What do Lukashenka's daughter-in-law and Cyprus have in common?
Liliya Lukashenko not only has a big family but also a job she loves.
We look into connections between the gallery where Liliya Lukashenka works, Cypriot offshores and Serbian company Dana Holdings.
Liliya Lukashenka is the wife of Viktar Lukashenka, the eldest son of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Little is known about her. Although she does not avoid public events, she always keeps a little aloof. She almost never speaks in public. The exception is made for art events.
But recently the name of Liliya Lukashenka was mentioned at the EU level in the context of the third package of sanctions against Belarus. The introduction of sanctions against "Dana Astra" is explained in the official EU magazine, among other things, by the fact that Lukashenka's daughter-in-law works there. Quote:
"The owners of Dana Holdings / Dana Astra maintain close relations with Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Liliya Lukashenka, the president's daughter-in-law, holds a high position in the company."
Euroradio has studied the connections between the picture gallery where Lukashenka's daughter-in-law works, the Cypriot offshores and the Serbian company Dana Holdings.
Manages the developer?
Liliya Lukashenka's connection with Dana Holdings was brought up after the publication of the brochures for Dana Astra, one of the holding's developer companies. The full namesake of Viktar Lukashenka's wife is listed there as the company's deputy director. This is true for 2016-2017. It is not known whether Liliya Lukashenka now works for Dana Astra. Later, references to the management disappeared in the company's brochures.
"Dana Astra" is building a huge residential complex "Minsk-Mir" in Minsk. It was supposed to be a "city within a city", but for now it looks like an area densely packed with high-rise buildings. Dana Astra is part of the Dana Holdings of Serbian Karic brothers, businessmen with a controversial reputation and political ambitions.
"The most powerful financial group in the republic [of Serbia] (after the president's family, of course) is the Karic clan. In Serbia, it is often called 'Family # 2," wrote the Russian newspaper Kommersant back in 2000.
Since then, the Karic brothers have become even more powerful and have made connections in Belarus. Dragomir Karic is the Honorary Consul of Belarus in Belgrade, who is often described in the press as a friend of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
De jure, the Karic brothers do not directly own Dana Astra. The main owner of the company is Cyprus-based TRIWORST LIMITED. Coincidentally, one of its managers is Anna Elia (Αννα Ηλια). She is also among the top managers of the Karic BK Juniors company and a dozen other offshore companies.
Another coincidence: another offshore company - EMIRATES BLUE SKIES LTD - has connections with the same managers as TRIWORST LIMITED does (Anna Elia and Nadya Dyantis). A company with the same name, together with businessmen from the UAE, is currently conducting a large development project in Minsk.
Blue skies of the emirates
Back in early 2020, Emirates Blue Sky was called Zomex Investment. The name was changed for a large project in which the Arabs wanted to invest.
On October 2, Belarusian Prime Minister Raman Halouchanka and Emirati businessman Mohammed al-Abbar laid a capsule on the Minsk ring road, right at the foundation of the National Exhibition Center, the first 'smart city' facility to have $ 4 billion spent on it. Viktar Lukashenka attended the ceremony. Al-Abbar then met with Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
What does the Karic company have to do with it? It will put to life the investment project: al-Abbar gives money, the Serbian company builds, and everyone should be happy in Minsk.
The EMIRATES BLUE SKIES LTD from Cyprus is not officially the founder of the Belarusian company with the same name, but they changed their names at about the same time. In addition, the top managers of the Cypriot offshore also manage the companies associated with Dana Astra.
The official founders of the Belarusian "Emirates Blue Sky" are the Cypriot "Eliva Trading Limited" and "Ozalco Holding Limited". There is no publicly available data on these companies. Previously, the founders included the offshore company "Canfield", which was associated with the management of the "Itera" company, which in the late 2000s transferred all its rapid development activities (primarily the "Minsk-Mir" project) to the Karic brothers.
Officially, Liliya Valeryeuna Lukashenka has nothing to do with Emirates Blue Sky. But they are indirectly linked through the Art Chaos Gallery in Dana Mall, a shopping center in the north of Minsk, which was built by Zomex Investment.
Expensive paintings. Very expensive
As of mid-December, a person named Liliya Valeryeuna Lukashenka officially was working as the director of Art Chaos LLC. This legal entity operates a gallery in the Dana Mall shopping center, where works of contemporary artists are exhibited and sold. By the way, Liliya Lukashenka often appears in the state media precisely as the manager of a gallery -- we are only talking about art.
It is the statutory fund of the gallery that looks suspicious. For many companies, it is only a few thousand rubles, but for this small project, it is as large as 472,050 rubles. Back in the first half of the year, it was more than $200 thousand. Not bad, huh?
The modest Minsk gallery with an immodest statutory fund is owned by the Cypriot "DUNLACE HOLDINGS LIMITED", which is affiliated with a number of other offshore companies. It is almost impossible to find the ultimate beneficiaries of the company due to the intricate (on purpose?) System of founders and affiliated structures. Actually, this is the essence of offshore companies.
Several managers of the said company have the same names as the leaders of the Omonia Nicosia football team, which belongs to the Greek businessman and politician Stavros Papastavr, whose name was mentioned in many of the Panama Papers. However, these may really be namesakes of sports figures.
The Art Chaos gallery itself is aimed at a discerning audience: for example, here you can buy one of Mai Dantsig's paintings for almost 22 thousand rubles. There are works by Alyaksandr Kishchanka, Zoya Lutsevich and other Belarusian painters. The total cost of the exhibited works amounts to hundreds of thousands of rubles.
Rich experience in Cyprus
In 2012, in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper, an ex-employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus Vyachaslau Dudkin said that Liliya Lukashenka is the head of the representative office of the Cypriot Eastleigh Trading in Minsk. The company itself was associated with businessman Uladzimir Peftsiyeu, who at that time bypassed European sanctions with the help of chains of offshore companies.
The Eastleigh Trading representative office in Minsk was officially closed in July 2019. In Cyprus, the firm continues to operate and, through another company, is affiliated with several more companies, including those created relatively recently. Whether they have representative offices in Minsk and who are among the top managers is, of course, unknown.
If it is the same Liliya Lukashenko who works for Dana Astra and Art Chaos, then in recent years she has accumulated vast managerial experience in companies related to Cyprus.