Rīga transport link to notorious arms dealer disputed

LTV's ace investigative team have done it again, exposing yet more decidedly fishy goings-on at Rīgas satiksme (Rīga transport), the municipal transport company of the Latvian capital.

A report aired March 10 revealed Rīgas satiksme buys its fuel from a company called RDZ Energy, which in turn is owned by an offshore entity, raising questions about who ultimately benefits from the contract.

RDZ Energy, formerly known as Ramockas Mill, has been supplying fuel to Rīgas satiksme since 2010. In 2015, after a tender, RDZ Energy received a new diesel supply contract for five years worth an estimated EUR 60 million. 

The company was then owned by Maltese company BHC Investment Limited, the majority shareholder of which is the British Virgin Islands registered company Galaxy Energy Group.

An offshore company with unknown beneficiaries was one of the risks identified in a recent Ernst & Young audit of Rīgas satiksme, and mentioned by Anrijs Matiss, who quit his job as temporary manager of Rīgas satiksme last week. Matiss had been brought in as part of an effort to sort out the company, which is already involved in multiple scandals involving procurement contracts, bribery and abuse of position.

According to De Facto's investigation the real beneficiaries of the company since March 5 are two residents of tax haven Monaco - Italian citizens Massimo Filosa and Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio. On the Internet version of the Galaxy Energy Group website, the history of the company mentions that both the current shareholders and managers established the company Galaxy Energy AG in Switzerland in 1989. 

Later this empire was expanded, and over time, the company's management has moved to Monaco.

However, Galaxy Energy has in the past been linked to Odesa arms dealer Leonid Minin, De Facto revealed, though RDZ Energy strenuously denied the claim to De Facto, saying that the link was based upon information in an Italian police report that the company said was incorrect.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which specialises in exposing international rackets and money-laundering maintains the validity of the  document and has a good deal of information about Ukraine-born Minin, describing him as as a "mobster" and reportedly one of the prototypes for Nicolas Cage’s character in the Hollywood movie, Lord of War.

Matiss told De Facto the contract with RDZ Energy remained questionable while there was still a lack of certainty about the ultimate ownership of the company, which has Rīgas satiksme as its only client.


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