Has a former candidate for UN Secretary General established an international network for high-level corruption?
CIRSD - International Center for money laundering
“Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) deals with the issues of sustainable development and projects related to the new Silk Road”
Vuk Jeremic, TV N1, May 30th 2018.
Background of the suspicious million-dollar amounts which were transferred by certain international companies between 2013 and 2017 to the account of NGO organization (CIRSD) and private company (PR consulting agency) of Vuk Jeremic, has finally surfaced to the spotlight in recent months, although it has been a year and a half since ANTIDOT published two extensive dossiers which revealed all the systematically concealed information on financial funds that were made available to the ex-presidential candidate Vuk Jeremic. Obviously, it took an international dimension to finally show to the Serbian public the true nature and entire scope of the Vuk Jeremic phenomena. However, after November last year, when the authorities in United States of America arrested Patrick Ho, the main financier of Jeremic’s NGO and private company, and Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, the member of Advisory Board at CIRSD, on the charges of money laundering, the story began to unfold, and the entire chain of international corruption came into light.
The arrest of the main donors, close associates and business partners would most certainly be an alarm for the provision of explanation for any politician in the world, but not for Vuk Jeremic. He tried to cover up and hide the scandal, which is why, since November 2017 when his associates were arrested, Jeremic wisely kept quiet and did everything in his power to prevent this news from reaching the Serbian media. Thus, he developed a strategy of shifting the public focus from himself by constantly attacking the current government, in order to be able to use political persecution, rather than participation in a criminal act as a defense tactic when the affair was discovered and he had to provide explanations. And finally, such was the one he gave: manipulation through attack on Aleksandar Vucic, playing the victim, threatening with lawsuits, but avoiding to answer whether his organization was used for money laundering activities.
Undoubtedly convinced of the success of this tactic, which in fact usually does succeed in Serbia if supported by the media and paramedia structures funded by the Western democracies, Jeremic found himself taken aback when his cover up surfaced and spread like a tsunami over the entire political and media scene in Serbia. Despite numerous schools and superior education that he boasts about, Jeremic has chosen a tactic of damage control that involves absence of answers to the charges and ‘attack is the best defense’ approach, where he constantly tired to represent himself as a victim of political and business persecution. In reality, Jeremic has a minor political capital in Serbia at the moment, such that he could not run alone with his party on the recent local elections in Belgrade for his inability to even to cross the threshold, and thus cannot be recognized as a political threat to the government. Nevertheless, this was his framework of communication to the public, while continually avoiding to provide answers to the questions about involvement in money laundering activities.
Therefore, visibly frightened, anxious, with a nervous expression on his face, appearing only on the friendly media, Jeremic repeated the mantra: "They were arrested in November, that was 6 months ago! Why are we talking about this now?”
However, all these elements from a range of self-taught damage control techniques dug him deeper into the problem, and finally, even to those benevolent ones, it was clear that this self-proclaimed leader of the Serbian opposition, found himself in quite a big problem.
This initial impression was confirmed by a number of insights that the journalists of ANTIDOT Media network discovered, in cooperation with colleagues from Hong Kong, Mexico and the United States. These findings clearly indicate that the so-called “consulting services” offered to his foreign clients, which the Serbian public knows nothing about, in fact perfectly fit the corruption pattern of his closest associates and financiers. Taking into account that the contacts acquired during the specialization and the performance of the function of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia was the only thing Jeremic could offer as "consulting services" to his customers, there is a reasonable doubt that Jeremic used these to lobby for lucrative business deals in the field of energetics, which according to the rule, involves bribing the politicians in third-world countries in order to avoid the legal procedures. The authorities in Serbia should by all means further investigate into this.
What is indicative in Jeremic’s case, is the fact that he was still a high school student, and later the a British student, when he acquired privileges, mainly thanks to the corruption that flourished in Milosevic's Serbia and the fact that his father, Mihajlo Misko Jeremic, as a high-level director of national oil Jugopetrol company, managed to obtain substantial wealth of which he invested a good part into the career of his son. So Jeremic’s business transactions would represent nothing more than the continuation of the family tradition of dishonor, predisposition for illegal activities and easy access to money.
That in Jeremic’s case money was too easily acquired, and that this raises the issue of the legality of the method for its obtaining, perhaps is best proven by the fact that in the recent elections, with his overnight-acquired wealth for “consulting services”, Jeremic literally bought a political party in order to run for a city councilor in the Assembly of Belgrade- despite the fact that the salary for this position is miserable 500 euros. Even without any clear political ideas and a vision of development for the society, Jeremic intensely struggled to position himself in the Serbian political sky as some kind of a political factor. This pattern clearly shows that he needed to gain some kind of informal political immunity which would later protect him from any kind of criminal responsibility.
Exposing the “African scheme” - corrupt deals of Jeremic’s associates
Patrick Ho, a former Minister of Internal Affairs of Hong Kong and the Secretary General of the Foundation China Energy Fund Committee and Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal, were arrested on 18th November 2017 in New York, on the charges of committing a series of crimes related to corruption, bribery and money laundering. They are being accused of violating US laws related to corruption (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and money laundering (Money Laundering).
According to the indictment filed in the United States, Ho is charged with participation in at least two cases of bribery of African leaders in 2015 and 2016, in order to obtain lucrative contracts in Chad and Uganda. One case relates to the $ 2 million offered by Ho to the President of Chad Idris Debi, in exchange for obtaining privileged rights to exploit oil wells in the country. Mediator in this work was Cheikh Gadio for which, according to the indictment, he received a commission of $ 400,000.
Prosecutors say the second case of active bribery refers to the 500,000 US dollars in bribes that were paid to an account controlled by the Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, as well as gifts and pledges that the profit made from the joint work in the energy sector in Uganda, would be shared with the companies that are controlled by the members of his family.
If convicted, Ho and Gadio could face a prison sentence longer than 10 years. At a hearing in Federal District Court in Manhattan led by Judge Katherine B. Forrest, a federal prosecutor has offered an extensive exhibition of proofs, which includes hundreds of thousands of electronic messages (e-mails) and supporting documents, with more than ten bank accounts for which inspection prosecutors received court orders. In addition, the prosecutor and the court offered thousands of pages of banking and financial documents related to a number of different entities, together with seven boxes of paper documents and the information obtained from eleven phones, four computers, cameras and other equipment seized during the search of Ho's office in Virginia.
In order to avoid the possibility of escape to Chad or Uganda, Ho was rejected a bail of 10 million dollars at the previous hearing, while a new trial was scheduled for June 1st 2018, but postponed because of the appellate complaint which was submitted by Ho after the refusal of the court to let him defend himself from liberty.
Ye Jianming, the leader of CEFC and Vuk Jeremic’s main sponsor, arrested on the charges of crime and corruption
Four months after the arrest of Patrick Ho, on February 16th, Chinese authorities launched an investigation against Ho’s boss, President and CEO of "China Energy Company Limited" and its foundation China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), Chinese tycoon Ye Jianming, CIRSD’s main donor, on the charges of embezzling 38 million dollars. The arrest of its founder cost CEFC 180 million dollars of its market value only in one day on the stock exchange. Shares of three companies linked to the CEFC fell within an hour by as much as 630 million US dollars on stock exchanges in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore. The total loss of value of the company on the stock market reached a staggering 33%, which is why the fate of the company and still highly uncertain.
Founded by Ye Jianming in 2002, since 2015, CEFC has spent at least $ 1.7 billion buying energy companies in Romania, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and even Chad, not including an additional 1.2 billion dollars for the purchase of financial services US and Czech Republic.
The investigation into the CEFC revealed that thanks to Ye Jianming’s political and military connections, the company's turnover was multiplied through fictitious trading within the network of related companies, and based on this CEFC founder was able to sell the story of its growing global energy and financial potential to the domestic and international public. That Ye Jianming is a controversial personality and apparently a crook, also testifies a series of interviews that he gave to the Chinese journalist Ji Tijankuin in 2017, where he gave information that subsequently turned out to be notorious lies.
Forty-year old Ye Jianming built CEFC practically overnight, which is another great enigma in the business of this conglomerate. According to publicly available data, on 26th July 2017, in the fourth consecutive year, CEFC appeared on the list of Fortune 500 greatest world’s companies, with 43.7 billion dollars of annual turnover.
In his official biography, Ye Jianming represents himself as “an industrialist and a philanthropist”. In his public activities as a private entrepreneur, Ye Jianming always goes along with important foreign political figures. He was photographed with the world leaders such as Israeli President Shimon Peres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Idris Debi of Chad and the President of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. He met with the heir of Abu Dhabi and a Prime Minister of Bulgaria held a feast to greet him. Ye Jianming is also the first Chinese businessman who advised the president of a European country. In April 2015, a Czech President Milos Zeman appointed him “a Special Adviser on Economic, diplomatic and investment issues in China”.
Early directors at a high level within the Ye Jianming’s companies were known “Standing Committee”. Within the company there is also the Party Committee and the Commission for Disciplinary Responsibility run by retired military officials. Ye Jianming is known for his vehement purchases, acknowledgments and honors. In June last year, on the way to South Korea, he received a PhD of the University Gyeonggi, as well as the title of Chief protector of Buddha in Taegu row of Korean Buddhism.
In September 2017, Ye Jianming received his greatest business award. Swiss global energy trader Glencore announced the sale of a 14.16% share in “Rosneft” which it held with Qatar's state investment fund, to CEFC for about $ 9.1 billion. In one step, CEFC was to become the third largest shareholder in Russia's national oil company, behind the Russian government (50%) and British Petroleum BP (19.75%). Russia is the largest supplier of oil to China, Rosneft is Russia's largest oil company and the largest corporation in the oil and gas industry, with well-known close ties with the Kremlin.
But as it emerged overnight, Ye Jianming’s conglomerate also collapsed overnight like a house of cards. After the arrest of Patrick Ho, came the arrest of Ye Jianming in China. Like Vuk Jeremic, he loved to mask his shady activities with patriotic rhetoric, often speaking about his “national mood” and how CEFC "serves the strategy of the country”.
Due to the new situation and the crisis that CEFC found itself in, the job of buying a share in Rosneft collapsed, and a regulatory body on Chinese stock exchange market even announced the possibility of excluding the company from the stock exchange, if in due course it does not obtain a valid warranty for trading and establishes the evaluation of the property it has.
The Mexican scheme” of Jeremic’s employer and “brother” from Harvard
That the case of Jeremic’s arrested close business associates is not an incident, but an established business model which this group regularly applies, testifies the case of Emilio Lozoya, Jeremic’s acquaintance from Harvard University and a close business associate from the time when he still held chairmanship of UN General Assembly.
Emilio Lozoya is a Mexican businessman and a son of the ex-Minister of Energetics. He graduated from Harvard where he met Jeremic, after which he became a director of the largest Mexican energy company PEMEX.
Lozoya, whom Jeremic regularly promoted via his Twitter account, calling him his "brother", became known to the world public after a special Mexican prosecutor publicly brought him into connection with the provision of 10 million dollars in bribes to the current President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto during the presidential campaign in that country.
According to the special Mexican prosecutor Santiago Nieto, former officials of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht have admitted that the company made over 10 million dollars in bribes to the former head of Mexican state oil company PEMEX, at the time when Lozoya was the official on the campaign of the President Nieto. Three former executives of Odebrecht gave statements to Brazilian prosecutors that the bribe was paid to Lozoya, the former executive director of PEMEX, from 2012 till 2014.
According to these allegations, in April and November 2012, about $ 4 million dollars were paid out to Lozoya. After the election of the President Nieto, Lozoya was responsible for coordinating relations with foreign companies and investors. Pena Nieto has become the President on 1st December 2012.
According to the published testimony, the rest of the money was paid in 2013 and 2014 when he became the General Manager of PEMEX, where he played a prominent role in promoting the Mexican energy reform that has opened its oil industry to private companies and foreign investment. He was dismissed in February 2016, due to financial difficulties that occurred after a sharp fall in production.
In December 2016, the company Odebrecht admitted that it paid nearly 800 million dollars in bribes in Latin America and Africa, as part of a plea agreement of $ 2.6 billion agreed with the US authorities. Under the deal, the company has confirmed that between December 2013 and the end of 2014, it paid $ 6 million bribe to an unnamed official in the Mexican state company, in order to ensure the preparation of national projects in the country. PEMEX is the only Mexican state company which at that time signed contracts with Odebrecht.
During 2014 and 2015, at a time when Lozoya led PEMEX, Odebrecht entered into four construction contracts with PEMEX, totaling to approximately $ 1.5 billion, including the improvement of the refinery and the construction of a gas pipeline in northern Mexico.
The whole case was covered up after the Federal Attorney General of Mexico, at the President’s request, discharged Santiago Nieto from office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes, on the grounds that he illegally revealed the details on the investigation of corruption that, of course, mention Brazilian company Odebrecht and a former CEO of PEMEX, Lozoya. The replaced prosecutor publicly accused President Nieto of dismissing him in order to stop the investigation of bribery and illegal financing of election campaign of the ruling party in the country.
Corruption and money laundering - a cancer of the modern world
Although the fight against money laundering, at least declaratively, is one of the most important goals of all countries in the world, estimates suggest that about $ 500 billion a year, or between 2-5 percent of the gross domestic product of the world, are wasted on this illegal activity. Among the most famous examples of money laundering during the 20th century is the case of Pablo Escobar, who spent $ 1,000 a week only on the purchase of tape which he used for wrapping his illegally acquired money. Not far behind the world's most famous drug boss, was Indonesian dictator Suharto, who in the course of three decades of rule, gained a personal fortune of $ 15 billion. His example was consistently followed by the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Markos, who during his reign from 1965 to 1986, stole and laundered about 7.5 billion dollars. One of the world's most famous cases is the mafia bookkeeper Meyer Lansky, who can be attributed to the establishment of a modern form of money laundering. In spite of having laundered about $ 1 billion, Lansky was never convicted and died in 1983 with an estimated wealth of about $ 100 000 000. Beside him, among the patrons of modern money laundering schemes is certainly the most famous boss of the American underground Al Capone. It is estimated that he laundered about $ 1 billion through various businesses. The fact that for the legalization of illegally acquired money Capone used laundry business, it is often considered a key to the origin of the term "money laundering". Harvard student Franklin Jurado, who admits to washing $ 36 million for a Colombian cartel, was also included in the club of the most famous money launderers.
In addition to the most famous individuals who have dealt with money laundering, there are also known world scandals, involving individual banks and even countries. Thus, the case of the small Pacific island of Nauru remained famous, which at the end of the 1990s was at the center of the money laundering scandal when the Russian criminal gangs poured about $ 70 billion through banks registered in this state. The Russian mafia had laundered huge amounts of money through the New York Bank as part of the Benex Scandal. It is estimated that between $ 9 billion and $ 9 billion between 1996 and 2002 was laundered through the accounts opened in this bank. Also, among the most famous, the case of "Bank of Credit and Commerce International" (BCCI), which was the seventh largest private bank in the world, has also been recorded. In the mid-1980s, it was discovered that the bank was involved in various false activities, including laundering large amounts of money. The bank was not too picky when choosing its customers, so Saddam Hussein, the former military dictator of Panama Manuel Noriega and Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, were among them. Also, through accounts opened with the BCCI, the American CIA financed Afghan mujahidins during the war with the Soviet Union.
The largest recent global money laundering cases are the case of Standard Chartered and HSBC, as well as Las Vegas Sands Casino. Thus, some time ago, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) from New York accused the British Standard Chartered bank that in the ten-year period it helped in laundering Iran's assets of as much as $ 250 billion.
The subject of the scandal was another British bank - HSBC, which due to a lack of control and facilitated procedures was the ideal place for illegal activities that included money laundering, which resulted in the resignations of several bank managers. Through the bank, the money originated from Mexico, Syria and Iran was legalized, and bank accounts were paid through the Cayman Islands. Because of these activities, HSBC was fined in Mexico for around $ 30 million, and the bank allocated $ 700 million to avoid fines in a number of countries that, according to estimates, could reach more than $ 2 billion.
Apart from banks, large casino chains through which billions of dollars of cash are passed daily, are also ideal places for organized crime and other illegal organizations for laundering illegally acquired money. The casino giant Las Vegas Sands is currently being investigated for money laundering for the needs of the Mexican drug cartel. There is a suspicion that the money was legalized for one big gambler from China who used this casino for money laundering acquired through corruption.
Secrets and Jeremic’s illegal business connections with CEFC and PEMEX
The data collected by the Antidot research team indicate that the forms, by which his friends, brothers, associates and financiers, do business, have a lot to do with Vuk Jeremić, who appeared in the role of intermediary in the conclusion of big deals, but also the official adviser of both companies - CEFC and PEMEX. Although in Serbia, so far, it was only known that since October 1st, 2013, Jeremić had concluded a consultancy agreement with the CEFC, for which he asked for the approval of the competent committee of the Serbian Assembly, journalists of the Antidot Media Network discovered that Jeremić had been a consultant of Mex Gas International (MGI), daughter company of Mexican PEMEX company from July 9th 2014, until April 13th, 2016,. According to data provided by journalists from Antidot, Jeremić received $ 180,000 in thisperiod from four affiliated companies - MGI Enterprises SL, MGI Supply LTD, MGI Trading LTD and MGI LTD, on the account of consulting services and membership in management boards.
It is more than significant that, from the time when he held the post of chairman of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremić mediated in linking and concluding a contract between Chinese CEFC and Mexican PEMEX. Thus, on March 28th 2013, at the time when he held a high office in the UN, Vuk Jeremić organized and participated in a meeting that took place in Hong Kong between Ye Jianming and Patrick Ho with Emilio Lozoya, people who are nowadays accused or under suspicion of participating in large-scale corruption deals that cost tens of millions of dollars.
At that meeting, a preliminary agreement was reached on the investments of a Chinese company into Mexican oil and gas sources, although at that time the laws of Mexico prohibited investments from abroad in that area! In addition to asking the justifiable question what was a chairman of the UN General Assembly doingat the meeting of two private companies, it is no less important to answer the question of what motivated Jeremić to mediate in that deal, which at the time of the attainment was obviously not legally permissible? From what will happen later, it will become clear that Jeremić, through his associate Lozoya (a close friend of Mexican President Nieto), "helped" the Mexican president, one year later, under the mask of "reforming the energy sector", to initiate a change in the law therein and allow participation of foreign investments in this area of business. Given that the identical pattern was applied in the case of Chad and Uganda on one hand, and Mexico on the other, where large and lucrative jobs came through bribery of senior state officials, there is a reasonable suspicion that the case of the "reform of the energy sector of Mexico" was in fact a case of high corruption in which Vuk Jeremić himself was involved.
That Jeremić was intensively interested in Nieto’s "energy sector reform" in Mexico, also testifies that in the capacity of the President of the CIRSD, in 2014, he visited Mexico. Thus, on 9th May 2014, Jeremić, in his capacity as President of the CIRSD, stayed in this Central American state, where he discussed with officials of the Ministry of Energy and Lozoya plans to open the Mexican energy market for foreign investments.
Members of the CIRSD, as well as the main donors of those organizations were arrested or suspected of having participated in large corruption scandals.
The report on the CIRSD website on Jeremić's visit to Mexico states the following:
"President of the Center for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) Vuk Jeremić met with the highest leadership of the Ministry of Energy and the State Oil Company PEMEX in Mexico.
The interlocutors presented the strategic plan of President Enrique Peña Nieto to Jeremić, and highlighted that for the first time since 1938, foreign companies have the opportunity to do business in the field of energy in this country.
The CIRSD President expressed strong support for Mexico's energy plan, stressing that reform of the energy sector can serve as a catalyst for wider changes in Mexico.
"Positive effects within energy reforms can have a long-term benefit, not only for Mexico, but for world-class, increasingly complex energy architecture," said Jeremić."
After the initial meeting in Hong Kong at the end of March 2013, representatives of CEFC and PEMEX continued talks on joint investments and supply of the Chinese market with Mexican oil and gas. Although these agreements remained basically secretive at the end of May 2014, the media leaked plans to form a $ 4 billion Chinese fund for investment in the oil sector in Latin America. At the same time, at the expense of Jeremić's CIRSD (founded on September 18, 2013) and the Entrepreneurship Consulting Agency (established on November 4, 2013), millions were paid, which, only by payments of CEFC and related companies, reached 5,3 million dollars, while PEMEX, at the expense of Jeremić's company registered in Serbia paid the aforementioned $ 180.000.
It's worth mentioning that Jeremić was a CEFC adviser just when Ho and Gadio were making illegal money transfers that they are now accused of in the United States. Of no less importance is that Jeremić, distancing himself from the activities of his financiers and associates, recently stated that his consulting services to the CEFC did not concern either Serbia or Africa, although in the aforementioned letter to the Serbian Parliament in autumn 2013, he explicitly stated that it will provide counseling services for the Chinese company, for the area of Africa and Latin America, which are precisely the destinations that correlate the corrupt activities of his associates.
INCLINATIONS TOWARDS THE VIOLATION OF THE LAW AS A CONSTITUENT PART OF HOME EDUCATION AND FAMILY TRADITION: According to the findings of the Antidot research team, in 1996 by the verdict of the Municipal Court in Gornji Milanovac, Vuk's father, Mihajlo Jeremić, was sentenced to one year for the criminal offense referred to in Article 201, paragraph 4, in conjunction with Article 195, paragraph 3. (Serious road traffic offense against safety and endangering of public transport). Also, during the year 2003, the Police Directorate of Niš filed a criminal complaint for Abuse of Official Position against Jeremić senior. However, the case was covered up at the time when Jeremić junior became a consultant in the cabinet of former President Boris Tadić. Vuk Jeremić came to the privilege of staying and studying at prestigious world universities, thanks to the fact that his father, as a highly-positioned director of the state oil company Jugopetrol, was part of a corrupt network and a group of privileged individuals during Slobodan Milošević's regime.
Public questions of the Antidot Media Network to Vuk Jeremić
Based on the findings of the Antidot research team and numerous doubts regarding the legality of the work he has been dealing with for many years, Vuk Jeremić was publicly addressed with the following questions which we consider to be undoubtedly of public interest in view of his role of the President of the National party, therefore a public figure in the social and political life of Serbia:
- What exactly was your role as a consultant of China Energy (CEFC) advisor and its founders, what kind of consulting services did you provide and for which markets?
- Why do you hide the information that you also served as a consultant in the Mexican company PEMEX and its foreign affiliates from Mex Gas International? What kind of jobs did you perform for them?
- In what capacity did you, at the time when you were the President of the UN General Assembly, attend the meeting in Hong Kong between Ji Jianming and Patrick Ho with Emilio Lozoya? What exactly was discussed at that meeting, what were the agreements reached and what was your role in their subsequent implementation?
- Have the revenues that you generated through the provision of consulting services to CEFC and PEMEX companies had anything to do with the energy sector reform in Mexico, which meant opening the Mexican energy market for foreign investment?
Letter from Antidot journalists to the members of the CIRSD Advisory Board
In an effort to find out their views on the scandal involving the corruption scandal that includes the chief financier and a member of the CIRSD Advisory Board, journalists of the Antidot Media Network addressed questions to members of Jeremić's organization, Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé, Misheline Calmy-Rey, Sheikh Muhammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Shaukat Aziz, the arrested Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, prof. dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Li Wei, Nur Hassan Wirajuda, José Miguel Insulza, Markos Kyprianou, dr. Mohamed Benaïssa, Franco Frattini, dr. Thierry de Montbrial, Celso Amorim and Tewodros Ashenafi. Despite the promises made by several of the aforementioned members of the Committee, until the moment of publishing this article, none of the respondents provided us with their answers.
We issue the complete Letter of Questions to members of the CIRSD Advisory Board:
News on the arrests of Patrick Ho and Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, who are under suspicion of large corruption affairs, recently caught the attention of Serbian public.
We are thus addressing you as a respected member of the Board of Advisors at NGO CIRSD, whose main and largest donor with a sum of over 5 million USD is precisely Mr Patrick Ho, and we kindly ask you to provide us with answers to the following questions:
a)Are you familiar with the arrest of Mr Patrick Ho, the main financier of CIRSD and Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, the member of Advisory Board at CIRSD?
b)In your opinion, can this news affect the reputation of CIRSD, as well as your own reputation as the member of Board at this organization?
c)As a Board Member, have you been notified by the president of CIRSD Mr. Vuk Jeremic and other representatives of this organization, of the character and amounts of donations that were given to the organization?
d)Considering the fact that the process of this investigation reached a point in time when Mr. Jeremic was the candidate for the General Secretary of UN, and even the time when he was the President of the UN General Assembly, does this incident, in your opinion, cause a reason for suspicion of trading on influence and abuse of office that Mr. Jeremic held at UN?
In case the allegations are proven, could this undermine the authority and credibility of UN and strengthen the voices which demand greater transparency and efficiency of anti-corruption procedures in the area of international affairs and diplomacy?
e)What is your personal view on this as a Board Member and a contributor to CIRSD, taking into account the seriousness of allegations that have already been made against this organization and the origins of its funding?
f)Is your contribution as an Advisory Board member at CIRSD paid or do you perform it voluntarily?
g)Have you by any chance ever met Mr. Patrick Ho, also a member of Advisory Board, on the lectures that were held in the organization of CIRSD?
As a Media Network of Western Balkans that has initiated this investigation story almost a year and a half ago and that treats this subject in an objective and meticulous manner, we wish to inform you that we will share your answers with our readers, as well as international public.
ANTIDOT Media Network of Western Balkans
What Antidot research team discovered a year and a half ago
In the period between September 2013 and the end of January 2017, personal bank accounts of Vuk Jeremić as well as those of his entrepreneurial company called Agencija za konsalting (Consulting Agency) and non-government organization CIRSD (with Jeremić as the founder and the CEO), received 7.5 million USD from foreign accounts. This amount only refers to Jeremić’s accounts in his country, not the accounts he and his associates surely own abroad.
According to the data collected by Media Network Antidot regarding the transactions via Jeremić’s bank accounts and foreign currency accounts, as well as the accounts of his entrepreneurial companies and non-government organizations, CIRSD received donations amounting to 5,957,000 USD, his entrepreneurial company received 1.33 million USD, while Jeremić himself grossed 226,000 USD via his bank accounts and foreign currency accounts.
Based on the data gathered by Media Network Antidot research team, among the most important CIRDS’s donors were the following companies from Hong Kong-“ State Energy HK Limited” with 2,970,000 USD, followed by the foundation “China Energy Fund Committee” which paid up to 1.000.000 USD and “Fei Ying International Limited” with the sum of 300,000 USD.
Among the donors were also “Horizon Companies Est Admin” from the United Arab Emirates with two payments totaling in 200,000 USD, while the same amount was sent by “Brownstones Investment” from Monaco to CIRSD’s account.
Jeremić’s project received a special affection from the emirate Qatar, whose mission in cooperation with the UN paid a 120,000-USD-help to CIRSD, while the Qatar embassy in Berlin paid additional 200,000 USD to the mentioned Belgrade organization’s account.
The so called tax paradise islands did not fail to contribute either-two companies (“China Environmental Energy Holdings” and “Estix Technology Corporation” from the Virgin Islands) made payments totaling in 600,000 USD to Jeremić’s organization.
During 2013 and 2014, CIRSD received 180.000 USD from the “Smart Engineering Ltd” company's account in Switzerland, while form the same country in July 2015, arrived a donation totaling in 50,000 USD and paid by a Swiss-Russian businessman of Serbian origin Miloš Relić. However, it remains unclear as to whether that was a favor given in return for becoming a committee member of Tennis Federation of Serbia 6 months before that, at the end of December 2014, thanks to the very Vuk.
With a few minor donations (between 10,000 and 25,000 USD) the total money inflow at CIRDS’s accounts, in the period between 2013 and 2016 reached the amount of 5,957,000 USD.
Having realized that it would not be easy transferring the large sums of money to his private accounts, a few months later in November 2013 Jeremić founded an entrepreneurial company “Vuk Jeremić PR Agencija za konsalting”. By the end of 2016, this legal entity received payments from various sources amounting to 1,335,000 USD.
According to the Antidot's information, the foundation “China Energy Fund Committee” paid this amount to Jeremić's agency, out of which 333,333 USD portion was paid for the same contract, but by an affiliate company from Hong Kong “Fully Source LTD”. The payment to Jeremić's account was made based on the contract for consultancy services, signed on 15th November 2013 with a foundation “China Energy Fund Committee”. It is indicative that this very foundation paid the donations to CIRSD totaling in 1,000,000 USD.
During the same period between 2013 and 2016, 632,000 USD in the equivalent currency value (63,900,000 RSD) were transferred from Jeremić's entrepreneurial company's account to his private bank accounts. Though Jeremić probably transferred that amount as a net profit of his entrepreneurial company, what still remains behind the veil of secrecy is the answer to the question as to what are the exact consultancy services Jeremić could provide to the foundation from Hong Kong in order to gross the incredible 1.3 million USD plus the bonuses "the satisfied client" donated to his non-government organization?
The crucial Jeremic’s lie about the sources of funds for CIRSD
Speaking on the TV program “Pravi ugao” (The right angle) by Ljubica Gojgić, broadcasted on RTV 1, Vuk Jeremić stated that CIRSD donations were made exclusively by companies which did not have any business interests in Serbia whatsoever. However, the data collected by the research team of Antidot undoubtedly prove that at least in two cases the donors were private Chinese companies which publicly expressed their intentions and interests in investing and participating in privatization of the remaining profitable public companies in Serbia, and even signed the relevant contracts.
As it has already been stated, one of the biggest donors of CIRSD and the very Vuk Jeremić, was “China Energy Fund Committee” with the total payment of 2,335,000 USD. The public data suggest that the foundation was founded and completely sponsored by the Shanghai private company “China Energy Company Limited” (CEFC) which presents the sixth biggest private conglomerate in China with the annual income totaling in 35 million USD. The company is reputable at the most important stock markets in the world and it is on the Fortune Global List of 500 biggest companies of the world.
It became known to the European public after its 3-million-worth investment in Czech economy. Despite Jeremić’s claims that his Chinese sponsors did not have business interests in Serbia, together with another private Chinese company “China Balkan Investment”, in April 2016, CEFC opened a joint regional office in Belgrade. At the event attended by the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, the representatives of CEFC announced that they were interested in “privatization of big Serbian public companies, agricultural projects, and transport and energy infrastructure”. Based on this statement it is not difficult to conclude that the main goal of the mentioned Chinese companies in Serbia is taking part in the possible privatization of the national “Elektroprivreda” which is further explained by Jeremić’s obsessed privatization-of-Elektroprivreda speeches during the election campaign.
Apart from CEFC, another company-CIRSD’s donor expressed interests in investing in the energy branch. It is the company called “China Environmental Energy Holdings” owned by Billy Nkog, known in Serbia as the owner of Sergio Tacchini and the former sponsor of Novak Đoković, a tennis player who actually brought him to Serbia in 2011. Back then Ngok announced the possibility of opening a factory producing energy near Niš, as well as opening a factory of the brand Sergio Tacchini. Jeremić met Nkog thanks to the fact that at the time he was the President of the Tennis Federation of Serbia, a situation he used for his personal interests, identically to every previous case.
“China Environmental Energy Holdings” was interested in building the Belgrade Harbor near the new Pupin bridgeand the negotiations were ongoing in 2015. However the most important project, for which the memorandum of cooperation was signed in 2011, was the investment of over two billion euros in building the third block in Obrenovac Thermal Power Plant and opening surface pit mine in Radljevo. Jeremic himself attended the memorandum signing in October 20th 2011 in Belgrade, as the Foreign Minister at that time. After the change of Government in May 2012, the project was aborted and Serbia showed higher interest in strategic partnership with advanced German companies in the field of energetics, which made private Chinese conglomerates invest in lobbying for their interests.
The proof of “Electro distribution” privatization of game is that this was one of the main topics in Jeremić’s election campaign. His strategy at the time was to cause public revolt by alleged secret negotiations on “Electro distribution” sale all in order to make sure all potential competition gave up on investing in “Electro distribution” to make space for his financiers.
During this long lasting research we have come to numerous, so far never discovered and published data on deeper traces of this international network’s corruption. Furthermore, we have discovered the actual nature of business CEFC (China Energy Company Limited) and the owner of the company Ye Yianming, also being one of Jeremić’s main financiers.. Therefore, media network Antidot will soon publish a new file dedicated to this recently arrested controversial Chinese mega tycoon.
In the new sequel we will discover the way Yianming increased the value of his companies on the stock market by establishing pyramidal networked companies with help from his connections from certain Chinese structures within the country and artificially increasing the profit of his companies.
With the help of colleagues from Hong Kong, Antidot will also present the way CEFC made the biggest profit from real estate investments and sales in spite of being energetics conglomerate, which raises the question of the company’s significance in the field of energetics. Simultaneously, Antidot will publish the details of the Czech Republic experience since it was the main investment destination of CEFC in Europe, in addition to specific relations of the Czech president Milos Zeman and the tycoon Yianming who is known to the public as the president’s special advisor.