Solway Investment Group (SIG), a Swiss mining and metals group, releases an update on the first results of the independent investigation conducted in Guatemala. The probe establishes that the company holds no Russian connection and has no relationship to Mayaniquel.
Shortly after the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two of SIG’s subsidiaries and two individuals in Guatemala as Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN’s”) under the Global Magnitsky Law, the Company’s board of directors decided to conduct an independent investigation on the allegations against its Guatemalan subsidiaries, which, in SIG’s understanding, led to the sanctions. The designation, which was also applied to another Guatemalan mining company, Mayaniquel, referenced unspecified potential acts of “corruption” involving Guatemalan government officials in aid of alleged Russian influence.
While the independent probe conducted by the United States law firm Seiden Law LLP and led by experienced and respected retired US government investigators, continues, its first phase has been completed and following conclusions can be shared.
This investigative conclusion is based on extensive interviews with the Solway ownership and executive management, review of corporate records and other data as well as interviews of numerous relevant witnesses.
1. Solway is Not Russian Owned, Controlled, Connected, or Influenced
It is clear that there is no evidence of Russian ownership or control of Solway and or its subsidiaries, or of any Russian influence on corporate decision making or benefit to Russian interests. The investigative report reveals that:
“no evidence has been found to date that they [the two SDN’s] did so as OFAC stated in its sanctions release, “in furtherance of Russian influence peddling schemes…for support for Russian mining interests.”
This investigative conclusion is contrary to the US Treasury OFAC press release of November 18, 2023, which appears to be based upon mistaken data. After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Solway sold off its only remaining asset inside Russia. Further, the investigative report makes it clear that Solway has and continues to support Ukraine and its citizens with humanitarian and financial aid.
Aleksander Bronstein and his son and current CEO Daniel Bronstein are not and have never been Russian citizens or passport holders. Aleksander is an Estonian citizen and Daniel is a citizen of Germany.
Excerpt from the investigative report:
Although there are connections between Solway, its founder, and Russian business entities and individuals, there is no evidence that Solway, its founder, or its shareholders were historically, or are currently, controlled or influenced by Russian entities and/or individuals in any way. No evidence has been found to date of any direct, indirect, hidden, beneficial or informal Russian private corporate, governmental entity or individual ownership interest in, or indicia of control over, Solway, CGN, or Pronico or any of its shareholders or executives.
2. Mayaniquel is not a subsidiary or in anyway connected to Solway or its subsidiaries
The investigation has made it clear that Solway and its subsidiaries have no connection to Mayaniquel (except for minimal business transactions involving sale of product in Guatemala in the past). This investigative conclusion is contrary to the OFAC press release.
Excerpt from the investigative report:
Mayaníquel and Pronico engaged in a purely commercial based relationship. Raznoimport, Solway’s trading arm that is used to buy and sell the product produced by CGN and Pronico in Guatemala, engaged in a purely commercial-based relationship with Mayaníquel. Reasonable intersections between the companies were found as follows: CGN and Mayaníquel combined to pay expenses for the cost of maintaining and repairing the common road from the mines utilized by the respective companies’ trucks; and (SDN) hired a former Mayaníquel Manager to work for CGN. To date, neither corporate registration, financial evidence or interviews of employees and company attorneys have identified that Mayaníquel’s relationship with Solway is that of “subsidiary.”
The final investigation report will be officially submitted to the United States Government soon.
Seiden Law LLP engaged the services of a highly reputed and experienced investigative firm headed by former FBI special agents. Their work included over 80 interviews in three countries and review of large amounts of data and intelligence from various sources and public databases. The interviews included dozens of current and former employees of the subsidiaries, as well as individuals within the broader Guatemalan mining sector, Guatemalan law enforcement, and individuals at Solway who were involved with the subsidiaries as well as the company’s ownership. SIG’s ownership and its executive management are being extremely cooperative and transparent.