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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

ARE RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS OPERATING MINES IN LIBERIA? AS PRES. WEAH’S INTEREST IN SOLWAY RAISES EYEBROWS

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LIBERIA – The soccer star turned President has caused controversy by his admittance that he has an interest in the Solway Mining Company because of its co-Liberian ownership.

At the just-ended cabinet retreat in Nimba County, the Liberian President admits he has an interest in Solway Mining Company.

Addressing Nimba citizens on the sideline of the cabinet retreat, President George Weah said Solway was co-owned by a Liberian and an Indian; and that the Liberian was his family who and him stayed and slept in the same room.

President George Weah did not name the Liberian but added that it was good that ArcelorMittal and Solway were holding discussions on ways to find solutions to their misunderstanding.

There has been controversy about the granting of an exploration license to Solway by the Liberian Government.

The Ministry of Mines granted Solway the right to explore mounts Mbelle and Detton in which ArcelorMittal is also claiming ownership.

The Liberian government is desperately in need of funds and it would explore every available avenue to keep afloat.

But a local newspaper has said it has investigated and found out Solway’s real ownership; and that there’s little known about its  Liberian ownership. Mr. Boimah Alford Morgan is listed as the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and Theo Dennis as Comptroller.

The report says while President Weah presents the owners of Solway as Liberians, it investigation in 2020 revealed that the company is being bankrolled by a Russian multi-billionaire, Aleksandr Bronstein, who has strong ties to the inner circle of Russian President, Vladmir Putin, including Alexey Mordashov, owner of the failed Putu Mining Operations in Liberia.

It quoted the Russian publication, Kommersant.ru, as revealed in 2020 that the Solway Group is run by the Estonian oligarch, Aleksandr Bronstein, and his son, Dan Bronstein.

Aleksandr Bronstein, according to the publication is a business magnate who founded Solway Investment in 2002, after chairing the board of directors of Siberian-Urals Aluminum Company, Russian bauxite, and aluminum producer that merged in 2007 with its main competitor in the country, Rusal, and Swiss trader Glencore.

Said the report: “Aleksandr Bronstein has also been the head of several mining companies, after starting his career at Estonia’s Ministry of Forestry and Environment. He is reputedly well-connected in the business and political world of both Estonia and Russia. Born in St. Petersburg to a family that left Russia to escape anti-Semitism, Aleksandr Bronstein is heavily involved in philanthropic activities for the Jewish community and has served as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress.”

The report states that Solway Investment’s arrival in Liberia marked its return to the African continent, as the company has held interests in Kaminex, which owns copper permits in the DRC. “The Liberian subsidiary has been run since last November by Morgan Alford Warmiller, who previously worked in import-export to Liberia and neighboring countries such as Ivory Coast, notably for EU Commodities and West Africa Rubber Traders.

Several other employees of the company, including geologists and executive director, Ben Davies, worked for Aureus Mining when the company operated the New Liberty gold mine in Liberia. Galia Nezhinsky, a crisis communication specialist, oversees part of the group’s public relations.”

This latest discovery undermines President Weah’s credibility by his statement in Nimba about his relationship with Solway. Political analysts say President Weah’s interest in Solway is ill-advised because it is an impeachable offense under the laws of Liberia.

Sources told Smart News that the Liberian leader’s exposure of his relationship with Solway was deliberate and solely intended to allegedly mislead the Americans who are helping Ukraine fight against its invasion by Russia.

The European Union and the United States have sanctioned Russia and the people associated with it. Our sources insist that by putting his image on the line, the Liberian President was attempting to avoid a reaction from the Americans who are looking out for Russian interest around the world.

smartnews
Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet, a product of Smart Media Group Inc. smartnewsliberia.com publishes a wide range of content including politics, business, sports, and entertainment on and about Liberia. Contact: +231777425285/ 886946925 Email: info@smartnewsliberia.com/ smartnewsliberia@gmail.com

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