Sunday Times: Open Dialog Foundation part of money laundering set-up

NGO Open Dialog Foundation (ODF), associated with Kazakh oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov has, according to “The Sunday Times”, been involved in money laundering on behalf of the oligarch as well as Moldovan influential businessman Veaceslav Platon.

Reasons for deporting Ukrainian activist from Poland revealed

Poland's Internal Security Agency revealed activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska was deported from the EU due to “serious doubts regarding the funding of the...

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On Sunday the paper published an article titled “An Edinburgh flat, a human rights activist and the oligarchs’ ‘dirty money’’’.

It claims, in line with a report by a Parliamentary commission in Moldova, that Scottish companies were used to launder cash through Warsaw-based ODF, run by Ukrainian citizen Lyudmyla Kozlovska, to fund a secret lobbying campaign on behalf of the two businessmen.

Mr Platon was jailed in 2017 for money-laundering and fraud linked to the disappearance of USD 1bn (GBP 770m) from Moldova’s banking system a few years earlier. The incident had caused a political crisis in the country.

Ms Kozlovska in August 2018 became the subject of a ban on entering the Schengen zone having been named by the Polish government as a threat to national security. She is an accredited lobbyist at the European Parliament, where she has enjoyed support from MEPs such as Guy Verhofstadt, the chief Brexit representative for the European Parliament, and British Labour MEPs Clare Moody and Julie Ward.

The ban on entering the Schengen zone requested by Poland has not been respected by the German and Belgian authorities who have both allowed Ms Kozlovska to visit their countries.

The Moldovan Parliamentary commission report sourced by “The Sunday Times” also alleged that Ms Kozlovska and the ODF have been funded from transactions with Russian military companies banned from trading in America and the EU under international sanctions.

Scottish companies registered at 78 Montgomery Street, Edinburgh, and at least one other address in the city, are accused of laundering more than GBP 26 mln, some of which was used to pay funds into a company run by Ms Kozlovska’s husband, Bartosz Kramek, which then paid donations into the ODF.

According to the Polish tax authorities this was done through a complex web of offshore entities registered as Scottish limited partnerships, businesses that, under an obscure reserved corporate law, are permitted to operate without paying taxes, publishing accounts or declaring publicly who owns them.

The ODF came into prominence in the world of Polish human rights NGOs during the second Maidan revolution, organising and funding support for the protesters in Kiev.

After the election of the Law and Justice (PiS) government in 2015, it quickly became a critic of that government. It participated actively in protests against that government’s judicial reforms encouraging demonstrations and forms of direct action against the authorities. It is then that it came under the microscope for its financial dealings and details emerged from Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe of its business connections.