Readers of this blog who who have seen the article, Who framed Vladimir Kokorev for Money Laundering?* , need to understand the historical context behind the case, the amount of effort that has been expended to falsely implicate Mr. Kokorev, and his entire immediate family, in a case specifically designed to ultimately bring down the current government of Equatorial Guinea, and the underlying reasons for this well-orchestrated effort. The answer is complex, due to the fact that the players have chosen to remain in the background, and exert their power, opaquely, behind the scenes.
Who would benefit most from a conviction for money laundering against Valdimir Kokorev, and how does such a case affect Equatorial Guinea ? To answer that, we need to examine the history of that nation. When it was a colony of Spain, Equatorial Guinea was exploited for timber, cocoa and gold production, by the powerful families that dominate the economy of Spain, though it was not known to be one of the country's most lucrative overseas possessions.
Long after it was granted independence, Equatorial Guinea was found to have major deposits of oil and gas, which were developed with assistance from, and in coordination with, some of America's largest petroleum companies. Equatorial Guinea became one of sub-Saharan Africa's leading producers of oil, which has resulted in an extraordinary increase in national income.
This newfound wealth has reportedly drawn the economic elite class in Spain, who covet the massive income, as well as petroleum being extracted.and exported to world markets. Unfortunately for Spain, its overtures have been rebuffed, and Equatorial Guinea has allied itself withe the United States, whose oil companies are largely responsible for the country's vastly improved economy.
These Spanish interests believe that, should they be able to effectuate a change in the government in Equatorial Guinea, that they could gain entrance into a share of the country's oil production, and revenue. Powerful enough to influence Spanish prosecutors, these interests have revived an old, discredited allegation, concerning payments made to Vladimir Kokorev, a Russian businessman who was engaged in substantial business transactions with Equatorial Guinea.
Through a Kokorev conviction, Spanish interests hope to ultimately obtain global sanctions against EG President Obiang, and thereby to drive him from office. Spain would then install an EX expat more cooperative with its elite, resulting in a renewal of the flow of lucrative profits from Equatorial Guinea one again.
We will be closely following the Kokorev case on this blog; stay tuned.