Sunday, May 31, 2015


Expensive works of art offered as inducements are at the center of the latest series of damaging allegations around the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, a published report claimed.
A painting, believed to be a Picasso, was allegedly gifted to Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president and FIFA executive member Michel Platini in return for his support for the eventually successful Russian bid for the 2018 global showpiece.
Another FIFA voting member, Michel D'Hooghe, from Belgium, was also the recipient of a landscape painting, given to him in a package wrapped in brown paper by Viacheslav Koloskov, a former Russian executive committee member working for his nation's attempt to host the 2018 tournament, it is alleged in a report in The Sunday Times.

This sounds remarkably like how Putin bribed Prince Albert of Monaco with a dacha built by Russian construction workers on the grounds of Roc Agel, the Prince's private estate.

In return, Albert, a member of the IOC, assured that Sochi would win as venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The following is reprinted from a December 2010 blog post:

Prince Albert II of Monaco is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

As such, Albert votes on where the Olympics shall be played. This is a highly-competitive business.

In early July 2007, the IOC met to vote on which city should host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Albert voted for Sochi, in Russia.

Several months earlier, Russian laborers began building a three-bedroom dacha (traditional Russian house) on the grounds of Roc Agel, Prince Albert's private estate in the mountains behind Monaco. 

The dacha was a personal gift from Vladimir Putin.

It is a violation of the IOC's Code of Ethics for an IOC Member to receive a gift from a country engaged in bidding to host the Olympic Games.

Albert never declared his gift to IOC's leadership.

He kept it secret.

This was a blatant violation of the IOC's Code of Ethics.

Rules Concerning Conflicts of Interest Affecting the Behavior of Olympic Parties

Article 3

A conflict of interest arises when personal and/or material involvement with suppliers of the Olympic party concerned.

Prince Albert breached the IOC's Code of Ethics when he agreed to receive the personal gift of a house from Russia, built from scratch by Russian laborers on his private property, at a time when the Russian city of Sochi was in competition to host the Winter 2014 Olympics.

Article 7

In the event that a person neglects to declare a situation of a potential conflict of interests, the IOC may refer the case to the Ethics Commission... leading to sanctions.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Various groups of close associates of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are laundering money through Monaco and are suspected of acting on Putin's behalf.

One such group includes PETROTRADE S.A.M.

PETROTRADE is an oil company registered in Monaco. 

It first came to the attention of Monaco authorities in 1999 when they were contacted by the Polish government with regard to a money laundering investigation of BMG PETROTRADE-POLAND.

PETROTRADE is ostensibly owned by Pierre Raphael Ergas, a French national born 20 April 1950 in Marseille.

Ergas, in 1991, set up RUSSIAN TRADE DEVELOPMENT at 27 Avenue Princess Charlotte in Monaco.

Ergas connects to known Russian organized crime figures.

PETROTRADE also connects to the late Bruce Rappaport, who has a long history with corrupt Russian interests, and was long suspected of laundering money from the oil industry. 

Rappaport first met Ergas in 1992.

A majority shareholder of Inter Maritime Bank in Switzerland, Rappaport was expelled from Monaco in 2001, but was allowed back six months later after money changed hands.

Friday, May 15, 2015


My French asset, Liddy, provided me with a report on a Monaco-based company called Sotrama.  

LIDDY claimed Sotrama was a front for Russian arms dealing, that it laundered money, and that President Putin and his cronies from St. Petersburg were behind it.  

The widow of the Russian who’d fronted Sotrama, Dimitros Skigin, felt uncompensated.   

When told Skigin’s ownership of the company was just a fa├žade, with no inheritance due her, she ran to French police and started blabbing.  

LIDDY’s point was, if news of this got out, it would embarrass Monaco.

In London, I met my SIS contact for a bottle of ’94 Gran Riserva rioja at Ball Brothers in St. James’s.  

“The French have offered me ten million euros to piss off,” I joked.  

“It could happen,” he replied. “And I get half.”

My escalation of liaison relationships improved our ability to operate, but probably made the French nervous.  

“The French consider Monaco their hunting ground,” he said, “and you’re uncovering things the French want exclusively for themselves.”  

(Example: intelligence on oil distribution companies—Sotrama, Petro Trade—that linked to Russian organized crime and President Putin.)

I recruited a new agent:  a Russian born female, very bright with stunning looks, and good Russian contacts around the principality.  

More importantly, she worked at Sotrama, the Monaco-based company, linked to President Putin, we suspected of money laundering.  

I code-named her MARTHA, after Martha Mitchell.  (We already had LIDDY and HUNT and I rather enjoyed a Watergate theme.)

MARTHA revealed that Sotrama declared only 100,000 euros per month to Monaco’s fiscal authorities, just the amount needed for salaries and operations and a small profit.  

But in actual fact, this oil distribution and trading company was laundering “millions and millions” of euros per month for its parent company Horizon Oil Terminal in St. Petersburg.  

MARTHA attended a party in Cap Ferrat, at which Sotrama’s chief executive proposed a toast to the Russian president, saying, “Without Putin none of this would be possible.”

Soon, MARTHA contacted me with urgent news:  Sergey Vasiliev, the Russian we suspected as the link between Horizon Oil Terminal in St. Petersburg and Sotrama, had arrived in Monaco for meetings with Sotrama’s chief executive, Michele Tecchia.  

It was the manner in which Vasiliev arrived that intrigued me:  a chartered helicopter from Italy to Monaco’s heliport, a ploy to avoid French Immigration.  

Vasiliev connected to the Ta’ambov organized crime group in St. Petersburg.  He apparently kept a Bentley garaged in Monaco and was said to be looking for a slip in the port to berth a boat he hoped to buy.

When I saw my asset LIDDY again, he reported that the French intelligence services had been frightened off Sotrama due to the Putin connection and political sensitivities at a time when France was striving to negotiate a long-term energy deal with Gazprom.

Excerpted from...

Available as a free download @...

Sotrama is registered as an S.A.M. company in Monaco for "shipping operations and trade management."

The file on Sotrama maintained by Monaco's police department begins with these words: "Society bound to Russian Organized Crime."

Obvious Question: If Monaco's police believe Sotrama to be "bound to Russian organized crime," why does Monaco's government continue to permit Sotrama to operate as a Monaco-registered S.A.M. company?

Some background:

Close associates of Vladimir Putin are laundering money through Monaco, acting on Putin's behalf.

One such group of associates is Sotrama, which ties to the Ta'ambov Russian organized crime group in St. Petersburg.

Sotrama was founded by Dimitros Skigin, born 3 February 1956 in Leningrad. Skigin was expelled from Monaco in 2000 due to his shady associations.

Oddly, Sotrama was not expelled along with its owner, and has conducted business in the principality ever since.

Skigin moved to Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat and died of cancer in 2003.

Monaco's police file on Skigin links him and Sotrama to Ilia Traber, a member of the Tambov criminal group in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In addition, the file links Skigin and Sotrama to Guennadi Timtchenko, who is reputed to be Vladimir Putin's personal banker.

Skigin was replaced as chairman of Sotrama by Michele Tecchia, an Italian-born resident of Monaco.

Monaco's police file on Michele Tecchia explicitly states that through Sotrama Tecchia launders monies derived from criminal activity.

Let us now revert to an excerpt from a speech delivered by Prince Albert II of Monaco on July 12th, 2005:

"The importance of Monaco's financial market will require extreme vigilance to avoid the development of the type of financial activities which are not welcome in our country. To avoid such deviance, Monaco must function in harmony with all those organizations who share the same aim. Monaco must therefore respect the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering."

Prince Albert's words beg a second obvious question: 

If Monaco's interior ministry knows that Sotrama is connected to Russian organized crime and knows that Michele Tecchia uses Sotrama to launder criminal money, why does it turn a blind eye, thus rendering the Sovereign Prince of Monaco a  liar?

Michele Tecchia was born 12 September 1942 in Caserta, Italy.

Tecchia's Monaco police file boldly states: "Head of laundering the proceeds of crime with regard to the activity of S.A.M. Sotrama."

Tecchia is the main representative of Caravel Establishment, which holds major shares in Sotrama.

Caravel Establishment holds major shares in two other shady companies: Horizon International Trading AG and Petroruss Inc.

All trace to...

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Looking for Vladimir Putin's money in Europe?

Meet Graham Alan Pedder Smith, Putin's Liechtenstein linchpin.

Born 13 March 1940 in Scotland, Graham Smith operates in Liechtenstein, where he acts as the nominee front for a network of companies utilized by Putin and his cronies, laundering their money.

Smith operates from Industriestrasse 105, Ruggell, Liechtenstein.

Smith resides at Asperguat, 9492 Eschen, Liechtenstein.

The companies Smith administrates include Sotrama S.A.M., and Petroruss Inc. of Monaco.

These companies link to Petersburg Oil Terminal in St. Petersburg, Russia, also fronted by Smith in Liechtenstein.

Smith is the linchpin of the Dimitros Skigin fortune, which was estimated at $600 million at the time of Skigin's death in 2003.

In 1990 Smith and his wife, Isolde Reinhilde Smith, were cited as defendants in a UK court case resulting from the collapse of London United Insurance (LUI). Some $60 million had been paid to companies in Liechtenstein controlled by Graham and Isolde Smith.

In 1992 Smith was fined 5,000 pounds and struck from the (UK) Institute of Chartered Accountants for failing to cooperate with the inquiry into the collapse of LUI and the tracing of funds to Liechtenstein.

Smith operates in Liechtenstein under an umbrella company called FIBEKO TREUHANDANSTALT.

His associate in these affairs is Markus M. Hasler.

Here is a partial list of companies administered in Liechtenstein by Graham Smith:


* Sotrama S.A.M.
* Petroruss Inc.
* Petromar


* Horizon International Trading
* Cat
* Dimas Familienstiftung
* Kanobo Familienstiftung
* MS Sansai Familiensiftung
* Fibeko Treuhandanstalt
* Santley Establishment
* Keynote Establishment
* Adron Foundation
* Neona Anstalt
* Century Anstalt
* Topos Verlag
* Protegaagentur anstalt
* Elsna Anstalt
* Nasdor, Inc.


* Golden Nights Limited
* Ballyhoo Investments Limited
* Tenth Planet Limited


* Cote Investissement


* PNT-GSM Group
* Constantine
* NEVSKAYA Investitionaya (AOST)
* Petersburg Oil Terminal
* Petrobuild ((AOST)
* Ultra Sport
* Wings of America (JV-AOST)
* Baltic Bunkering Company


Russians see Monaco "as the most strategic place to hide money," says Robert Eringer, who headed up Monaco’s intelligence division from 2002 to 2007. 

"Even if they’re in favor with Putin now, they know they might not be tomorrow and they better have their money in a safe place outside Moscow."

Kudos to reporter Dana Kennedy for penning a perfect piece.

It sums up what Monaco has evolved into under a prince...