Belarus’ Lukashenko has business ties in Cyprus – reports

Belarus’ Lukashenko has business ties in Cyprus – reports

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has family connections to at least two firms in Cyprus, as EU states prepare to go after his money, according to EUobserver, a non-profit, investigative online publication established in Brussels in 2000

 

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has family connections to at least two firms in Cyprus, as EU states prepare to go after his money, according to EUobserver, a non-profit, investigative online publication established in Brussels in 2000

On Monday, EU countries, including Cyprus, agreed to freeze Lukashenko’s financial assets if they found any.

The publication claims that two Cypriot real-estate companies, namely Eastleigh Trading and Dana Holdings, both have links to the Lukakshenko’s daughter-in-law Lilya, the wife of his eldest son, Viktor.

She was named as a director of Eastleigh Trading by Vyacheslav Dudkin, a former anti-corruption chief in Belarus’ interior ministry, who fled the country in 2012.

Dudkin said she and Eastleigh Trading owner, Belarusian tycoon Vladimir Peftiev, had used the firm in fraudulent schemes.

Eastleigh Trading was still active in 2019, according to its Cypriot corporate files, EUobserver said. A 2013 audit also claims “its principal activities were that of a holding company and the purchase, reconstruction, and rendering of real estate in Belarus” and “its shares were held exclusively by non-residents of Cyprus.

Lukashenko’s daughter-in-law was also named as a “senior officer” in a Dana Holdings subsidiary. Unlike Eastleigh Trading, however, the group’s Cypriot subsidiary has not done much business lately, its files indicated, the report said.

According to EUobserver, Cyprus handles more foreign investment in Belarus than any other EU country.

The close ties stem from a double-taxation treaty in 1998, which lets Belarusian firms benefit from lower Cypriot taxes via brass-plate subsidiaries.

And the perks see up to €1bn a year moving back and forth in good years, such as 2013, according to Belarus’ official statistics, the report said.

Some major Belarusian companies have also invested in Cyprus, like Wargaming Group, a Belarusian video-game company valued at €1.3bn by Bloomberg has its headquarters in a glass tower in Nicosia.

At least 19 Belarusians, including businessmen and their families, also obtained Cypriot passports between 2017 and 2019, according to Al Jazeera’s “Cyprus Papers.”

Lukashenko is currently facing a strong opposition to his rule, after the controversial 2020 Belarusian presidential election led to widespread allegations of vote rigging, which strongly amplified anti-government protests. He is not recognised by the EU and the United States as the legitimate president of Belarus.

Belarusian President Lukashenko Chairs A Meeting In Minsk

 

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