12
Wed, Aug

SOCIAL NETWORK
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

On May 12, 2020, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA) sent a letter to Mr. Suma Chakrabarti, President of the EBRD and the EBRD - Civil Society department regarding the following:

We are asking for an explanation of the EBRD's financing policy for the «KORZINKA.UZ» supermarket chain in Uzbekistan.

  
  
— «The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is investing up to $40 million in the «KORZINKA.UZ» supermarket chain, the company stated to SPOT.UZ».
  
— This will be a direct investment in the equity of «Anglesey Food» Foreign Company LLC, the operator of the «KORZINKA.UZ» supermarket chain in Uzbekistan.
  
— The investment will support the network's expansion program from the current 50 to 140 supermarkets by 2025, as well as improving operational efficiency and corporate governance standards in line with international standards.
      
— In addition to expanding the network and improving the company's operational and financial performance, the project is expected to have a positive impact on the environment, raise social standards, improve the company's health and safety policies and practices.
     
— The «KORZINKA.UZ» supermarket chain has undergone all the necessary procedures, audits in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, environmental and social screening (ESDD) which has confirmed that the company has met the requirements of the Environmental, Health, Safety and Safety Management System (EHSS) in accordance with the EBRD's high standards and national legislation.»
      
On March 6, 2020 the following information appeared on the Uzbek website «SPOT.UZ»:
  
—  «In early February, Singapore's Anglesey Investments PTE. LTD (owner of «Anglesey Food» Foreign Company LLC, which operates stores under the «KORZINKA.UZ» brands) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)    have signed an agreement according to which the bank invests up to  $40  million by buying a minority stake in the company.
  
—  The parties do not disclose the size of the acquired stake. The head of the EBRD's representative office in Uzbekistan, Alkis Drakinos, told reporters during a briefing on Thursday that the bank would ensure that its stake in the company did not exceed 25%».
    
—  The Singapore Trade Registry shows that Anglesey Investments PTE. LTD is registered on December 23, 2019. The company shares its address with a dozen other companies according to the Registry.
   
On May 8, 2020 Iman  Karimova, the daughter of  Gulnara Karimova who was the daughter of former President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, reported on her Facebook page that  her  mother (Gulnara Karimova) had transferred some of the assets previously owned by her to the  Uzbekistan authorities. It now appears, that these assets were not transferred under the ownership of the state but were passed on to private owners. Gulnara Karimova herself is currently serving a prison sentence after a third court sentence issued against her for economic  crimes. These assets include stakes in «KORZINKA.UZ», the supermarket chain, which is operated and owned by  «Anglesey Food» Foreign Company LLC.
  
The above raises the following questions:
1) Why do EBRD representatives not name the actual owners (the beneficiaries) of the capital of the company in which they intend to invest? 
  
2) Information about the EBRD's intention to invest in the development of the «KORZINKA.UZ» network owned by Foreign Company «Anglesey Food» LLC appeared in November 2019. And in December 2019, a Singaporean company was registered, which received the transferred assets of «Anglesey Food» Foreign Company LLC, based on the above information. Which company and in what jurisdiction was the owner of the capital of «Anglesey Food» Foreign Company LLC earlier? Does this mean that among former owners of «Anglesey Food» Foreign Company LLC's capital was a company controlled by Gulnara Karimova? Is it true that EBRD is acquiring Gulnara Karimova's stake in the «KORZINKA.UZ» business through this transaction? We believe you know the answer to this question, because such transactions are subject to prior due diligence.
    
3) Is it considered an acceptable practice by the EBRD to invest in new companies with opaque capital structure and no disclosures such as Singapore's «Anglesey Investments PTE.LTD»?