Who is behind the company which owns the helicopter captured in Afghanistan

Foto: publika.md

A Moldovan and three Afghans died after a helicopter Mi-8 MTV1 model, which belongs to the Moldovan company "Valan International Cargo Charter" SRL, was captured Tuesday, November 24, in Afghanistan. Two other Moldovan pilots in the helicopter were taken hostage. This morning, the Moldovan government convened an emergency meeting on this incident.

"MI17-1V helicopter is a private one operating in Afghanistan under contracts with other private companies for humanitarian air operations. It is not about a UN helicopter. There were 21 people, out of whom three members of Moldovan crew and 18 Afghan passengers", said the acting PM Gheorghe Brega after the governmental meeting.  

Company „Valan International Cargo Charter” SRL, that owns this helicopter captured in Afghanistan, was founded in 1998   and has declared objectives of activity, air transport based on scheduled and occasional missions, rental of aircraft without crew and repair of aircraft and space technology.

According to the data of the Chamber of State Registration, this company was founded by 7 persons: Alexandru, Evghenii, Serghei and Igor Zagrebelnii, Nina Gritcan, Tamara Suvorova and Inna Mikheeva, citizens of the Russian Federation.

The website of the air company writes that it operates a fleet made up from 3 planes AN-26-100 and 8 helicopters Mi-8 MTV-1.Of them, one plane AN-26-100 and three helicopters MI-8 MTV-1 are part of the air company and other aircrafts are rented from long-term reliable partners.

The air company specializes in air transport operations of the administrative staff, for corporate clients on the aircraft AN-26-100 and MI-8 MTV. The clients of „Valan International Cargo Charter” are: UN, World Food Program, US Department for International Development and private companies that are partners of international organizations.

According to the portal Mold-street, the company’s name Valan International Cargo Charter is found in the scandal and investigation related to the activity of the Russian Viktor Bout, dubbed the Merchant of death. He was charged in November 2011 of the illegal sale of weapons to troops from guerrilla in Columbia and sentenced to 25 years in prison by a court in New York.

Attending the emergency governmental meeting from Chisinau held on Wednesday, November 25, were acting Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and European Integration Minister Natalia Gherman, acting Interior Minister Oleg Balan and Defense Minister Anatol Salaru, SIS Director Mihai Balan and representatives of Civil Aeronautics Authority.

According to Gheorghe Brega, the Foreign and European Integration Ministry requested official information about the three Moldovan citizens, crew members of the helicopter captured in Afghanistan. The official also said that Moldova had asked support of states able to help releasing hostages captured in Afghanistan, among which: USA and Romania. He announced that the Deputy Foreign and European Integration Minister Andrei Galbur would manage activity of crisis cell, created on the matter.

The case of the helicopter shot down in Afghanistan will be discussed today in Montreal, Canada in the International Aviation Forum IWAF 2015.  Director of Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Moldova Mircea Malec will attend this event. He will have an emergency meeting with his counterpart from Afghanistan at the headquarters of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) in Montreal, writes portal Adevarul. He said that the company Valan International Cargo Charter operates flights in Afghanistan under contract with the US Government and has Air Operator Certificate No.009 valid until 25.07.2017.


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