Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
On the 21st of October Belarus' KGB secret service detained several top managers of Velcom, the biggest mobile operator in Belarus. A week earlier Council of Ministers of Belarus set up a claim to increase the state share at Velcom in order to acquire majority holding.
Seven top managers including general director Juri Akimov (CEO) and vice director Nikolai Jushkevich and SB Telecom owner Idom Saddavi, citizen of Syria, were accused of embezzlement and abuse of power. On the 22nd of October the majority of released businessmen were released, having given a written undertaking not to leave a place. At present investigation is concentrated on the Syrians.
KGB and State Tax Committee officials claim that MDC (trademark Velcom) used an illegal leasing scheme as the result the company didn't pay accured taxes of USD 10 mln.
MDC official statement says that comments on the investigations should be given by the KGB and emphasizes that the company itself is not the object of interest of the investigation. At the same time it is pointed out in the statement that according Belarusian legislation damage to business reputation is prosecuted by the law.
Mobile Digital Communications which operates under the brands Velcom and Privet trademarks was founded in June, 1998 by Beltelecom (0,1% share), Beltechexport (30%) and by Cyprus offshore company Samauwi Brothers (SB) Telecom (69,9%).
At present SB Telecom holds 49% profit shares, Beltelecom- 31% and Beltechexport - 20%.
According to MDC, the company now has 550 000 subscribers.
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