Ana Gomes MEP is the vice chair of the EU’s Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance. And yet it appears she may have been unwittingly co-opted by the perpetrator of one of the biggest financial crimes in history – Mukhtar Ablyazov.
There is no doubt that Gomes is familiar with Ablyazov and his crimes. In March 2015 she co-authored a letter to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, concerning Ablyazov and the extradition request for him.
A year earlier she intervened on behalf of Alexander Pavlov who was also facing extradition requests. Pavlov was Ablyazov’s bodyguard. Ablyazov includes her letter of support for Pavlov on his personal website.
It is with that in mind that recent events surrounding Gomes are somewhat concerning. In September this year Gomes was part of an EU mission to Kazakhstan. During that trip Gomes was photographed with Gaini Yerimbetova, someone known to be working under the control of convicted fraudster Mukhtar Ablyazov.
Yerimbetova is mother of Bota Jardemalie, Ablyazov’s ‘right hand’. Yerimbetova’s other child, Bota’s brother, is Iskander Yerimbetov, who has just been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for fraud in questionable circumstances.
Gaini Yerimbetova, who Gomes is photographed alongside, is very active on Facebook and social media. And yet in publicly available video Mukhtar Ablyazov can be heard directing Gaini via Bota, on the phone, as to changes to make to her Facebook posts and the best time to post them.
It should be understood that Iskander’s trumped up charges are precisely what Ablyazov wants, to allow him to paint himself as the victim of a regime witch hunt. Indeed, in another video Ablyazov can be heard laughing about Iskander’s arrest with Lyudmyla Kozlovska, the President of the ODF ‘NGO’.
ODF in practice seems to do significant PR work for convicted criminals, like Ablyazov. ODF is a highly suspect and controversial entity, with serious concerns raised over its funding – much of which is believed to come from Ablyazov. These rumours have only grown stronger following the release of the sex tapes featuring Ablyazov and what appears to be Kozlovska.
All of which paints an alarming picture. Why is a senior EU official and MEP, and the vice chair of the EU’s financial crime committee, being photographed alongside a woman known to be working under the guidance of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a notorious fraudster with $5bn in judgements against him, including from London’s High Court. He is believed to have embezzled around $10bn from BTA bank, Kazakhstan, and yet due to his astute political and PR campaigning he is currently living freely in France. It is unfortunate that Gomes appears to be unwittingly supporting those efforts.
In a response to these claims Ana Gomes has told EUAC:
“In our visit to Kazakhstan me and my colleagues raised several cases people in jail whose human rights have been violated. One of them was Mr Yerimbetov. None of our concerns was linked to whoever his relatives are or to any campaign to which he might be linked to.
“I don’t know about the financing of ODF. I never discussed this with ODF’s representatives. Any contact that I had with them are purely focused on information about human rights’ cases. All my meetings are published in my website: www.anagomes.eu”