Mina Corp. Welcomes Committee Report Vindicating Jet Fuel Supplier of Afghan War
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Mina Corp. Ltd., and its sister company Red Star Enterprises Ltd., welcome the fundamental conclusion of the report of the majority staff of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives that vindicates the companies of false allegations of corruption involving prior Kyrgyz governments. The report also praises the companies for their efforts under extraordinarily difficult conditions to supply enormous volumes of jet fuel to U.S. troops fighting the war in Afghanistan. Although welcoming these core conclusions, the companies feel obligated to address certain findings contained in the report that they believe run counter to the facts.
Undue Secrecy Impaired U.S. Diplomatic Goals: The majority staff’s report criticizes the “secrecy” with which the companies have operated and claims that their mode of operation impaired U.S. diplomatic goals. Firstly, it should be noted that the companies cooperated fully with the Subcommittee’s investigation, providing information on beneficial ownership, interviews with key personnel, and hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. Secondly, Mina and Red Star have also publicly disclosed their beneficial ownership information without any legal obligation to do so. This is hardly secretive behavior.
Moreover, Mina Corp. and Red Star operate in exceedingly dangerous parts of the world, including, most notably, the Afghan war zone. Because of the continual danger to Mina and Red Star’s management and personnel, the companies have tried to conduct their operations with a low public profile in order to avoid becoming a target for interests hostile to international military operations in Afghanistan. This is less a policy of “secrecy” by Mina and Red Star than an imperative for running a highly vulnerable supply operation in areas where physical security is constantly imperiled. Mina and Red Star strongly defend their decision to operate in a way that protects both their personnel and their supply chain.
“Deceiving” Russian Authorities: The report also suggests that Gazprom Neft and the Russian government did not know that Russian fuel was being supplied to the U.S. base at Manas. To the contrary, Gazprom Neft and Russian authorities knew all along where Russian jet fuel was going and for what purpose. The dramatic increase in the quantities of fuel being exported to Kyrgyzstan from Russia after the base opened in 2001 could not be understood in any other way. Gazprom Neft clearly intends to supply fuel to the U.S. base given that it recently entered into a joint venture with a newly formed Kyrgyz state company for that specific purpose.
Commenting on this issue, William A. Burck, a partner in the Washington D.C. office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and counsel for the companies, said: “Russia was openly supplying the base. Unless you believe that the airport in Bishkek overnight became an international travel hub like JFK or Moscow airport, it was clear that the fuel was going to the U.S. base. There was no deception at all; the Russians, the Kyrgyz authorities, and the Department of Defense all knew exactly where the fuel was coming from and where it was going.”
The majority staff’s report, while welcome in its fundamental conclusion regarding the false allegations against Mina and Red Star, falls short in describing the nature of the companies’ operations and the awareness among all key players, including the Russians, that Gazprom Neft was supplying fuel to U.S. troops.
SOURCE Mina Corp.