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"Consulting" Agency Far West, LLC Paid $3 Million Bribe to Ukrainian Official For Illegal Arms Deals with Syria and Iran

18 February, 2006

As we recently reported, the controversial “consulting agency” Far West, Ltd. had suddenly left Europe in the end of January 2006 , citing the fear of criminal prosecution by US law enforcement agencies and changing its name to Far West, LLC.  1 

This announcement followed the sensational public statement by Vladimir Filin, chairman of the FWL board. In the interview he gave the FWL owned publication Pravda-info (11.16.05) Filin told about his agency giving US $3 million in bribes to Valery Lysenko, the deputy director of Ukrspetsexport, the Ukrainian state agency for arms export.

Filin gave this interview in response to the publication of the sensational article by Ivan Demidov in the Ukrainian newspaper Obkom. 2 Demidov accused two Filin's partners, Ukrainian Generals Leonid Kosyakov and Alexei Likhvintsev, and the so-called “small oligarch” Vyacheslav Kantor, adviser to Yushchenko, of seeking to obtain control over two Ukrainian sea ports, in Odessa and Ilyichevsk. The article hints that under the guise of ammonium nitrate and other fertilizers, to be exported to South America by Kantor's company Akron, the group plans to transport drugs.

The centerpiece of Demidov's article is the facsimile of the internal letter (dated 04.18.05) by the deputy director of Ukrspetsexport Valery Lysenko to the Head of Security Service of Ukraine Alexander Turchinov. Lysenko wrote this letter in response to Turchinov's inquiry (dated 04.12.05) concerning Far West, Ltd.

The letter names Likhvintsev as a founder and Kosyakov as the general director of Far West, Ltd. which “consults the sales of light arms and military supplies to the countries of Africa and Latin America.” Lysenko also lists businesspartners of FWL: private military companies KBR Halliburton (US), Diligence Iraq, LLC (Kuwait), and Meteoric Tactical Solutions (South Africa).

Lysenko's letter further identifies two Panamanian offshore companies, owned by Yushchenko's adviser, the “ammonium” mogul Vyacheslav Kantor,--Isofert Trading INC and Transchem International INC--as being used by Far West, Ltd. for “most of their” financial transactions. 3 

Lysenko concludes by saying that Far West, Ltd. “approached Ukrspetsexport with proposals for cooperation, including consulting on a number of questions related to military-technical cooperation with Turkey. However, we had to decline these proposals because of the dubious reputation of Far West, Ltd.”

Demidov suggests that Turchinov sent his inquiry to Urkrspetsexport because he did not trust his own service to do the background check on Likhvintsev and Kosyakov who either had already been or were about to be appointed to general's positions in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff.

According to Demidov, Kosyakov has Swiss and Likhvintsev British passports. As another possible problem with their appointment to high and sensitive positions in the Ukrainian security state, Demidov cites their career in the Soviet military intelligence, which included service in the GRU group “N” (for Narcotics) in Afghanistan. Officially the Group was tasked with fighting narcotraffic by intercepting caravans with drugs and infiltrating drug networks. Special Group “N” enjoyed personal support of a high-ranking GRU general and its members were allowed unauthorized contacts with representatives of US intelligence. Its commander was Leonid Kosyakov, Alexei Likhvintsev was his deputy. The Group included Anton Surikov and Ruslan Saidov, now members of FWL board. Demidov also mentions some of the later activities of the Group members: looting Soviet arsenals in the West Group Army, selling arms for diamonds in Africa, training Basaev's “Abkhazian batallion.”

The article alleges that Fritz Ermarth, formerly high ranking official in the CIA, NSC, and NIC, plays the role of the “supervisor” of this GRU group on the part of the FWL's chief partner: KBR Halliburton and the Dick Cheney circle.

Two days after the publication of Demidov's article, Pravda-info denounced Alexander Turchinov, alleging that he was a homosexual, a religious cultist, and a former KGB informer. The piece was written by Natalia Roeva (Valiahmetova), new President of FWL, and included her interview with Filin who made this sensational statement.

Roeva - What can you say about the "Ukrspetsexport" letter to Turchinov, signed by Lysenko?


Filin: - There is one very interesting moment in this letter.  It alleges that we offered "Ukrspetsexport" our consulting regarding Turkey, but they turned us down because of our "dubious reputation."  I assume that when Lysenko was signing this letter he realized that he would have to pay for this kind of talk.  So now I want to have a piece of this game, imposed on me, and ask this question: if our "dubious reputation" had prevented them from using our consulting services in regard to Turkey, why then the same "dubious reputation"  did not prevent [them from carrying out with us] much bigger projects with Syria and Iran and in a such a way that "Americans and Israelis did not learn about [those projects]"?  Perhaps, because the kickback was so big--three million dollars: $750,000, then one million, then another $750,000, then $200,000 and then $300,000 more?  Or perhaps, it didn't matter because [he] liked so much the "relaxing" vacations abroad "paid by the company"?

Roeva: - You are telling very interesting things.

Filin: - Come on, I will tell much more interesting things when [they give me] another pretext. 4 

One can only speculate what made Vladimir Filin to publicly implicate himself and his company in a grave international crime, but his last words strongly suggest that it was his intention to warn Ukrainian and, possibly, Russian arms trade establishment from leaking even more damaging information about Far West, Ltd. In any case, his statement clearly stunned many in Russia and Ukraine. According to Russian informational agency Novyi Region, “Vladimir Filin's revelations shocked the employees of “Rosoboronexport” who worked with “Ukrspetsexport” on a number of projects.” 5 The agency quotes one of these employees who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

Q: What such enormous bribes are paid for in the arms market?

A: For confidentiality, as Vladimir Filin correctly pointed out. Confidentiality is specially highly priced when the contract, to put it mildly, does not correspond to international agreements about the non-proliferation of certain types of weapons and technologies.

Q: But what kind of secret deals could Ukraine have with Syria and Iran?

A: Nothing secret with Syria, Ukraine sells there only spare parts for their obsolete stock of airplanes and armor.Iran is a different matter. As Victor Yushchenko confirmed in the beginning of this year [2005 – burtsev.ru], Ukraine had “leaked” to Iran the strategic cruise missiles of X-55 type, produced in the Soviet Union. This missile can deliver a nuclear charge and selling it, undoubtfully, violates all existing international treaties on the nonproliferation of missile technologies and the weapons of mass destruction.  6 

The Rosoboronexport official also explained that ammonium nitrate produced by Vyacheslav Kantor's company Akron has dual, civil and military, use, including the production of explosives and rocket fuel. He added that the offshore companies, like Kantor's Isofert Trading INC and Transchem International INC, are commonly used by arms dealers to hide financial transactions under “confidential” contracts. 7 


1  “Far West, Ltd. Leaves Europe Under the Threat of Criminal Persecution. Renamed Far West, LLC”. Left.ru <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/filin.phtml>

According to the latest announcement by the Internet publication Pravda-info,Vladimir Filin has left his residence in Lausanne, Switzerland and settled in San Paulo, Brazil. He is said to have business interests in a number of Brazil companies, specifically in lumber industry and the production of poultry for export. He was joined there by Alfonso Davidovich Ochoa, who previously resided in Munich, Germany. Two other leaders of Far West, Ltd./LLC, Yakov Kosman and Valery Lunev, also formerly of Russian military intelligence, have left the countries of their legal residence— France and the Netherlands respectively--for permanent residence in Dubai, where they were joined by the financial director Ruslan Berenis (UK) and Sultan Suleimenov, “first deputy” of the executive director of FWL. See, “Political Scientist Fritz Ermarth and businessman Adnan Khashoggi Do Not Own Agency Far West .” By Natalia Roeva, Pravda-info, 10.02.2006 <http://forum.msk.ru/material/news/7539.html> and Vladimir Filin's bio at the masthead of Pravda-info <http://forum.msk.ru/author/19.html>

2  Ivan Demidov, “Kto vydavlivaet sok iz 'nakolotykh apelsinov'?” (Who Squeezes Juice from 'Drug-Injected Oranges') Obkom (11.15.05) <http://ru.obkom.net.ua/articles/2005-11/15.1647.shtml> Reprinted in Ekonomicheskie novosti under the title “ Sovetniki Yushchenko lobbiruiut interesy rossiiskikh oligarkhov” (Yushchenko's Advisers Lobby Russian Oligarchs)(11.16.05) <http://economic-ua.info/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2698>Советники Ющенко лоббируют интересы российских олигархов http://economic-ua.info/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2698

3  Demidov claims that in the 1990s Kantor's own profits from Akron were moved to these offshores through AVTOVAZ Bank belonging to Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili.

4  "Is Yulia Timoshenko's Closest Associate Religious Sectarian, Pederast and Former Informer?" Pravda-info, 11.17.2005 <http://www.forum.msk.ru/material/news/4891.html>

5  The Rosoboronexport State Corporation is the sole state intermediary agency for Russia's military exports/imports.

6  “Arms Traders Receive “Orange” Suitcase With Compromising Materials” (in Russian). By Andrei Latynin. Novyi Region 2 (12.13.2005) <http://www.nr2.ru/siberia/49429.html >

7  Vyacheslav “Moshe” Kantor was detained for questioning regarding suspicions of international money laundering on February 9, 2006, when he arrived at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport.<http://www.jewishva.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=165523>

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