Politico reveals Gay Mitchell’s representations to the EU on behalf of a Ukrainian military dealer.
“Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell made a representation to the EU Commission in 2009 on behalf of a controversial Ukrainian aviation businessman who supplied Congolese armed forces with military aircraft. The businessman is attempting to reclaim planes confiscated by Ukraine’s government in 2001.
Of 76 submissions made by Mr. Mitchell to the EU Commission and Council since 2009, this is the only one made on behalf of an active private company. While no suggestion arises that Mr. Mitchell acted improperly in making the submission, perhaps unwittingly, Mr. Mitchell advocated on behalf of a Ukrainian citizen implicated in transfers of military equipment to African war zones. Mr Mitchell has not replied to questions on the matter put by Politico several weeks ago.
East/West Alliance, the “Dublin-based” company to which Mr. Mitchell refers, is a brass-plate company with no staff in Ireland. The company has no office at the Ranelagh address to which it is registered. The company’s listed bank account is an offshore account in Parex Bank in Riga, Latvia.
Hugh Griffiths, an arms trafficking and aviation expert at Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in an interview: “It is deeply ironic that European officials are pressuring the Ukraine to return cargo planes to someone involved in transfers of conflict-sensitive materials to African war zones. The planes, if released to Liovin by Ukraine, would seem destined to be used by, or sold to, actors in African conflicts with poor human rights records.””