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Mysterious Hungarian energy trader tied to exotic partners

On-going inquiries into the dealings of energy company MET Holding AG, have exposed extensive ties to offshore businesses, as well as to companies in Portugal, and even to a relative of the Angolan president. This puts MET in a direct relationship with what is considered to be one of the most corrupt families on earth.

Met Holding AG is the former energy trading division of Hungary’s MOL, a listed blue chip firm, and one of the biggest Hungarian companies with multinational interests.

Read more about Met here.

Atlatszo.hu has been keeping an eye on the mysterious company which came to our attention most recently for its possible ties to Angola, via a relatively newly formed Swiss company, Erigo Schweiz AG. The firm is registered at the same address as Met’s main office and the Hungarian company’s chief executive is its deputy chairman. However, Met’s own public records make no mention of the Swiss business.

Press inquiries have revealed that Met is 40% owner of Erigo Schweiz AG. The other owner is a Maltese firm, Lagoon Gas & Oil Holding Ltd, about which we couldn’t find any definitive information. Lagoon’s interest does, however, indicate that there is a clear link between Met and Portugal, given that the Maltese firm delegated Manuel Joaquim Dias Loureiro as executive. Dias Loureiro held a number of serious government jobs, but had to stand down after the BPN scandal that cost Portuguese taxpayers a fortune. Other managers at the bank have since been formally charged, something that Dias Loureiro has avoided. Nevertheless, his name is frequently linked to these events.

Lagoon’s other delegate to Erigo Schweiz is even more interesting. Tito Luis Perdigao Abrantes Zuzarte de Mendonca, or Tilucho for short, is a relative of the Angolan president.

Angola is a former Portuguese colony, hence bilateral trade relations are to this day very strong. While the West African country benefited in the past from its Portuguese ties, the roles have in many cases been reversed, and the oligarchs close to President Dos Santos frequently locate their money in Portuguese investments. These people have generally obtained their wealth from natural gas, oil and the diamond trade, Angola being rich in natural resources.

President Dos Santos has a large family, all of whom play integral roles in state companies or hold positions in companies which promote Angolan economic interests and, even more importantly, the interests of the Dos Santos family. Perhaps most notable is his daughter, Isabela dos Santos, who was last year named the richest African woman with wealth totallng $3.2 billion. A Forbes article also exposed her as the most corrupt woman in the continent. She has apparently benefited extensively from having a say in how business is done in the country, as it competes with Nigeria to become the biggest oil producing nation on the continent, while 70% of its population have to make do with less then two dollars a day.

To underline the extent of the corruption in Angola, the International Monetary Fund released a report in 2011 stating that some $32 billion of oil revenues in the preceding three years had simply vanished.

Article in Hungarian by Márton Sarkadi Nagy

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