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Trustcorp: a gravy train for spies or a shield for kickbacks2009-08-21 14:54
Georgia is one of the poorest Post-Soviet countries where living standards leave much to be desired. And the social achievements of recent years Mikheil Saakashvili reports to Western media are a sneer for Georgians.
Georgia's budget mainly relies on sponsor aid from the USA and EU that "mercifully" help Saakashvili's regime patch up holes in the military infrastructure greatly damaged after the smashing defeat of the criminal adventure in South Ossetia last August. Lion's share of billion loans and donations is spent on state administration, police and army. But somehow this money keeps the Georgian economy afloat.
However Western sponsors and creditors - these are mainly state structures - should sometimes be attentive where the taxpayers' money goes when it reaches Georgia. Then they would have noticed a queer movement of the capitals from poverty-stricken Georgia to a prosperous Baltic republic - Estonia. Mikheil Saakashvili's sympathy with the Balts is well known. Leaders of three Baltic states zealously defend Georgian interests in EU structures. But how self-giving are they?
The information posted on Dv.ee business portal sheds light on this delicate issue reporting on obscure Trustcorp owned by ex Director of Estonian Coordination Bureau, ex Advisor to Estonian President Lennart Meri and ex diplomat Eerik-Niyles Cross.
The company's financial statement shows EKR 8 mln (USD 720 thousand) earnings in 2007 that drastically rose to EKR 27.5 mln (nearly USD 2.5 mln) in 2008. The profit rose from EKR 4.3 mln (over USD 380 thousand) in 2007 to EKR 7.7 (nearly USD 700 thousand) in 2008. What's the reason for such a rapid growth of the consulting company hitherto unknown?
2008 Trustcorp statement prepared by Cross indicates considerable increase in demand for consulting services, particularly in South Caucasus and the Balkans. "These are regions that need expert assistance to solve issues and carry out reforms. Trustcorp managed to confirm its competence in the eyes of its customers", - the statement goes.
What kind of political issues did Trustcorp help Saakashvili to solve with a 70% rise of its turnover and a 50% increase in profit during the year of the Georgian-Ossetian war? Only 4% of Trustcorp proceeds were earned on the Estonian market while the other 96% come from Georgia, as Dv.ee reports.
It's easy to guess. The Estonian Coordination Bureau that until recently was headed by Cross before he started business activities was in charge of foreign intelligence, so this man's advice - purely military - is quite expensive.