Sunday, January 10, 2016


Readers who may have wondered why Spanish prosecutors are seeking to bring charges of money laundering against Vladimir Kokorev, that are for legitimate transactions from a dusty decade ago, and which were previously found to be bogus, by a court of competent jurisdiction, need to know that this represents the third time that Spanish interests have sought to reimpose Spain's influence and interest in Equatorial Guinea (EG), its former colony.

(1) Most are familiar with the unsuccessful 2004 coup d'etat against EG, which fell apart when a band of South African mercenaries, intent upon invading and conquering the country, for then unknown parties, were detained in Zimbabwe, while literally en route to EG, to seek the overthrow of the present government. Most public accounts state that certain private British interests allegedly funded the operation, with the expectation that they would share in lucrative oil contracts.

What is not generally known is that two Spanish navy vessels were cruising offshore, actually in EG territorial waters, with 5000 Spanish troops on board. After the mercenaries had attacked, deliberately causing extensive civilian casualties, the Spanish soldiers were to be landed, and act as "peacekeepers." Spain would them bring EG back into its sphere of influence, with certain companies owned by prominent Spanish families taking a large share of the oil profits.

The confidential details of this coup may finally be made public in 2016, as according to UK media, a well-known British attorney, specializing in human rights cases, has been retained to bring a civil suit, on behalf of Equatorial Guinea, against the coup plotters and supporters.

(2) The 2004 Riggs Bank scandal, which involved a $25m fine, for Bank Secrecy Act violations, none of which were for any acts of the bank regarding its Equatorial Guinea accounts. The fine was levied solely for the bank's involvement with Chilean President Pinochet, and his attorney. In that investigation, Spain unsuccessfully sought to have payments made through Riggs, to accounts at Spanish banks as improper or illegal. The US Senate investigation made no such finding, nor did FinCEN or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or there would have been a fine imposed.

(3) This brings us to the Kokorev case; though no criminal charges have been filed, Spanish authorities in the Canary Islands continue to hold Vladimir Kokorev, as well as members of his family. They are, according to official reports, only needed as Material Witnesses, but have not been allowed to bond out, notwithstanding that they previously resided in Spain for several years. They do not represent a danger to the community, nor are they flight risks, as Vladimir Kokorev is aged, ill & infirm. Also, their arrest and extradition from Panama was an extreme measure, to say the least, and it may later found to have been contrary to Spanish law.

Clearly, this money laundering investigation, which was brought far from Madrid, to shield the details from the public, and not because some of Kokorev's properties are located there, and which has no factual basis, is part of a continued plan by powerful interests in Spain, to take a share of Equatorial Guinea's lucrative oil industry profits. It is only the latest effort by Spain to exploit its former colony's natural resources, post-Independence, by creating an international scandal that could result in international sanctions against the current EG government, and its president, and hasten its collapse, by affording Spain an opportunity to regain its influence there. The bogus money laundering case is only a means to that end.

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