Soroca, Chisinau - Comrat - Giurgiulesti, Chisinau - Ungheni - Sculeni and for the construction of Ungheni bypass
Bypass road, “bypassed” by the Authorities
Announced with great pomp in early 2012, Chisinau's bypass road remained just an unfulfilled promise. Five years after the announcement of the project, the authorities did not even develop a feasibility study to determine the need for the ring road and its route. In the absence of the “plan”, however, a construction company was contracted, which conducted only 3% of the works in two years on a bypass road segment that was to be ready in January 2018. The whole Bypass road would cost about EUR 200 million, money the authorities do not know where to take from. The first
Till the first earthquake happens
It's usually said about houses and building, constructed in the Republic of Moldova after 1991, they will resist before the first earthquake will happen. This is an emotional evaluation of things. And two earthquakes with a moderate magnitude that happened in September and December of 2016 proved it. What's the actual situation in the construction sphere? And, is there a possibility for a total damage to happen to a person and his property, because of builders or officials’ fault? Features in Moldavian constructions “When I was a student, my professors used to tell me: “There is an unique environment in
How several presidential candidates pocketed electoral money
The campaign for 2016 presidential elections with a budget worth almost 60 million lei has been one of the most expensive in Moldova so far. The money collected from thousands of sponsors: students, pensioners or unemployed, prosperous businessmen reached the accounts of some companies that manage TV channels. The main beneficiary of the electoral campaign held this autumn fall is the first deputy-chairman of the Democratic Party, owner of 4 TV channels. Most of the contenders aired election ads on these TV channels. About 40 per cent of electoral funds of the 12 candidates were paid to the accounts
Ukraine-Moldova-Transnistria: golden triangle of smuggling
Almost every month, law enforcement officers of Ukraine report about delaying of alcohol and cigarettes smuggling from Moldova. However, in Ukraine the quantity of smuggled goods does not become less–“Privoz” in Odessa, which is one of the oldest and largest existing markets in Europe, is crowded with contraband cigarettes. They sell it without checks and excise duties are questionable. Internet is full of proposals of Moldovan cigaretteswholesale. However, official data indicates that for more than two years Moldovacigarettesare not imported to Ukraine. However, traders are ready to sell illegal goodsby blocks, which prove the magnitude of the supply of
The grain market in Moldova, under the Russian monopoly
The wheat harvest this year was plenteous, with an average quantity of 3.4 tons per hectare. Nevertheless, the small producers will not benefit of this situation, because they are compelled to sell their grains to a derisory price. The only beneficiary is Trans-Oil, a holding consisting in a series of off-shores registered in Switzerland and Cyprus and joint-stock companies form Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. The company is controlled by the Russian citizen Vazha Dzashi, who was born in Georgia (USSR), holds an American passport and hi is member of the Council of Administration of the Moldovan Businessman Association. Trans-Oil, a
New Airline Fly One and Private Interests of the Civil Aviation Authority Director, Confirmed by ISS
Mircea Maleca, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is allegedly the real business partner of the family of Ministry of Justice Vladimir Cebotari in the new airline company Fly One. The official is hiding behind his former father- in-law from Leova. This is confirmed by a letter signed by Mihai Balan, Director of the Information and Security Service (ISS), that recently came into possession of portal Anticoruptie.md. Although its authenticity is not confirmed, ISS heads claim in an official response that the CAA managers abuse power by promoting private interests in civil aviation, which would be contrary to
Energy (in)dependence of Ukraine and Moldova: After association with the EU
The desire to join the European Union, voiced by Ukraine and Moldova, set the agenda of the authorities, including the issue of the system of purchase and supply of natural gas. Nevertheless, the assessment of the situation to date, carried out by a group of journalists from Moldova and Ukraine, shows that the market of gas in both countries still has some problems, and carries the risk of corruption. Embezzlement of public funds, key intermediary firms of dubious reputation, monopoly - these are the main features of the gas market in the two post-Soviet countries. "Moldova to Russia’s pocket". How it
New Airline in the Pocket of the Minister of Justice
A new airline will operate in Moldova as of May 2016 and will transport passengers to several European cities. The company was registered last autumn and has as founders Maria Cebotari, wife of the current Minister of Justice, Vladimir Cebotari, while his sister, Mariana Tabuica, would be the new executive director. The Minister confirmed that his family started a new business and it's just a way to earn a living. "Just like any citizen of this country, I cope with problems", says the official who gets a monthly income from ministerial activity of about 16,000 lei. Initially, Fly One promises flights
False Flags of Moldova: Azerbaijan-Netherland’s Track
The story of Giurgiulești port, „the incubator” of Moldavian flag for ships business, begins with an extremely onerous business involving the communists led by former president Vladimir Voronin, Azerbaijan businessmen and companies, Swiss credit companies, other companies registered in the Netherlands, as well as a BERD former employee that later became one of the business heads. One of the constant players that are to be described later on is the business man, Thomas Mosser. The story of the Romanian port of Giurgiulești began in 1993 when Andrei Sangheli, Moldavian former prime minister intended to build a port right in the
"Platonic" Ukrainians’ businesses in Chisinau
Oleksandr Pinchuk, a Ukrainian national and a former head of the National Bureau of Motor Vehicle Insurers of the Republic of Moldova, has been on the wanted list of the Moldovan authorities for almost a year by now. He became a key person of interest for the National Anticorruption Centre and the Anticorruption Prosecution Office when the Bureau suffered 30 million leu damages. However, Pinchuk, who is also a successful lawyer from Ukraine, goes to work every day, meets his partners and participates in public life of the neighboring state without any problems. We have found him and even talked
Audit with interests? Who owns the companies selected by the Ministry of Finance to carry out financial controls at state enterprises?
The government has recently approved a list of 37 audit companies, filled by the Ministry of Finance, that will audit the financial statements of state enterprises or companies in which the state share exceeds 50 percent of the social capital. One of the companies approved to make checks in 2015 is that of Ion Prisacaru, head of the State Tax Inspectorate (STI) and other companies related to former employees of Finance Ministry. The National Anti-Corruption Center (CNA) conducted a survey on the corruptibility of the draft decision of the Government in March and warned about situations of conflicts of
Off-SHOR Airport via Russia (II)
To ensure incomes estimated at over one billion Euros to the company „Avia Invest”, managed by the current mayor of Orhei Ilan Shor, the main suspect in the case on the theft of billion from the financial-banking system of the Republic of Moldova, the Government does not want to annul an airport fee which the National Anticorruption Center (CNA) reported that it was perceived illegally. From the central rostrum of Parliament, the CNA director suggests that money stolen from BEM is laundered at the Airport, but the officials from the Center who investigate the case wait for answers from Russia.
Off-SHOR Airport via Russia
Chisinau International Airport (AIC) lease is one of the most controversial "businesses" concluded by the Government of the Republic of Moldova in recent years. Although 5 European companies with experience in airport activity were invited to participate in the contest, the competition commission chose an anonymous company, founded by an airport in Russia and a Russian factory of locomotives production, which ceded the "business" to an off-shore. Today, investments in Airport modernization are made mostly based on money from the activity of AIC transferred to the accounts of companies close to Ilan Shor. „Business” AIC - An opaque contest, won by
The confidential report of the Commission of Minister Cebotari and Airport leasing
President of the Commission on assessing the Chisinau International Airport leasing agreement, Minister of Justice Vladimir Cebotari admitted that "Avia Invest" has not fulfilled some of the provisions stipulated by the agreement, but he argues that there are no grounds for terminating the agreement. Termination was recommended by the National Anti-Corruption Center, after they had identified some irregularities about set investments and after certain revenues of the airport would have arrived at the football club of mayor in Orhei, Ilan Sor. Ex-Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet claims that the first part of the Report shows grounds for termination and the
The stories from www.anticoruptie.md may be used in the limit of up to 1,000 characters. Web pages must indicate the source and link directly to the article. Print media, Radio and TV stations must indicate the source. Publishing full version of stories is allowed based on a prior agreement with the Center for Investigative Journalism. Articles published on www.anticoruptie.md are protected by the Law on copyright and related rights of Republic of Moldova.