I wrote about the strange disappearance in late 2014 of the future Minister of Defense of Greece. On October 25th, 2014, Syriza’s functionary Dimitris Konstantinopolous wrote that:
Panos [Kammenos] appeared from somewhere a month ago full of “excitement“, asking for tactical collaboration [with Syriza]. Then he went to Moscow for private reasons, as told us (a friend’s wedding) and then disappeared off the face of the Earth with a pretty impressive way. I’m very curious if you ever go to see what explanation they give for the disappearance.
After Panos returned from the wedding, as we now know, he was eager to form a coalition government with Syriza, despite this being a party of opposing ideology.
Well, now we know where he went to a wedding. Along with 89 other Greeks.
On October 3rd 2014, an email was sent from one member of the close circle of Konstantin Malofeev to another. The email was sent from the account of Maxim Kryuchkov. Kryuchkov is Malofeev’s assistant and travelled with him and Igor Girkin to Ukraine to take “presents from the Russian Orthodox Church to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. Their travels took them to the Crimea, where in Girkin’s own admissions, during the trip they set up the organization for the future secession from Ukraine. For more on that, you might want to read my trilogy “The Orthodox Crusaders”.).
The email contained an attachment called “The Greeks”. The pdf file, which I attach below, has a list of 90 Greek names, and the planned lodging arrangements for all of them in a luxurious resort somewhere in Russia.
Near the top of the list of 90 Greeks is a certain Mr. Panagiotis Kammenos, then head of the extreme-right “Independent Greeks” party and current Minister of Defense, together with his family.
Other notable names on the list were:
- Theodoros_Rousopoulos – a former State Secretary and spokesman, and a close confidant of former PM Kostas Karamanlis. Resigned after a property scandal involving real-estate transactions between the state and the Athos monastery.
- Manolis Sfakianakis – the name coincides with the name of the current Director of the Cyber Crime Center of the Greek police. Cooperates with Interpol and Europol. Writes books on cyber-security. Trained and trusted by the FBI.
The rest of the list was filled with names of Greek lawyers, businesspeople, doctors, and a full-fledged Greek orchestra.
What was this motley sample of the Greek elite doing in Russia in October 2014 – apparently at the expense of Konstantin Malofeev?
The answer is festive: a Greek wedding…As you can see from the snapshot above, Malofeev was put on the EU travel blacklist after the second round of names were added to the sanction list. This prevented him from travelling to Greece to a wedding ‘of a dear friend” in his own words (if we assume the most luxurious cottage is reserved for the happy new family, that friend would be Giannis Karageorgis, marrying Sofia Sotirakou).
What does a Russian oligarch on the EU blacklist for funding international terrorism do when he can’t travel to a wedding? He brings the wedding to him. Here is Malofeev himself, quoted by Slate on October 22nd:
“The sanctions are a very stupid instrument that only Obama and his administration could believe will have any impact. It has not damaged my business,” he says. The 40-year-old multimillionaire, though, does allow that the sanctions have “had some impact on my personal movements. I cannot go on vacation in the Alps. This weekend, my Greek friend who invited me to be the best man at his wedding had to come to me to have his wedding with 90 Greeks, instead of me going to him. That’s the impact that it had.”
The full list of wedding guests who attended the wedding apparently at the expense of Konstantin Malofeev, is here. СПИСОК_ПОСЛЕДНИЙ_НОВЫЙ.
UPDATE: In the first version of this blog, I said that the wedding took place in a Crimean resort. The reason for this assumption were the names of the cottages in the luxurious resort, and the fact that in the days prior to the planned event, another conference was planned in Crimea by Malofeev’s organization.
However, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to Malofeev and two of the Greek guests (including Minister of Defense Kammenos), who all have said that they went to a “wedding in Moscow”. In this case, another location with similar names of cottages becomes the more likely festive location – the luxurious Tsargrad VIP resort near Moscow. (thanks to 9tom9 for pointing this place out). TripAdvisor tells us this resort received a Traveler’s Choice 2015 Award. The place has its own private lake and even a special wedding package including “release of white doves”, so it fits the profile.
Now, let’s check who owns this place. The hotel’s Terms and Conditions give us the legal name of the hotel operator, whcih in turn we can check in the Russian Central Tax Register. That gives us an untraceable off-shore owner: Jenlys Enterprises Corp, British Virgin Islands.
However, a check in the local owner-tax register of the village where the hotel is located throws up the following intriguing coincidence: Jenlys Enterprises and Konstantin Malofeev are registered under two consecutive numbers.
Indeed, a story in the Russian business press from 2008 discloses that Konstantin Malofeev’s Marshall Fund (whose “Head of security” was Russian terrorist/rebel commander Igor Girkin) is the owner of the “Tsaigrad” real estate development project – a $180 mln investment by the then 32-year Malofeev. The name “Tsargrad” (translatable as Constantinopol) is also the name of a Orthodox-nationalist TV station, funded by Malofeev, which has been a key supporter of the Russian invasion into Ukraine and a frequent forum for interviews with Girkin.
Thus, there is little doubt that the Greek wedding, attended by the future Minister of Defense and other Greek former/current political figures and (possibly) an acting senior police director, took place at a Russian resort owned by Malofeev, and judging by his own boast to the press, was fully paid for by the Best Man.
The question is, as appropriately asked now by Greek media: Can a NATO/EU Minister of Defense travel to and stay at the property and at the expense of a EU-sanctioned Russian oligarch, wanted by Ukraine for funding terrorism and a plausible war-criminal, and not pay a political price for this?
TO BE CONTINUED….