Brussels conference hears of criminal links of human rights NGO Open Dialog Foundation

A Brussels conference discussed this week the startling allegations of corruption, patronage, and serious security concerns surrounding the highly controversial human rights NGO, the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) and its president, Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

A series of bombshells has hit ODF over the last few months. At the beginning of April the book WANTED MAN: The Story of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU, authored by EU Today publishing editor Gary Cartwright, discussed the criminal life of the man dubbed "the world's richest fraudster", and his close relationship with ODF. 

Ablyazov Mukhtar Arrest

Indeed, Ablyazov (pictured left following his arrest by French police in July 2013) is widely believed to have founded the NGO in order to sanitise his image, and to present himself as a politically persecuted oppositionist.

French MEP Nicolas Bay, speaking in the European Parliament in January, named Ablyazov as the founder of the ODF, and called for the Parliament's  committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance to open an investigation into the organisation's activities.

A few weeks later, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper revealed that the Polish based organisation is implicated in the laundering of some £26 million through UK companies. 

A few days after publication, Poland's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Syzmon Szynkowski, stated: As reported by the Sunday Times journalists, Moldovan parliamentarians accuse the activists of ODF of acquiring £1.5 million from Scottish front companies in exchange for lobbying for oligarchs. In their opinion, these companies had to "launder" a total of about £26 million, which was intended to finance organisations suspected of cooperating with Russian intelligence and acting to destabilise countries remaining in opposition to the Russian Federation.”

At the conference, Cartwright told delegates "Ablyazov, and other wanted criminals represented by ODF, have been deeply involved in money laundering activities, so we should not be surprised if they are also implicated".

He went on to say "As for cooperation with Russian intelligence and the destabilisation by ODF's clients of countries in opposition to Russia, such as Poland, Moldova, and Kazakhstan, this we have been aware of for a long time, but without hard evidence it is difficult to write about such things. Thanks to Minister Szynkowski the genie is out of the bottle, and his words can be quoted in print. We can expect more revelations on this over the coming days or weeks."

Also speaking at the conference was highly respected author and journalist Stephen M. Bland, who referred to the Russian connections of the head of ODF, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, as well as investigations ongoing in her home country of Ukraine.

Sources who wanted to remain anonymous believe that Kozlovska may have been recruited by the Russian Federal Security Services, the FSB, through her Crimea based brother Petro Kozlovski, whose former company supplied the Russian navy... According to a question tabled in the European Parliament by MEP Kosma Zlotowski, following the Russian annexation of Crimea Kozlovska was granted a Russian passport.... Closer to home for Kozlovska, the prosecutors of the Ukrainian oblast (region) of Sub-Carpathia have confirmed to me that investigations are ongoing there as well, and investigators are taking measures to establish circumstances of criminal offences, and those involved in their commission.

Stephen M. Bland, speaking the The Press Club, Brussels, 22nd May, 2019

Bland also highlighted the indisputable fact that ODF lobby on behalf of are either "serving jail time or on the run", going on name some of Ablyazov's close criminal associates, one of which is his own son-in-law, Ilyas Khrapunov, and outlining the offences for which they are either behind bars or "on the run".

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Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune is a Paris-based freelance journalist, and an occasional contributor to EU Today. He has a background in intelligence gathering, and he specialises in business and political matters, with a particular interest in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

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