We are beginning to lose faith in the independence of the court system of Spain, which directly impacts Country Risk. For more than one year, the Russian businessman, Vladimir Kokorev, his wife and son, have been incarcerated in prisons, located in the Canary Islands. Though their imprisonment is allegedly as material witnesses to some as yet unfiled corruption case, involving officials of Equatorial Guinea (EG).
In truth and in fact, their imprisonment is punitive, and the Kokorevs are being detained, due to money laundering charges, for transactions that took place between ten and fifteen years ago. Spain never charged them, and the Statute of Limitations has long ago expired. They are frankly, being held without trial, in a situation that is more reminiscent of the gulags of the Soviet Union, than that of a member of the European Union. His guilt or innocence is immaterial, because he can no longer be tried there.
Wealthy Spanish industrial interests, unhappy with American participation in EG's oil industry, as the petroleum deposits were not discovered until after Spain granted EG its independence, reportedly want that lucrative business for themselves, and want EG President Obiang out of office, so that they can install a more malleable successor, who will cooperate with them.
The Spanish Government, which lacedt the investigation far from prying eyes in Madrid, is defying the rule of law, to appease its greedy business sector. When you cannot trust the courts, Country Risk must be elevated, for foreign investors who have no access to the courts, to redress civil defaults, or other grievances, should stay out of Spain. If Vladimir Kokorev dies in prison, it will be to late to save him. The EU should act, while it is still possible to remedy this case. Meanwhile, Country Risk for Spain is to be elevated.