RISE Moldova has analyzed more than 1,000 documents, IP addresses, servers and email addresses that prove the connections between Vladimir Plahotniuc, a Member of Parliament and influential businessman, and the General Media Group Trust that includes the TV channels Publika TV, Prime TV, Canal 3 and Canal 2. The documents also reveal the mogul’s close relations with Finpar Invest SRL, a company with a share capital of nearly half a billion lei, that has as its shareholders and representatives his wife, Oxana Childescu; his sister, Vera Morozan; his godson-in-law Andrian Candu, the Speaker of the Parliament; Ghenadie Sajin, Head of the State Construction Inspection; Andrei Ursachi, son of the former chief of State Protection and Guarding Service; and Cezara Salinski, administrator of Prime Management SRL.
THE FINPAR AFFAIR
Finpar Invest SRL, the oldest company of the Plahotniuc family, was founded in 1993 with the name Center for the Prevention of Crimes and Rehabilitation of Minors with a share capital of 35,000 rubles. In 1998, Oxana Childescu Vladimir Plahotniuc’s wife, became a shareholder with 95 percent of the company’s capital. In 2003, the 95 percent was transmitted to Vera Morozan, Plahotniuc’s sister, and in 2005, the majority shareholders became many offshore companies, represented by proxies (a number of intermediaries controlled by Plahotniuc). That same year, the share capital was increased from 35,000 rubles to 11 million lei. In 2008, the company changed its name to Finpar Invest SRL.
In May 2010, the restaurant Ghiocel Dalb SRL and Briat & Co SRL (the company that had owned the Guguță cafes in the Public Garden on Boulevard Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt in Chișinău), were absorbed by Finpar Invest, whose share capital increased to 207 million lei. Two months later, Ghenadie Sajin, previously the chief of the State Construction Inspection agency and member of the National Political Council of the Democratic Party of Moldova, was appointed administrator at Finpar.
Documents obtained by RISE Moldova show that, until the end of 2010, Finpar Invest was controlled by two offshore companies. The first, Finpar Victoria Ltd. (Cyprus), was represented by Olga Dnestrean, the wife of Vladimir Dnestrean, the manager of the security company Argus-Teh SRL. The second, Power Investment LLC (USA), was represented by Andrei Ursachi, the husband of Judge Corina Ursachi and godson-in-law of the former chief of the State Protection and Security Service.
In a number of transactions, Power Investment LLC was also represented by Cristina Bălan, the general director of the Businesspeoples’ Association of Moldova, whose president is Vladimir Plahotniuc. In 2008, Balan also represented the Cypriot company, Daranian Holdings Ltd., that purchased the State Company Codru Hotel Complex for 50.3 million lei, property that later was transferred to Finpar Invest SRL (Details, HERE). In 2010, the real estate agency SOCLU, which assessed a number of objects owned by Finpar Invest, produced a report on the valuation of the Codru Hotel, indicating that its market value was 62.8 million lei, or 12.5 million lei more than collected by the Public Property Agency that had signed the sale and purchase agreement. Details, HERE
From December 2010 to 2014, the only partner of Finpar Invest SRL appeared to be OTIV Prime Real Estate BV (the Netherlands), a company represented by Parliamentary Speaker Candu, and Cezara Salinski, Manager of Prime Management SRL, the only company officially owned by Plahotniuc.
Since August 2014, the only shareholder of Finpar has been Asirapal Enterprises Ltd. (Cyprus), which in turn was founded by two other offshore companies (Details, HERE). In 2015, Finpar’s capital share amounted to 498 million lei, which is about 10 times more than the official property Plahotniuc listed in his asset declaration.
REAL ESTATE HELD BY FINPAR INVEST
• The premises of the General Media Group Trust that holds Publika TV, Prime TV, Canal 2 and Canal 3 (buildings of 1,431 square meters, 2,742 square meters, 152 square meters, and 54 square meters) at 1 Ghioceilor Str., acquired in 2013-2014 through a sale and purchase agreement. The adjacent plot of 1.1 hectares that belongs to the Moldexpo International Exhibition Center was leased to Finpar Invest for a period of 25 years. Details, HERE
• The Codru Hotel, 127 31st August 1989 St. and 18 Maria Cibotari St., acquired through a sale and purchase agreement. Details, HERE
• The Nobil Hotel, 49/1 Mihai Eminescu St. Details, HERE
• The Global Business Center, with an area of 5534 square meters, 1/1 D. Cantemir St. Details, HERE
• The former Guguță Café at the Public Garden Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt of Chișinău, 20 Maria Cebotari St., acquired in 2010 under a court judgment. In 2014, the Chișinău Mayor’s Office leased to Finpar Invest the adjacent land of 0.22 hectares for a period of 25 years. Finpar Invest has filed a complaint in court attempting to privatize the land they have leased. Details, HERE
• The former restaurant Ghiocel Dalb (construction of 1,883 square meters), 1 Ghidighici St., acquired in 2010 under a merger-by-absorption agreement, including the two islands on Lake La Izvor. Details, HERE
• The premises of the private security company Argus S SRL, with an area of 188 square meters and land plot of 0.05 hectares at 21 Mazililor St., district of Botanica, acquired in 2007 through a sale and purchase agreement from the construction company TIMOŞ A.I. SRL. Details, HERE
• A culture and recreation building (the Valea Trandafirilor Park) with an area of 581 square meters at 9 Melestiu St., Chișinău, acquired in 2005 through a sale and purchase agreement concluded with the construction company TIMOŞ A.I. SRL that obtained it in a public tender 12 days before selling it to Finpar. The land is in public property. Details, HERE
• Two apartments (the legal premises of Finpar) at 132 Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfânt Bd., acquired in 2007–2008 through a sale and purchase agreement from TIMOŞ A.I. SRL. Details, HERE
• Three apartments (the apartment bloc in which Plahotniuc and his relatives live) at 41 Bulgară Str. Apt.19, purchased in 2011. Apt. 24 was acquired in 2012. Apt. 25 was purchased in 2011 from Oxana Childescu, Plahotniuc’s wife. Details, HERE
• A warehouse on the Industrială Str. in Ungheni.
• Owned land: 10.4 hectares of construction land at 1/8 Tudor Vladimirescu St., acquired in 2010 through a sale and purchase agreement.
• 0.12 hectares of land leased (gas station) at 114/1 Ismail St., acquired in 2008 through court judgment and later leased to ÎCS Petrom-Moldova SA. Details, HERE
Andrian CANDU, Speaker of the Parliament: I know it’s a real estate company. There were certain affiliations or transaction relations in 2010… Finpar is in the top 10 biggest companies in Moldova.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONNECTED TO THE FINPAR SERVER
Based on information obtained from the online database nic.md administered by the State Company MoldData and from specialized sites, the server address (DNS) ns01.finpar.md and ns02.finpar.md was used as a bridge among the domains and email addresses of the Democratic Party of Moldova, the Moldovan Businesspeoples’ Association, the private security company Argus–S, the nightclub DRIVE, the Codru Hotel, the Nobil Hotel, the massage salon NobilSPA, the portals Epresa.md, autostrada.md and zumi.md, TV stations Canal 3 and PRIME TV, the radio station MUZ FM, mediaproduction.md, GSG.md, Global System, Angel–S, and the beauty salon Dessange. Details, HERE
According to the specialized sites, the server address ns02.finpar.md was located at Mazililor St. in Chișinău. The private security company Argus-S is located at this same address.
The advertising agency ANGEL-S SRL also has its premises at 1 Ghioceilor St., in the studio complex Media City, also known as “the media town of Moldexpo.” This agency collected 4.6 million lei from advertising in 2010. According to an agreement for the sale and purchase of shares, signed by Andrian Candu, ANGEL-S became property of OTIV Prime Media BV after it had transferred € 300,000 to the account of the offshore company Media Resources LLC, represented by Dorin Pavelescu, director of the advertising agency Casa Media Plus SRL at 1 Ghioceilor Str.
Media Resources LLC has also been represented in many transactions by Cristina Balan, general director of the Moldovan Businesspeople Association.
Andrian CANDU, Speaker of the Parliament: We have amended the legislation in such a way that all the media groups in Moldova become very transparent regarding their shareholders. I have high hopes that in the near future we will make our entire media industry transparent from a financial point of view, of the sources of investment, money sources, up to who the final beneficiary is, including the individual. The media industry is as sensitive as the banking sector. From a banking point of view, people must know to whom they entrust their money when they deposit it with the bank, and in the media area that is connected to fair information, people must know who is behind one structure or another.
CANDU, “OWNER” AT PUBLIKA THROUGH PROXY
The General Media Group SRL that owns the TV stations Publika TV, Prime TV, Canal 3 and Canal 2 is founded by OTIV Prime Media BV, an offshore company registered in the Netherlands. RISE Moldova has obtained a number of documents that show that both the Speaker of the Parliament Andrian Candu and Cezara Salinski appear as official representatives of OTIV Prime Media BV, which is part of the group OTIV Prime Holding BV. Details, HERE
Andrian CANDU, Speaker of the Parliament: About OTIV Prime Holding BV.: I provided legal assistance services with its first transactions. That’s all.
The public notary Olga Bondarciuc, who dealt with authenticating the proxies and the sale and purchase agreements, has her office in Plahotniuc’s residence at 1/1 D. Cantemir Bd., in the building of the Global Business Center.
Iurie SANDUȚA, Mihai MUNTEANU