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Owner of Kyrgyzstan fuel depot speaks out

Could American officials be tried under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

Nevertheless, Valery Hon says that, for him, the connection with Maksim Bakiyev was clear from the start. Hon says that he met with Sergei Kim, Bakiyev’s reported representative on “numerous occasions,” after Kim’s initial phone call.

Hon ended up renting his facility to a company called Munai Myrza Bazis, which later changed its name to Atek Oil. Atek Oil in turn signed a contract with two companies to run the fuel installation: Neftesintez and Aviation Fuel Service.

But Hon has supplied registration documents indicating strongly that all companies are linked to Babanov, the deputy prime minister under Bakiyev. Babanov’s mother, for example, originally owned Munai Myrza Bazis. After her death, the documents show, ownership passed to her son.

Zhanybek Sagadylda uulu, Babanov’s nephew, also plays a prominent role in the management of two of the companies. Babanov, speaking by telephone from Bishkek, confirmed that Sagadylda uulu was his relative, but denied that he owned any of the companies, now or at any point in the past. “These documents were forged,” he said.

Kim was not able to be reached at any of the phone numbers he had previously provided to Hon. Sagadylda uulu, writing by email, refused to answer specific questions, but said the matter was a “typical business dispute.”

An FCPA brochure states that, “to avoid being held liable for corrupt third party payments,” U.S. companies should carry out full due diligence to make sure that, among other things, entities that they are dealing with do not have ties to the government.

A Mina Corp spokesperson said that the company does not disclose the names of the firms it does business with, “for security and commercial reasons.” Also, he said that “Mina Corp has no access to the ownership structure of its counterparts.”

The spokesperson added, however, that to the best of Mina’s knowledge when they entered the contracts, Maksim Bakiyev was not a part of the companies they did business with.

The FCPA does not apply to Mina’s dealings, he continued, because the contracts were not created “to ingratiate us with the government.”

“The FCPA does not bar doing business with foreign governments, foreign officials, or family members or agents of officials,” the spokesperson said. “It bars doing business with them corruptly.”

“We have no concerns over the FCPA,” he added.