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Scandal with Liglass Trading. Everything that became known in a month

The scandal around the Czech company Liglass Trading, which has undertaken to build ten small hydropower stations in Kyrgyzstan and four stations of Uppernaryn cascade, continues for the second month. And the number of questions for this time has increased. 24.kg news agency presents data on what became known about the project over the last month.

Still no money

The main question that remains open is whether Liglass Trading has money to build or not. Answer to it is possible only in one way — after seeing the promised $ 37 million investment in the authorized capital of Uppernaryn HPP CJSC. This will pay off Kyrgyzstan’s debt to RusHydro. For Liglass Trading, this procedure will become the official entrance to the project.

Initially, the owner of the company Michael Smelik claimed that he would certainly pay the entire amount until August 22, 2017. The date is not random. It was the month from the date of signing the agreement on the construction of the hydroelectric station. But the closer August was, the more it became clear that the timing would be shifted.

By the end of July, National energy holding confirmed that the countdown of 30 days to pay a contribution to the authorized capital will go after the approval of the transaction by the shareholders. At an extraordinary meeting on August 4, 2017, they did it. True, some of those present called the transaction doubtful and voted against.

When counting the votes of the shareholders of the National Energy Holding, it turned out that 4 percent were against. This is a lot, considering that 93.6 percent of the holding’s shares are held by the state.

But even after the approval of the transaction, lot of time passed, but Liglass Trading is not going to pay. The former head of the Cabinet Sooronbai Jeenbekov was forced to confess it at a press conference after retiring.

«Money hasn’t yet been transferred, but there is still time. The agreement is good. The work is under way,» he said.

Deputies are dissatisfied

Last week, parliament deputies were forced to return early from leave for the sake of choosing a new prime minister. Sapar Isakov represented his team at an extraordinary meeting of the parliament. The deputies had different questions, including Liglass Trading.

Deputy Aida Salyanova proposed the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the scam of Liglass Trading. And deputy Zhanar Akaev asked who will answer in case of project failure and damage to Kyrgyzstan from Liglass Trading.

«Recently, a material came out, which says that all the activities of this company — lie. Who will take responsibility if they still deceive us?» he asked.

A familiar response that there would be no damage was received. The leader of «Respublika» party Omurbek Babanov, and in connection with this deal, compared Kyrgyzstan with the banana republic.

In the Czech Republic — criminal cases

No matter how the officials justify Liglass Trading, the latest developments around the company are alarming. Thus, the largest newspaper in the Czech Republic, Lidove Noviny, reported that Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek asked the Czech Information Security Service (BIS) to investigate the activities of Liglass Trading. There are no official results yet.

Recall, the history of the company’s entry into the Kyrgyz market is closely connected with the now Prime Minister Sapar Isakov. It was in his name that a letter was received from the head of the Chancellery of the Czech President, Vratislav Mynar. In the document, he recommended Liglass Trading as a company capable of building hydroelectric power stations in Kyrgyzstan.

Vratislav Mynar told reporters that over the past two months he had spoken with Sapar Isakov more than 40 times — 23 times in August and 18 times in July.

Sapar Isakov told reporters that the development of the situation with Liglass Trading made him say that the company was personally lobbied by Czech President Milos Zeman. Supposedly there is even a corresponding video. In the office of the head of the Czech Republic, this data is not denied.

The iROZHLAS.cz server at the same time reported that Vrastilav Mynar and Milos Zeman didn’t have an official document when they recommended Liglass Trading to the Kyrgyz authorities. The office of the president refuses to comment on the situation. Vrastilav Mynar answered the questions of Czech journalists briefly: «I’m on vacation.» His press secretary referred to earlier given explanations that the contract of Liglass Trading with Kyrgyzstan is not connected with the president of the Czech Republic.

Deputies spotted in the affair

Another interesting case. Liglass rented an office in the center of Bishkek and made a video for the Kyrgyz public to show that it is a well-known and reputable company. On the video showed offices in which many employees work.

The owner of the company Michael Smelik left unanswered questions about where his company is located in Kyrgyzstan, and why it is impossible to meet with anyone in Liglass.

The office was located along Shopokov Street, in one of the business centers. According to preliminary data, the building where the Liglass Trading office made a video belongs to the deputy Akylbek Japarov. A week after the publication of the video, the nameplate Liglass Trading disappeared from the doors of one of the offices of the business center.

There were also suggestions that another Kyrgyz politician, Kubanychbek Tumanov, was involved in the case with Liglass Trading. Under the assumptions of Kyrgyz and Czech media, Liglass Trading came to Kyrgyzstan not at random. Two years ago they tried to enter the country’s energy market, but under a different name — GEEN General Energy. Then the negotiations were conducted at the highest level. Even opened the office of GEEN-KG in Bishkek. Its leaders were Jiří Wojciechowski (representative of Liglass Trading) and Kubanychbek Tumanov.

In 2015, GEEN General Energy was unable to participate in the construction of the hydropower station in Kyrgyzstan due to unsatisfactory financial condition. In 2017, Jiří Wojciechowski appeared in the new role — CEO of Liglass Trading.

Head of the company Liglass Trading Michael Smelik took a defensive position. He flatly refuses to answer any questions. And on the company’s website the latest update is dated July 24, 2017, when the video message of Michael Smelik was published with answers to questions.

«Because of the constant misinterpretation of my statements, I no longer provide answers to journalists,» he said.

Premier can’t predict

As for Sapar Isakov, he confirms the connection with Liglass Trading only partially. The Prime Minister admitted that there was conversation between the presidents of the two countries about the company, but denies that he personally lobbied the interests of Liglass Trading.

At that very special session of the parliament, MP Dastan Bekeshev interested about the fate of the project. «Don’t we disgrace ourselves?» he asked.

«Any public foreign companies that want to invest in the country can come to Kyrgyzstan. Liglass is one of them. It appeared in Kyrgyzstan 1.5 years ago and participated in the contest. The agreement entered into force on August 4, within 30 banking days the company should transfer the first $ 37 million, after which 50 percent of the share in the project will be transferred to Kyrgyzstan,» Sapar Isakov said.

I’m not a god and I can’t tell if the money comes or not. But if the money doesn’t come, then the agreement is deemed to be denounced. Therefore, Kyrgyzstan doesn’t lose anything.

Sapar Isakov

According to the State Committee for Industry, Energy and Mineral Resources, Liglass Trading has time to pay $ 37 million and prove its competence until the end of September.

But the question remains unclear, what prevents them from transferring money now to stop the destructive for the reputation scandals? Lack of understanding with the authorities or lack of funds? In the meantime, it remains to wait for turning point, when everything, perhaps, will fall into place.