The secrets of TRANS-Adriatic pipeline: operation “Erdogan”

This international investigation was made possible thanks to the cooperation with foreign colleagues, by prevailing in Turkey, the political situation forced to keep their names secret for personal safety and security. In the study of the thousands of acts and documents of the company, which lasted over six months, involved a team of researchers from the organization for the fight against corruption Re:Common.


Family members of Erdogan and businessmen close to the President of Turkey. Golden youth, associated with the Azerbaijani dictator. Top managers of energy around Putin. The TRANS-Adriatic pipeline, which Italian citizens are as strategic infrastructure, to free Europe from dependence on Russian gas, may go down in history as the three pipeline modes.

Espresso has revealed dozens of internal links (firms with the same managers or shareholders) of companies involved in the Azerbaijani gas, a huge pipeline to be laid in the Italian region of Puglia and the ruling circles in Baku and Istanbul. TRANS Adriatic pipeline is the last part, from Greece to Italy, the pipeline length of 4 thousand kilometers, running from the Azerbaijani field Shah Deniz 2 and passing through Turkey. The European Commission approved it in June 2013 as a EU project funded with the support of public funds, despite the fact that he belongs to a private consortium of transnational corporations, United in the company TAP Ag, which headquarters are located in Baar in the Canton of Zug, known for the most burdensome system of taxation throughout Switzerland. In a huge gas pipeline preliminary cost of which is estimated at 45 billion euros, are interested and many other companies, mostly Azerbaijani and Turkish.

The existing pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, inaugurated in 2006, has become a point of reference around which SOCAR (State oil company of Azerbaijan Republic) began to build its network of interests in Turkey. Today in Istanbul was at least 25 companies of the group, SOCAR, operating in the energy sector. Some of them are directly interested in implementation of TRANS-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP), Turkish section of the pipeline with a length of two thousand kilometers. On the site of our weekly journal we publish an interactive diagram, which presents all the documented connection between the two power companies: on the one hand, the energy company controlled by the Azerbaijani regime, on the other — to a Turkish company close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the author of the referendum held in the country on April 16 designed to turn constitutional democracy in presidentialists mode. One of the most important companies manages just the TRANS-Anatolian gas pipeline.

The unit of Turkish companies related to the group SOCAR (Socar), is the set of companies associated with the environment Erdogan. Documentary evidence used in this investigative lead, in particular, to the President-in-law, another his son-in-law, who is also Minister of energy of Turkey, as well as some businessmen are openly supportive of Erdogan and his Party of justice and development. In this article, we use the abbreviated names of these companies in the scheme specified their full name, indicating all the leaders, and officially registered shareholders.

The most obvious fact: the Azerbaijani and Turkish block form a company, functioning as a bridge between them. It’s called Socar Gaz Ticareti and is engaged in the distribution of gas (the name means SOCAR gas Trade). She appeared in 2012 to sell methane gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey, in accordance with the agreement between the two governments. This company is like the thread of Ariadne, gives you the opportunity to explore the labyrinth of personal connections and business relations between the Azerbaijani regime and the Turkish government. Rasputan this thread, we will be able to learn about many other business ties between Baku and Istanbul.

Shareholders of the company Socar Gaz Ticareti are two other companies: Socar Turkey Enerji (it owns 70% of shares) and Arkgaz Enerji, now called Cig Enerji (owns 30%). The first was established in 2006, the parent company of SOCAR, which was subsequently sold 13% of its shares to a commercial Bank Goldman Sachs. Of the latest document registered in Istanbul, dated 20 August 2015, it is clear that property at that time divided between SOCAR (87%) and Goldman Sachs International, which owns shares with a nominal value of 890 million Turkish liras with Charter capital of 6.8 billion. The international Bank was at the center of many discussions due to invitations to work Manuel Barroso (Manuel Barroso), President of the European Commission from 2004 to 2014, which, being in office, signed an important agreement on behalf of a huge pipeline, divided into three sections (the TRANS-Adriatic (Tap) — the TRANS-Anatolian (Tanap) — South Caucasus pipeline (SCP).

A member of the administrative Council of the second controlling company, Arkgaz Enerji, was Ziya Ilgen, Erdogan’s son-in-law, the husband of the sister of the President Vasile. Ilgen is one of the figures closest to Erdogan: Turkey’s President told Al Jazeera that his son-in-law gave the signal of alarm in connection with the attempted coup in July last year, and this has allowed the President to escape. Ilgen is also a shareholder of other companies three relatives Erdogan: brother and two sons.

Capital Arkgaz, in turn, is controlled by two companies: Ar Enerji (70%) and Cig. (30%). Ar Enerji is a holding company, which owns 70% Arkgaz controlling 30% of Socar Gas Ticareti. All the same, Ziya Ilgen, son-in-law of Erdogan, was one of the largest shareholders Enerji Ar. He controlled 50% of the capital of the company, having sold them in 2013 in a very successful period for the Turkish-Azerbaijani companies for a few months before the European authorities approved a draft supersaturated. The company is Erdogan’s son-in-law was at the center of a series of corruption charges, filed in 2015, Turkish MP Team Arioglu, a member of the main opposition party: as follows from his statements remaining undetected, Turkey has suffered billions of dollars in losses on the contracts related to Azerbaijani gas.

Both companies controlling Socar Gaz Ticareti, also related to Omer Farooq Kalyoncu, an important Turkish entrepreneur, owner of Newspapers and TV channels, a loyal supporter of Erdogan. One of the members of the governing Council, his publishing group Turkuvaz media is Serhat Albayrak, Berat’s brother of Albaraka, Minister of energy of Turkey and Erdogan’s son-in-law.

Another company established in Turkey, Azerbaijan by a group of SOCAR, Socar Turkey Petrol Enerji also leads to Erdogan. The shareholders of this company are Omer Gur, son of Remzi Gür, a wealthy Turkish businessman, whom the opposition called “ATM Erdogan”. The gure, of course, included in the small circle of entrepreneurs, which gave Erdogan the key to power: major infrastructure, energy resources, means of information. At Ramsey there are kinship (which appeared through marriage) with the family Dogan, permanent shareholders and members of the administrative Council of the Star Media group.

This extensive television and publishing network was at the center of a tangled case of buying and reselling the control stake, which implicated another businessman, openly support Erdogan: his name is Fettah Tamince, he is also a member of the administrative Council Arkgaz Enerji. In 2013-2014 Taminje first sold, and then bought 50% of Star Media, the company Socar Turkey Media, the company that created the Azerbaijani state energy company for the acquisition of the Turkish Newspapers and TV channels.

Close to Erdogan entrepreneurs also control companies that won tenders for the implementation of TRANS-Anatolian gas pipeline. Among the builders of the largest contracts (third and fourth) we highlight the company Kalyon Insaat is part of the Omer Farouk Kalyoncu.

This stunning series of interactions companies, of course, effectively hides the connection between Azerbaijani gas business environment Erdogan and control of the media and television. Ties become more obvious upon closer examination of the interested in that.

Ziya Ilgen, son of the President of Turkey, is a former teacher who discovered his passion for business during the reign of Erdogan. In Istanbul it is considered a key political figure who never comes out in public. Son-in-law of the President is engaged in the business thanks to three Turkish companies with three relatives of Erdogan’s brother Mustafa and sons Ahmet Burak and Bilal Necmeddin. Three family-run company involved in Maritime transportation and called Bmz, Tuzla Tanker and Bumerz. Son-in-law of the President is a member of the administrative Board of Tuzla together with Mustafa Erdogan, he also held the position of managing a company Bumerz together with his brother and the son of Erdogan, Ahmet Burak.

The name of the company BMZ is connected with the initials of its three founders, each of whom is a relative of Erdogan: Bilal, second son of the President, his brother Mustafa and his son-in-law Ziya. In a number of articles appearing in the foreign press, has repeatedly voiced suspicions, fuelled by Russian and Syrian sources that were used for smuggling oil needed to Finance the “Islamic state” (declared a terrorist organization and banned in Russia — approx. ed.) but the charges categorically oproverjenie Turkish authorities never found evidence in any judicial investigation.

Ilgen was a member of the administrative Board of the company Arkgaz Enerji from June 2013 to June 2014. Erdogan’s son-in-law joined the Board together with its other fellow entrepreneurs by Jemal Kalyoncu and Feltham Taminje. Ilgen in 2013 was a shareholder and member of the administrative Board of the company Ar Enerji, one of the gas holding. In Turkish archives there is, however, one curious gap. From documents follows, that Ilgen owned 50%, which he sold first in October 2013 Jemal Kalyoncu (25%) and Omer Farouk Kalyoncu (25%): thus, the entire capital is concentrated in Ayyldiz Holding, now called Zirve Holding. Available documents, however, does not allow us to understand what proportion of stock was in the hands of Erdogan’s son-in-law.
Omer Farooq is the son of Hassan Kalyoncu, the Patriarch, the founder of the Kalyon group, a conglomerate whose interests spread from the media to the construction business, from energy to infrastructure. In the era of Erdogan, the Kalyon group was awarded a large number of large contracts, including and most controversial projects, like the construction of a third airport in the forests North of Istanbul, the city’s subway and underground tunnel which has given rise to youth protests in Taksim square.

Family Kalyoncu openly connected with the Turkish President. Erdogan was a witness at three different ceremonies: in 2004, as head of the government — at the wedding of the acting head of the company Omer Faruk, in 2014 — at the wedding of his cousin Mehmet Kalyoncu; in April 2015 — at the wedding of his sister Kubra. Omer Faruk Kalyoncu is also the owner and President of Zirve Holding company involved in the controversial sale of the assets to the Turkuvaz media giant. From documents follows, that company Zirve was founded a couple of months before the acquisition in December 2013 of the media. As the materials of judicial wiretaps from a large-scale anti-corruption investigation in 2013, this purchase of a controlling stake was allegedly conducted at the personal request of Erdogan, speaking to different entrepreneurs (the opposition gave them the nickname “mediacommand”) with a request to redeem the overly liberal media. Of course, Newspapers and TV channels after the change of ownership were associated with Erdogan’s party. These wiretaps, which led to the resignation of four Ministers, has not resulted in any trial. Under the prosecution proved but former heads of investigation which are suspected of support of the preacher Fethullah Gulen, an alleged customer of a failed coup in Turkey.

In the books it Kalyoncu Omer is the owner and Director of the company Ar Enerji, which he controls via Zirve bought a controlling stake in media holding. He is also the President of the company Arkgaz Enerji. The Kalyon group in the era of Erdogan built, among other things, the gas pipeline in the Istanbul region, as well as dams, waterways, highways, subway, University and hospital.

Fettah Tamince is the owner of hotel network Rixos. In an interview in 2004, widely known in Turkey, the entrepreneur said during a trip to Azerbaijan that “in love” in Erdogan and that he dreams of “three or four times a week.” The President’s family spent long summer holidays at luxurious hotels, Rixos, in particular in 2008 and again in 2012. In 2013, the entrepreneur has received from the authorities consent to an embodiment of the construction plan, which caused considerable controversy, turning the historical haliç docks in a huge port for cruise liners. His project for the construction of a giant hotel on the ancient archaeological site of Olympos-Phaselis also provoked a wave of criticism.

Taminga is still a member of the administrative Board of the company Arkgas, which he entered on 14 June 2014, together with the son in law of Erdogan. Moreover, it owns 99.9% of the Ftg Gayrimenkul (abridged used his initials), which is the second April 2015 owns the whole capital of Cig..

Hotelier and oilman played a very strange role in the rapid transition of ownership of Star Media group: in a short time he twice bought and resold. In particular, he acquired it in 2009, the entrepreneur of Etem Sandzak. In April 2013 he sold a 50% stake in the group, SOCAR, becoming, thus, the most important Turkish partner of the Azerbaijani state. In may 2014, he sold the Sandzak Etem the second half of the shares. However, in September 2014, he again bought 50% stake from SOCAR. And in the same Sep 2014 resold them Murad the Sandzak, the nephew of Etem.

In addition to Erdogan, Taminga, it turns out, loves more and offshore. In the archives of the Panama documents connected with it, at least four of the offshore company, which operated in the period from 2003 to April 2013, all located in the fiscal Paradise of the British virgin Islands: Althorn International, Hazara Asset Management, Rogor and Sembol Ltd. Legal company Ramona Fonseca (Ramon Fonseca) and jürgen Mossaka (Jürgen Mossack), arrested, meanwhile, in Panama, made Taminje in a list of their best customers that deserve a Christmas present. In the past the company carried out also for it operations confidential: February 15, 2006, for example, Taminje sells half of the shares of the company Rogor another offshore company, a shareholder which is a Chingiz Dosmukhambetov, who was born 25 August 1982 in Kazakhstan, in some articles in the press call him the son of one of the Kazakh Ministers. Finance Director at Rixos, inter alia, requested the Panamanian law firm to open a Swiss Bank account in the company Althorn.

Remzi gür — known Turkish businessman, who founded the 70-ies in London, the Ramsay group consisting of textile factories in Turkey and clothes stores from the USA to Russia and China. In may 2013, Erdogan was a witness at the wedding Tugby, daughter of the entrepreneur. The opposition gave him the nickname “the ATM Erdogan” in 2009, when the well-publicized alleged address of the President to the Gure with a request to send money to his daughter Sumaya, who studied in the United States.

The gure is another businessman close to Erdogan, support very close ties with the Azerbaijanis from SOCAR. Since 2008 he is a member of the governing Board of the energy company Enerji Enpo, 2011, the company was one of the founders (which owns a 21.5%), Socar Turkey Gaz selling Azerbaijani gas. From December 2013 to this day (which is confirmed by documents from 10 November 2016), the gure holds the position of President of Enpo. Other members of the administrative Council is Selim Dogan (Dogan son of Hassan) and the daughter of the Gure Yasemin Solmaz. Mysteriously, in publicly available documents does not provide any information about the shareholders Enpo. Two children of Remzi Gür is also a small proportion of stock trading-oil company Socar Turkey Petrol since its founding.

In Panama a file with many documents in Ramsey the Gure that for more than ten years is a loyal customer of the company Mossack Fonseca. Excel Energy Trading Ltd is an offshore holding company, established in 2010 in the British virgin Islands, 75% shares of which belongs to Ramsey the Gure. The remaining 25% was in the hands of the Omer Usefuli born in 1963 in Ankara and living in London. In Turkey he is known as the head of a company called Petrol Ofisi International Oil Trading Limited (abbreviated Point) and founder Lysa Investment. Both companies in Istanbul was accused of alleged tax fraud on oil imports, implemented from 2001 to 2008, but in this case there is as yet no verdict. The second foreign company-the Treasurer is called the Red Castle International Corp, she was registered in Panama in 2004. The offshore (Plenipotentiary) is the daughter of businessman Yasemin Solmaz the gure. In 2006-2007 the company was listed 2 155 000 dollars.

Nephew Mehmet Remzi gür is a member of the governing Board of the Turkish company Ortadoğu Proje along with son-in-law of President Zia Igenom. The same company also provided the right to sign the President’s brother Mustafa Erdogan.

In 2008 against Ramsey of Gure had opened an investigation into bribery policy, he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. He has always rejected the charges against him, stating that he “hates corruption.” In 2010, the sentence was commuted to a fine.

Other members of the family of Remzi Gür also have a great influence. His brother-in-law (his wife’s brother the Nevin) — the late owner Hasan Dogan, who served as head of the Federation of Turkish football. His brother, Hussein Dogan and his wife Fatma, Nursel there are numerous business relationships with oil and gas companies SOCAR. Hussein died in the year 2016, the President attended his funeral.

Another entrepreneur is closely associated with the Turkish government, is etem Sandzak, which, starting with a small medical company has created a conglomerate that controls, among other things, a network of hospitals and a huge pharmaceutical company, which was sold in 2013 the British group Alliance Boots Stefano Pessina (Stefano Pessina) and Ornella Barra (Ornella Barra). Sandzak openly supports President Erdogan. Since 2012 he even takes up the post of Commissioner for human rights (Ombudsman) of the party of justice and development. In 2013, he bought the Newspapers Akşam and Güneş, the Sky360 TV channel, two radio stations and several periodicals from the public Fund, who led the bankruptcy of the Çukurova group. In 2014 he became the ultimate purchaser of Star Media, the company caught in the middle of the sales and resales of Taming and Azerbaijanis from SOCAR. In 2014, the Sandzak purchased at public auction where he was the sole member, also Bmc plant that produces battle tanks and water cannons used by police to disperse demonstrators.

Turkish energy Minister Berat Albayrak is a member of the family of Erdogan: since 2014 he is married to his daughter Esra. From 2007 to 2013 he was head of energy giant Çalik Holding and repeatedly charged the opposition to use contacts for acquisition of privatized power companies, television networks and obtaining large contracts in Turkey and Iraq. As Minister, he appoints the leadership of state energy companies: state oil and gas company Botas directly involved in the construction of TRANS-Anatolian gas pipeline. The Minister’s brother Serhat Albayrak was member of the Board of Çalık holding and still manages Turkuvaz media.

In Azerbaijan gas block more closely connected to the ruling regime. President Ilham Aliyev, in power since 2003, has held this position after his father Heydar Aliyev, who led the former Soviet Republic since 1969: thus, it is a small country, very rich in gas and oil, for half a century is in the hands of one family. The Azerbaijani regime is considered by international organizations as one of the most corrupt in the world. From Panamanian documents that Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova (for a long time in prison) were right, calling the family members of the President-dictator real owners of offshore holding companies controlling huge public resources and mines precious metals. In articles it is told that three families, Aliev, Mammadov and Gaydarova, control all the resources of the country. The Washington Post found that in 2010, three children of the President, while still teenagers, already owned (through offshore companies) real estate abroad worth at least $ 120 million.

In 2012 and 2013, several months before the consent of Brussels to build a giant pipeline Tap-Tanap, Scp, lobbyists regime has funded dozens of European and American parliamentarians, including Italian Luca Volonte (Luca Volontè), confirmed to journalists Report that his family foundations have received payments of Azerbaijan, in his words, they were legitimate: Milan Prosecutor’s office identified them as $ 2 million 390 thousand euros. State group SOCAR sells gas and oil through a mysterious system of companies. Cash store this system is a Swiss company created in 2007 after the opening of the Btc pipeline, it is called Socar Trading and earns over 30 billion dollars a year. However, in the first five years the regime in Azerbaijan was satisfied with only 50% percent of its stock. The second half of the capital were combined with two individuals: a young Azerbaijani businessman Anar Aliyev and former Russian Manager of LUKOIL Valery Golovushkin. First became a shareholder in the Swiss SOCAR, making a contribution of five million dollars, the second — 1 million 250 thousand. In August 2012, SOCAR bought their shares, paying 103 million Azerbaijani entrepreneur and the 30 — Russian.

After these revelations ANAS Aliyev broke the silence, explaining to the Azerbaijani newspaper that he’s “just a businessman who is engaged in the business” that he changed his name to Alizadeh in a sign that is not a relative of the President. The fact that in a few years the Azerbaijani entrepreneur, who had never engaged in energy, has signed as many as 48 of the preference agreements between SOCAR and joint ventures, which owns gas and oil fields. These contracts Anar Alizade-Aliyev earned only in the period from 2005 to 2012, at least 375 million dollars.

The entrepreneur was born in the Azerbaijani region of Nakhchivan, the birthplace of the President’s family. Its proximity to the regime was manifested in the participation in the construction of speculation, “Baku White City” project, a symbol of the European games 2015. In an attempt to deflect suspicion that he is a senior figurehead, the businessman has placed the leadership of his Empire in hitherto unattainable entrepreneurial Paradise. For example, his company Union Grand Energy incorporated in Singapore, is controlled by a completely anonymous offshore company in the United Arab Emirates under the name Horizon Investment where not listed shareholders.

In the same Emirates is the headquarters of Heritage General Trading, the offshore warehouse, allowing the ANAS Aliyev to control 40% of the Swiss Socar through its Maltese holding company. In this company, responsible for the Azerbaijani Treasury, had three owners: the parent company SOCAR with 50%, the Russian businessman Golovushkin with 25% (through Renfrel Holding in the British virgin Islands) and Azerbaijani Alizade/Aliyev with the remaining 25% (via a mysterious company Emirati Heritage).

In September 2010, however, the share of offshore, owned by Russian Manager is reduced to 10%, while the share of Azerbaijani entrepreneur grows to 40% in the same time, he borrows $ 20 million without guarantees Swiss Socar. In 2011, the company will refund the amount with interest. In 2012, the company buys both private share. By the time Anar Aliyev comes from the Swiss company, and Golovushkin remained General Director until the end of 2013, and then — member of the administrative Board.

Anru Asimov, a top Manager of the Azerbaijan parent company (where he works since 1994), said one government publication that two private shareholder, Golovushkin and Alizade/the Aliyev has been included in Socar Trading “because of their reputation and experience could, in addition to the capital contribution, to secure Bank financing, despite the crisis”.

An Alliance with anonymous private shareholders is repeated in many other companies, the Azerbaijan state group. A Maltese company Socar Oil&Gas International Holding, for example, is controlled by the parent company SOCAR and mysterious Sact Ltd, which is known only by its address in Hong Kong, where she was on 19 January 2015.

From Panamanian documents, among other things, that former Vice-President of LUKOIL Valery Golovushkin continued to work in Swiss company Sputnik Russian energy colossus before you enter into SOCAR. At present it is difficult to accept as coincidence the entry of LUKOIL from 10% in the consortium led by SOCAR and Bp for the exploitation of gas from the Shah Deniz 2. This consortium intends to sell to Europe, starting in 2020, nearly 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas through the Tap pipeline-Tanap, Scp, and able to withstand twice as large amounts.

The project received the approval of the European Commission headed by Barroso, the stated purpose of which is to find alternatives to Russian gas from Gazprom, now can get paradoxical geopolitical development. In December 2016, after the end of the confrontation between the Turkish and Russian sides in Syria, Gazprom signed in Istanbul the agreement on the construction of new underwater gas pipeline “Turkish stream”, the completion of which is envisaged in the city Ipsala, on the border of Greece and Turkey, a crossing point of the TRANS-Anatolian and TRANS-Adriatic gas pipeline. The agreement was signed by the Turkish Minister Albaraka in the presence of his father-in-law of Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin guaranteed “Turkey discount on gas”. Now Gazprom is planning to join just for the gas pipeline to Italy, with unused production capacity of 10 billion cubic meters. Such a result seems almost an irony of Putin, Erdogan and Aliyev: more gas for everyone to bypass Ukraine, the enemy of Moscow and girlfriends of Europe.

The real problem with this supersaturated at this stage is not the government and not the protests of the citizens, and money. In the business of Azeri gas from transnational corporations more interested Bp coming out of its difficult period in April 2016, she agreed to pay the United States a record compensation amounting to 20 billion dollars because of an accident on an oil platform, which led to the pollution of the Gulf of Mexico.

The most recent published budget of the consortium Tap Ag of the year 2015 shows that the Swiss company is seriously burdened with debts, so that the auditors doubt its ability to survive if only she will not appear million financing. “We believe that public funds should not be used in the project, which can turn into a black hole,” says researcher Elena Gerebizza from the international NGO Re:Common, found evidence of irrevocable financing allocated by the European Commission parent company Tap (Espresso wrote about this case two weeks ago).

Researchers from Re:Common clarify that even the Turkish Tanap company has received over 10 million of irrecoverable loans from the European Commission. And, most importantly, — the Turkish section of the pipeline have benefited from preferential loans worth $ 800 million from the world Bank than in equal proportions are used Turks and Azerbaijanis (more than $ 600 million was allocated to Asian investment Bank). At the same time, the Russian company LUKOIL in 2015, received a loan of $ 450 million from the European Bank for reconstruction and development and another 250 million from the Asian development Bank that is designed just for the development of the Azerbaijani field Shah-Deniz 2.

Even for the transnational corporations that control the construction of the TRANS Adriatic pipeline, among which are the group Bp and Azerbaijani SOCAR through its associated Swiss Az-Tap, supersaturated would be a huge financial transaction: the banks invest the money that will come back to them after future sales of methane, that is, from accounts paid by gas consumers. After Turkey and Russia, even private consortium Tap Ag has asked the European investment Bank on the financing of 2 billion: it will be the largest loan ever issued in this state by a credit institution, head of other European banks. As the European Bank for reconstruction and development and the world Bank, it is run by representatives of the member States of the EU, including Italy.