The players involved: Russian Rosneft and Abkhaz ‘Apsny-Oil’, which signed a deal for hydrocarbon exploration in Abkhazia
Former president of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab has been accused of being involved in a corruption deal concerning oil contracts signed during his tenure in 2014 with Russian company Rosneft and Abkhaz Apsny Oil.
MP Almas Jopua spoke out first about the “shadiness of the transactions involving Alexander Ankvab” after which the prosecutor’s office immediately began looking into the case.
In the parliament of the previous convocation, Jopua headed a special parliamentary committee that studied issues related to oil production. He says he based his accusation on information uncovered by the committee.
“In May 2014, the government of Alexander Ankvab signed an agreement with the Apsny-Oil company on exploration and subsequent oil production in Eastern Abkhazia. The founders of this company are not known, and all of its trails lead to a Cyprus offshore,” said MP Almas Jopua.
“This is a major corruption scheme, which was organized with the participation of Ankvab. His close friend and associate … Leonid Lakerbaya, signed these extremely unfavourable treaties for Abkhazia. Not a single litre of this oil belongs to Abkhazia [according to the deal], and all this talk about us having a share in it is a flat-out lie,” Jopua said during a parliamentary hearing on oil production.
He said that one example of indirect evidence is the fact that the contracts were signed by Minister of Economy Christina Ozgan – after some time, she resigned as minister and became the director general of Apsny-Oil.
“In all decent countries of the world, this is called corruption,” said Almas Jopua.
Alexander Ankvab is currently also a member of parliament. In response to the charges, he asked for the floor and spoke very briefly:
“I am too respectful of this audience to allow myself [to say] rude comments that are begging to come out. The absurdity [of this accusation] is impossible to respond to.
“But I am also very interested in helping the future commission search for the truth. I am quite an informed person, I know the nuances of how this topic arose, and I am ready to share this information with the parliamentary commission,” said Alexander Ankvab.
Assistant Attorney General for Media Relations Daur Amichba told reporters that although Deputy Almas Jopua did not file a lawsuit, his speech has still been taken by the prosecutor’s office as a source of information.