The government granted at least three concession contracts to shell companies, the real owners of which are not known. These companies were registered and benefit from low taxation on corporations in the Netherlands which is practically a tax haven for them. Although they do not carry out any activities in the Netherlands, it suffices them to have an address in the country and financial activities elsewhere.
The potential troubles that might stem from revealing owners’ names– like conflict of interest, corruption or tax evasion– are all avoided.
“50 per cent of the large concessions [contracts] were won by shell companies. They might be regular companies and it’s their right not to reveal the shareholders, but as a minimum they should not be allowed to win public tenders,” said Arianita Brahaj, managing director of Open Data Albania.
Exit.al brings a summary of the main concessions contracts obtained by shell companies.
In October 2015, the Ministry of Health announced Dia Evita shpk as winner of the 10-year-long hemodialysis concession contract worth 63.5 million euros. The company is a joint venture owned by the American Hospital at 15 percent, and Evita shpk at 85 percent.
Evita was a small company with no previous experience in offering any similar services.
In November 2016, 72.5 percent of Evita’s shares were sold for only 160 thousand euros to a shell company named ARIMO B.V. and the remaining 27.5 percent of shares were bought by Ertel Kërçuku.
The company ARIMO B.V is registered in the Netherlands and its owners are not known. Its office is located at Paasheuvelweg 16 in Amsterdam, in the same building with Crowe Horwath Foederer– an accountancy firm specialized in managing exposure and tax risk.
In brief, 72.5 percent of hemodialysis concession shares are owned by a company with unknown owners.
Concession of hospital laboratories
In April 2017, the government announced as the winner of the concession on hospital laboratories the consortium of companies Labopharma shpk (41,7%), Exalab France (25%) and AB Laboratory Solutions B.V (33,3%) – the latter registered in the Netherlands and represented by Labopharma.
AB Laboratory Solutions B.V is again a Dutch shell company specializing in providing financial services.
This 10-year-long concession costs the state budget 7 million euros annually, and the payment to the concession company is planned in the 2019 draft budget. Even though the contract between the Ministry of Health and the company was signed two year ago, so far it has not been made public.
Tirana incinerator concession
In December 2016, the government decided to build a waste incinerator in Tirana through a 30-year concession worth 140 million euros.
Integrated Energy B.V. was the only company to submit an unsolicited proposal to the Ministry of the Environment in May 2016, before it was officially registered as a company in the Netherlands.
Following the evaluation of the proposal, the government decided to start tendering procedures for this project while granting the company with an 8-point bonus compared to other companies that could submit bids.
The board of directors of the company includes Thomas Walter Hansmann, director of Paul Wurth India Private Ltd., and Hans Wallage, representative of ANT Managment, a company specialized in schemes to conceal tax evasion.
Other board members are Theo Spijkerman and Arnaud van der Werf, both working for SGG Group, a financial services firm specializing in corporate trusts, often used for tax evasion. The SSG Group directors were convicted in the UK for financial fraud.
It seems that this is another shell company used as a cover for getting another costly concession, while quietly hiding corruption, conflict of interest or tax evasion.