Vanadzor-Kimprom CJSC, has become the latest corporate victim of murky offshore transactions plaguing Armenia.
Since 2007, 100% of the company’s stock has been owned by Roding Commercial Ltd., an offshore concern.
It’s not coincidental that the stories surrounding Armenia’s Nairit rubber plant and Vanadzor-Kimprom are similar.
According to Armenia’s State Registry of Legal Entities, Roding Commercial’s corporate address is the same as Rhinoville Property Ltd., which owns 90% of Nairit shares. That address is - 60 Cannon Street, London, EC4N 6NP.
The company that founded these two chemical entities (Vanadzor-Kimprom and Roding Commercial) is the same – Imex Executive Ltd.
The authorities in Armenia are attempting to conceal the owners of Vanadzor-Kimprom from the public eye. Armen Movsisyan, the former Minister of Energy and Natural Resources who now works as a presidential advisor, know full well who owns the shares of this company and why this one-time chemical giant, employing 700, is on the road to bankruptcy.
In a recent interview with Hetq, Movsisyan said that a Russian company owned Kimprom, but that he couldn’t remember the name.
For the past year or so, employees at Kimprom have been on forced leave and haven’t received wages for the period. Periodic protests by the workers have proved fruitless. It’s clear that top Armenian government officials have already handed over Kimprom to an offshore concern. Proceeds from the sale have disappeared in a number of directions.
Earlier, Lori Provincial Governor Artur Nalbandyan said the company owed 100 million AMD in back wages.
The chemical plant owes a staggering one billion AMD to HayRusGazArd and has racked up another one billion unpaid electricity bill. Kimprom also owes money to the Vanadzor Municipality in unpaid land and property taxes.
According to DataLex, a judiciary affairs website, there are nine suits filed against Kimprom. The utility Armenian Electricity Network has even sued in court, demanding that Kimprom be declared bankrupt in the hope of receiving some compensation from the sale of the company’s assets. The suit is still under review.
In 2011, Vanadzor-Kimprom was listed as the 127th largest taxpayer in Armenia, paying out 672 million AMD. In 2012, its ranking dropped to 282nd. By 2013, the company didn’t even make the list of top 1,000 taxpayers.
According to the State Registry, as of June 2, 2014, a 93 million AMD seizure demand has been placed on Kimprom. The paid-in capital of the company is nine million AMD.
Founded in 1929, the Vanadzor Chemical Plant started out manufacturing lime, expanding its production line over the years. Recently, it had begun to manufacture fertilizer as well. In 1999, the Vanadzor Chemical Plant was merged with the Vanadzor KimManrateleri Plant, and Prometey-Kimprom was born.
As of 1999, Vanadzor-Kimprom had a number of shareholders, but in 2007 Roding Commercial Ltd. Became the sole shareholder. Alexander Snegiryov, a Russian citizen, was appointed the plant’s manager. However, Roding was liquidated in 2010.
As to how the plant is being managed after Roding was officially liquidated only Snegiryov can say for sure. He remains the plant manager to date.
Imex Executive Ltd., which founded Roding, was an offshoot of a Russian branch ofG.S.L. Low Consulting.
Brenda Patricia Cocksedge, the name given as the latter’s shareholder and director, is a figurative one. It is linked to a vast number of individuals and offshore entities. At one time, this ‘person’ was also listed as the director of Rhinoville Property Ltd., the shareholder of Nairit.
Imex Executive also appears in a list of offshore companies exposed by reporters last year. The Guardian has reported that the company’s roots can be traced to a Russian businessman called Ivan Kovalchuk.
Imex was also a shareholder in the Belarus CredexBank.
United States authorities have included this bank in its ‘black list’ of banks known as potential money launderers of offshore funds and dabbling in other murky financial transactions. Based on a thorough investigation of the bank, in May of 2012, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of Treasury found that “Credex is a financial institution of primary laundering concern.”
Such a finding allows the U.S. to enact a number of restrictions against the bank and requires domestic financial institutions and financial agencies to take certain "special measures" against such an institution.
Back in Armenia, former energy minister Armen Movsisyan know better that anyone else what happened to Vanadzor-Kimprom. He personally knows the shareholders of the offshore company, and he was the force behind the various contracts signed.
He must come clean and explain how and why Vanadzor Kimprom and Nairit were sent offshore.
Top Photo: Former Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan; protesting Kimprom employees