Bulgaria’s strategic telecom operator Vivacom is already owned by the company LIC33, abbreviation of Louvrier Investment Company, managed by Russian-Belgian businessman Pierre Louvrier (pictured with the “new Russian” Gerard Depardieu). This was announced in a press release distributed by the company on Thursday.
The LIC33 company website lists an address in Paris, which is actually a mailbox rental. A company with denomination LIC33 does not legally exist in France at present and it is not clear in which jurisdiction it is registered.
The same “Belgian”, who also has a Russian passport, is the single manager of the company Kemira, which owns Dunarit and until recently was procurator of Hedge Investment Fund, owner of Kemira and Avionams.
Louvrier has publically demonstrated his sympathy to Putin’s regime on the social network Twitter. The latter has preserved his praise from a year ago and him celebrating the annexation of the Crimea in the company of Gerard Depardieu. The pictures from the party have been deleted from the platform Instagram, but some remained on Facebook.
The owner of Vivacom is the company “Viva Telecom Bulgaria”, which is owned by the Luxembourg company “InterV Investment”. Before the deal, the final owners of Vivacom, formerly BTC, were Tsvetan Vasilev and the Russian bank VTB, also known as “the Bank of Putin.”
Malofeev around the corner
The financing of the mysterious company LIC33 is not officially clear, but the connections of Louvrier with the sanctioned by the European Union (EU) and the United States Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev are clear. In November 2014, Louvrier’s CFG Capital and Malofeev’s Marshall Capital concluded partnership agreements for investments in the “technology sector”, Russian Vedomosti writes. The LIC33 team also includes another person associated with CFG Capital – the Member of Investment Committee Anatoly Cairo.
As Bivol wrote earlier, American Jack Hanick, who is a man of Malofeev, represents the interests of the new owner of TV7. Hanick officially presents himself as a former producer of the US television Fox News and a current one in the Russian TV Tsarygrad TV, which is funded by Malofeev.
The LIC33 site further claims that the company is planning to invest in media. There is no mention of specific names, but the connection Vivacom -Louvrier – Malofeev – Hanick – TV7 is hardly coincidental.
Putin takes control over strategic Bulgarian enterprises
The oligarch Malofeev is actually a busboy of Putin with a sinister role in the Ukrainian conflict. He is a former employer of two terrorists from the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, Igor Girkin and Alexander Boroday and is among the initiators of the proposal and justification for the annexation of eastern Ukraine “tabled” in the Kremlin at the beginning of 2014. His control of Vivacom, Dunarit and TV7 means the Kremlin “manually” managing those assets and using them not for business, but for other purposes.
As early as the previous acquisition of BTC by Tsvetan Vasilev with help from “the bank Putin” – VTB – Bivol rang the bell that this is a threat to national security. Today, the disgraced banker is giving back the business to his actual employers, the real creators of his now-collapsed Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB) – the KGB leadership in Moscow. There are no longer any illusions that Putin’s regime has as its goal a hybrid war with the West, in which the control over telecommunications, military establishments and media in EU and NATO countries is undoubtedly an advantage.
Is the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (DANS) going to probe the ownership of LIC33? Will the deal be approved by the Commission for Protection of Competition? These are not only questions worth hundreds of millions of levs, but they also involve the security of Bulgaria and its NATO and EU partners.
Follow up: On 28 July 2015 we received the following statement by Pierre Louvrier legal adviser Stuart Leasor and we are publishing it with no redaction. Bivol stands behind the article and will not remove it or censor it in any way.
We are writing on behalf of Mr Pierre Louvrier, the Belgian
entrepreneur. We read your archived story, headlined “Putin’s Crony
under Belgian Cover Took over Vivacom, Dunarit, Avionams and TV7”
The article contains a number of factual
errors and baseless claims which need to be corrected.
1. You refer to Mr Louvrier as a crony of Putin. Mr Louvrier and
President Putin do not even know each other. To say that Mr Louvrier is
Putin’s crony is wholly inaccurate.
2. You refer to Mr Louvrier as a Russian-Belgian businessman. He
is not Russian-Belgian, he is Belgian and does not have a Russian
3. You state that Mr Louvrier has “publically demonstrated his
sympathy to Putin’s regime”. There is no basis for this claim. You
cannot extrapolate his political views from a couple of dated, social
media comments and moreover, nowhere in these comments did Mr Louvrier
specifically express support for Mr Putin.
4. Mr Malofeev never had any part in LIC33, directly or
indirectly, and hence had no part in the transaction that was announced
in March 2015 to acquire Vivacom and other companies in Bulgaria.
5. Mr Louvrier has never had any financial relationship with Mr
Malofeev – he has never managed any of his money and Mr Malofeev has
never managed any of Mr Louvrier’s.
6. Contrary to the November 2014 announcement that you cite, no
joint venture between CFG and Marshall was ever concluded – Mr Malofeev
and Mr Louvrier were therefore never co-investors in anything. CFG
Marshall never existed except in a statement that appeared on Marshall’s
website – a statement that Mr Louvrier has asked to be removed on a
number of occasions.
7. Despite the reported claims of Mr Malofeev in the Vedomosti
article and the stories from the Bulgarian yellow press that you cite,
Mr Louvrier’s relationship with Mr Malofeev has been extremely minor.
They met for the first time at a dinner on 31 May 2014. Over a total of
5 or 6 subsequent meetings they explored a number of ideas,
predominately in the charitable field. None of these ideas came to any
degree of fruition and he has had no contact with Mr Malofeev since a
brief phone call on 2 February 2015 – over a month before Mr Louvrier
made the LIC33 announcement regarding Vivacom and the other companies.
In view of the above it therefore is clear that your section on Mr
Louvrier is ill-sourced and plain wrong. Since last week’sLouvrier’s
withdrawal from the Vivacom deal, it is also completely irrelevant.
We therefore request that you remove all reference to Mr Louvrier from
the archived version of this article. We would also welcometeam, Mr
Louvrier’s legal advisers, cc’d on this email.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian