Red Star Enterprises Ltd. and Mina Corp Ltd., companies that are now the subjects of a US congressional probe into potentially improper fuel contracting at the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, created an opaque financial structure across three business centers on two continents.
Red Star is among the US Department of Defense’s top 100 contractors, and in the Defense Logistics Agency’s top 10 having won more than $1.069 billion in contracts. The Manas Transit Center, located in a suburb of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, is a key logistics hub for the war effort in Afghanistan. [For background see EurasiaNet archive].
The National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform initiated its probe into Manas fuel contracts on April 12, shortly after political upheaval in Bishkek caused the downfall of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration. [For background see EurasiaNet archive].
In London, Red Star and Mina Corp’s official address is a former public housing complex that now leases office space to a multitude of small-time companies, escort agencies and business advisory services. Red Star Enterprises registered in London with an address at 788-790 Finchley Road on January 27, 2004 and dissolved five years later on May 5, 2009.
Judd Fischer, an US citizen, was listed as a company director but resigned on January 1, 2005. On January 7, 2005, a Russian national, Konstantin Tron was named as a director. He resigned on January 20, 2006. Thereafter, a British consultant, Mary Stephen, is the only listed director of Red Star.
On June 3, 2005, Euroasian Capital Corporation, a Swiss entity, held one ordinary share worth one British pound.
On November 10, 2005 the shareholders were listed as Euroasian Capital Corporation with 499 shares, and Temple Secretaries Ltd., of 788-790 Finchley Rd, London, a business services company, also with 499 shares. As of January 31, 2006, Red Star’s "net assets" were declared to be 1,000 shares worth 1,000 British pounds, according to company documents filed with Companies House, the British government’s register of companies incorporated in England and Wales.
On January 15, 2007, another Companies House filing stated that Euroasian Capital Corporation had disposed of 500 shares and the shareholders were listed as Temple Secretaries Ltd., and the British Virgin Island-registered, Unified Energy Ventures.
A filing on Jan 27, 2008, lists Temple Secretaries Ltd., and Unified Energy Ventures as the shareholders with 500 shares each.
Mina Corp, of 788-790 Finchley Road, London, was incorporated on May 8, 2003, and remains active. Centrum Secretaries, of 788-790 Finchley Road, are listed as the company secretary and Mary Stephen was appointed director. On February 1, 2004, Iryna Tsenzharyk, a Ukrainian national, was appointed company secretary.
On March 15, 2007, Mary Stephens held 9,500 shares; Euroasian Capital Corporation held 10,000 shares and Iryna Tsenzharyk held two shares. According to abbreviated accounts filed for year ending May 31, 2008, the authorized share capital for the company was increased from 1,000 British pounds to 100,000 British pounds. Mina Corp’s "net current assets" were valued at 8,390 British pounds.
On May 9, 2009, the shareholders were listed as Mary Stephens with 10,000 shares and Unified Energy ventures with 10,000 shares. Euroasian Capital Corporation disposed of 500 shares on August 8, 2008. A total number of 20,002 shares were valued at 20,002 British pounds.
Euroasian Capital Corporation was until May 6, 2005, known as Mina Capital Corporation. It is registered in Switzerland. Paolo Corbi, a financier specializing in fund management and the structuring of Swiss corporate entities, is listed as the director. Euroasian Capital Corporation is involved in "trade and investment in Petroleum products and their derivatives, particularly in the countries of Europe and Asia," as was Mina Capital Corporation which was incorporated on March 24, 2005.
Mina Corp and Red Star Enterprises also share registration at the same address in Gibraltar. Red Star has won Department of Defense fuel contracts with company registration in Toronto, Canada. In London, despite having official addresses at 788-790 Finchley Road, both Red Star and Mina Corp maintained offices at 20 Conduit Street.
Stephen MacSearraigh, an Irish citizen, and former director at Mina Corp, denied he had any current ties with the company when contacted by EurasiaNet.org late last year.
Chuck Squires, the director of operations of Red Star/Mina Corp declined to answer any questions from EurasiaNet.org on April 19 and referred all inquires to a Mina Corp email address.
According to contracting information from the US government’s Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), Mina Corp has 350 employees and annual revenue of $160 million. Red Star has 25 employees and annual revenue of $45 million.
Separately, authorities in Kyrgyzstan announced on April 19 that an investigation will be launched into alleged fraud and corruption conducted by the previous board of Manas International Airport.
Kyrgyz prosecutors are focusing their attention on suspected improper payments to Manas Aerofuels, a company that shares office space with Red Star/Mina Corp in the Hyatt Hotel in Bishkek. Eugene Gourevitch, a US citizen closely tied to Maxim Bakiyev and currently wanted in Italy on charges of telecoms fraud, was on April 2009 elected to the airport’s board of directors. [For background see EurasiaNet archive].
Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.