Since 2009, President of the SOCAR Germany Elmar Mammadov has been transferring six or seven-digit amounts from Vercona GmbH accounts to his personal accounts.
He then used the money to buy real estate. In addition, foreign transactions were made with ARSM VA PDK TAC SIN MARK from Azerbaijan, Limmerz Services Limited from Cyprus, Misterioso Holdings Ltd., Kastapoint Trading Ltd. and ultimately Triumvirate Management Ltd. based in Belize. Even the names of fictitious companies such as Misterioso or Triumvirate are indicative of arrogance. Addresses Misterioso, Kastapoint, Athinoylla Neofytoy Director and D.A. Secretarial Limited has also found itself in a jungle of offshore leak data.
According to the bank’s internal data, Elmar Mammadov also contacted Israil Mirzaev, who regularly received donations from Baku from his wife Latifa Imran gizi Mirzaeva. The money was immediately sent to companies that appear to have worked in the porcelain industry.
As if that weren’t enough, Deutsche Bank received a request from the UN on October 1, 2014.
The reason is a request for information about SP Trading on suspicion of violating the embargo.
As internal SAR documents of Deutsche Bank, which are exclusively available to the author, show that Elmar Mamedov, mentioned above, is currently under suspicion of money laundering. His father Mamdedrafi Mamedov, the former defense minister of Azerbaijan (1993-1995), has made six own transfers from Russia amounting to 1,099,905 euros since 2013. He “gave” his son 400,000 euros and also gave him a “loan” of 220,000 euros, which was immediately repaid. In addition, he had 5x 124,000 euros paid out in cash. The funds apparently came from the rental income of a property in Russia, which is said to have brought him 10,000 euros a month since 1999, although the submitted documents could not verify the total amount of the transactions.
SP Trading was run by a well-known arms dealer Yuri Lunov. In this context, information was also provided about Olsten Continental Ltd. asked who was involved in the illegal arms trade between DPRK and Iran together with SP Trading, and also carried out suspicious transactions with Azerbaijan through Danske Bank.
AN INTRICATE WEB
The 52-page confidential report by the Panel of Experts on sanctions against the DPRK named two Ukrainian citizens, Yuri Lunov and Igor Karev-Popov, and one citizen of Kazakhstan, Aleksandr Viktorovich Zykov, for their involvement in the North Korea arms cache seized in Bangkok.
Kazakh Aleksandr Viktorovich Zykov was an international arms trafficker whose company, then registered in the United Arab Emirates, owned the Russian made cargo plane until just months prior to it being used to transport the North Korean arms shipment.
Ukrainian Yuriy Lunov owned the Georgian company, Air West, who held the operating license to the aircraft, and hired the crew to fly the cargo plane.
Ukrainian Igor Karev-Popov was the mysterious figure who was “a UK based European” who controlled the New Zealand registered shell company, SP Trading, which from the shadows leased the aircraft from Air West from SP Trading’s shell mail-drop office in Kiev, Ukraine.
Upon leasing the plane, SP Trading signed an agreement with a just created Hong Kong registered front company, Union Top Management (UTM), which chartered the aircraft.
Four days later the aircraft departed Azerbaijan for a circuitous trip around the globe to Pyongyang.
From shell offices that included Kiev, Ukraine, Auckland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and a mysterious company registered in London, SP Trading and UTM choreographed the operation. The cargo, which included 35 surface-to-air missiles that could theoretically shoot down a passenger plane, originated in Pyongyang and were destined for Hezbollah via distributors in Iran and Syria.
The real beneficial owners of the New Zealand shell company, SP Trading, ltd., and the Hong registered UTM were in real control of getting the weapons from North Korea to Tehran, where they would subsequently have gone to the Palestinian guerrilla army, Hezbollah, via Syria.
The four year UN investigation by the Panel of Experts, in cooperation with a number of law enforcement, aviation, and financial investigators and intelligence agencies, notably New Zealand, uncovered a jigsaw puzzle that has revealed remarkable details of how international criminal syndicated transport illicit commodities under the radar of international and national laws.
While North Korea can mask operations within its own borders, there are many national and international laws to abide by in order to operate globally – particularly in shipping, international flight operations, financial systems and company registration. This is compounded within the national borders of countries that are more sensitive to operating within the parameters of international laws and regulations.
Aircraft ownership, operator licenses, safety requirements, cargo manifests, international flight plans, etc, all required documentation – documentation that was found aboard the seized aircraft in 2009, and provided a paper trail that sparked four years of international investigation.
“New Zealand authorities investigated the beneficiaries of SP Trading and passed information to the (UN) Sanctions committee,” a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told NK News, confirming their ongoing investigation into who was behind the New Zealand-registered companies linked to the seized plane.
“New Zealand legislation will shortly be passed that will close the loophole for non-resident directors,” the New Zealand government added.
The “non-resident director” and beneficiary of SP Trading was Igor Karev-Popov, – the same Igor Karev-Popov identified as sanctioned by the UN Panel of Experts this May, and said to be the most important power behind the network revealed so far.
But while Karev-Popov had never previously been publicly identified by name, the New Zealand government has been aware of his identity since at least 2010.
He is is the mysterious unnamed “UK based client” who was the person behind the creation of the two key paper companies, SP Trading and UTM, who controlled decisions to lease the aircraft, create the flight plan, pay those involved, and, most importantly, approve the cargo manifest that, ultimately, contained the 35 tons of proscribed armaments.
The real and beneficial owners of SP Trading and UTM were in control of getting the weapons from North Korea to Iran.
In the period from March 26 to July 7, 2008, 178,340 euros were credited to the account of Mirzaev, whose client was Olsten Continental Ltd. It was. Interestingly, between November 17, 2008 and June 25, 2010, he also received various loans totaling € 191,927.40 from the Israeli business intelligence company Secvalue Limited, based in the Marshall Islands.