13 Jan, 2013 @ 19:37
1 min read

Was Russian libelled over African president money laundering claims?

Teodoro Obiang

A MADRID court is to hear whether a Spanish newspaper libelled Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Kokorev over claims he laundered money for African leader Teodoro Obiang.

The court will decide if El Pais journalist Jose Maria Irujo defamed the Russian in a report in April.

A Moscow court has already ruled that the article was libellous. It claimed that Kokorev and members of his family were involved in a money laundering scheme in Spain for various officials from Obiang’s Equatorial Guinea government.

The scheme involved the purchase of various properties including two in Madrid and one in the Canary Islands.

According to Irujo, the story was based on a report of the Spanish police, which claimed Kokorev laundered “immense amounts of money” derived from political corruption in Equatorial Guinea.

However, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior has issued a certificate denying that such a report exists or that there could be any judicial or police investigation agains Kokorev or members of his family.

According to Kokorev’s lawyer in Moscow, Kirill Yaschenkov it is “absurd” that Obiang would launder money via Kokorev in Spain to acquire a modest 90m2 apartment in Las Palmas, of Gran Canaria.

Kokorov’s lawyer has likened the case to certain recent discrepancies uncovered in British newspapers over the last year.
He said: “to destroy the reputation of innocent people, whether to sell more newspapers or to advance the interests of a certain political or business agenda, does not constitute a legitimate exercise of the right to information or of the freedom of speech, not in Russia, not in the UK and not in Spain”.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. People will do whatever it takes in order to get something interesting to write about. Of course they’ve stemmed from a truth – that money was taken, however then they’ve spiraled completely out of control and in the wrong direction. Phrases and words like “money vanished,” “stolen,” and “corrupt” start flying around, where indeed all they have to do is look at the bank statements where they’ll see that every penny was used for a reason to continue Guinea’s growth and not buy a villa in spain or some other silly preposition. Sadly, I think Spain is just a bit jealous for losing such a country before it hit gold. Which is why they’re creating American blockbuster rumours where Russians are always at fault. A good story, brings up a lot of PR, but a fake one…

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