Two attorneys, who are Deputies in the European Parliament, have demanded that Spanish prosecutors, and the country's judiciary, answer for what they deem to be human rights violations. The Deputies, Jean-Luc Shaffhauser and Georgios Epitideios, want the unjustly imprisoned Spanish-Russian businessman, Vladimir Kokorev, and his wife and son, released forthwith. The Kokorevs were arrested in Panama, not for criminal charges, but on material witness warrants in a money laundering investigation, and have spent the last 18 months in custody, though no money laundering charges have been filed against anyone. The court seems to be acting illegally, without any checks and balances from the government.
Court observers have long maintained that the Kokorev investigation is an attack upon the leadership of Equatorial Guinea, whose rulers have chosen to give their lucrative oil drilling business to American, rather than Spanish, companies, EG was a former colony of Spain, and it discovered oil after independence. Wealthy Spanish firms still covet that petroleum business, and are seeking to remove EG president Obiang, who was involved in maritime business with Dr. Kokorev, an expat Russian academic with expertise in Africa, and whose cooperation is being demanded, for purely political reasons.
Canary Islands prosecutors are reportedly holding Kokorev, in what amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, under Spartan conditions, threatening to charge him with money laundering, notwithstanding that he was previously cleared in Spain, and that the Statute of Limitations has probably run, as the transactions named occurred fifteen years ago. They are obviously seeking to have Kokorev implicate President Obiang, to facilitate his removal, and subsequent installation of EG expats who will sign favorable contracts with Spanish companies.
Consider this case the next time you must access the risks of doing business in Spain.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock