Vitali Fishman- ‘Arms Dealer Extraordinaire

waziri2020

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May 31, 2019
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In our continuing coverage of illegal arms dealing in Africa, Vitali Fishman's name keeps popping up. As stated in our last article (link to initial article put here) Mr. Fishman was involved with the Credit Suisse-Mozambique 'Debt Scandal' and allegedly was the key 'Bagman' who gave bribes to the tune of millions of USD to senior Mozambique government officials in a bogus fraudulent scheme whereby employees of Credit-Suisse facilitated 2 Billion USD in illegal unsecured loans to the state-owned Mozambique Tuna Company (Ematum). (Mozambique’s former Finance Minister and three ex-employees of Credit-Suisse were all issued US Federal criminal indictments over the affair).

During our investigation of the ‘Debt Scandal’ it was revealed that Vitali Fishman has been involved in numerous arms dealings in several African hotspots and has (through proxies) even provided weapons and equipment to UN Peacekeeping Forces on the Continent. An Islamist insurgency in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado broke into major warfare over the past few weeks with reports of massacres, beheadings and the brief seizure of two towns.

Vitali Fishman (shown in a photograph below) is now vying for weapons contracts that will support troops who will deployed to the Cabo Delgado region under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) security committee.

The SADAC Security Committee met recently (on May 20) in Harare to discuss the worsening situation in Northern Mozambique and all countries will commit troop deployments to assist Mozambique in its battle against the insurgents. In attendance at the meeting were the Presidents of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe South Africa and Mozambique and several respective government Ministers.

The fact that major energy companies Total and Exxon Mobil and Total are developing offshore natural gas projects in the waters off of northern Mozambique coupled with the insurgency, only heightens the economic stakes and profits for Vitali Fishman.

The US Federal criminal indictments on the Credit Suisse-Mozambique ‘Debt Scandal’ in 2019 listed “Mozambican Co-Conspirator 1, an individual whose identity is known to the Grand Jury, was involved in obtaining the Mozambican government's approval of the Proindicus project”.

We highly suspect that “Mozambican Co-Conspirator 1” was in fact a senior Mozambique Government Minister with strong ties to Vitali Fishman. This along with the near certain fact (as we wrote in our last article) that Vitali Fishman was the unnamed defendant number 12 in the same indictment. The connection between Mr. Fishman and other unnamed defendants in this case only exemplifies the level of corruption in developing African countries.

(Link to the official US Federal indictment: www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/file/1150716/download)

It was previously reported by our team of Journalists that Vitali Fishman has “been involved in numerous defense contracts using Israeli and Russian security technology to third party clients as well as scores of his dubious business dealings in Belarus with the support of the Belarus government”.

Further investigations have confirmed that Mr. Fishman has raised the ire of senior ranking Belarus military officials because he has bypassed the usual chain of command and had defense contracts approved without the prior knowledge of the Belarus Ministry of Defense.

Add this to the damning points that Vitali Fishman has personal certification to export weapons and systems from Rosoboronexport the official state agency for Russia's exports and imports of defense-related and dual use products, technologies and services. He also has links to the FSB, Russia’s primary intelligence service that came into being after the demise of the KGB.

According to a reliable source in the Belarus Ministry of Defense (who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of this story) Vitali Fishman is suspected of being an ‘Asset’ for the Russian government and it’s for this reason that senior Belarus military officers view him with great suspicion. The same source informed us that Mr. Fishman (an Israeli national) had recently received Belarus citizenship and a passport which, because he currently holds an Israeli passport, is illegal in Belarus due to local laws which do not allow for dual-citizenship for Belarus nationals.

In an apparent logistical maneuver Mr. Fishman officially renounced his Israeli citizenship at the Israeli embassy in Minsk to satisfy local Belarus duo-nationality laws. Then after receiving his new Belarus passport he then rescinded his renunciation of Israeli citizenship and received a new Israeli passport. Based on these facts one can only surmise that Vitali Fishman’s contacts in the Belarus government and at the Israeli embassy in Minsk reach the highest levels.

Mr. Fishman has also reportedly provided arms for warring factions in African countries such as Mali (where he allegedly provided arms for French and Canadian forces under MINUSA- The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) as well as arming the terrorist group Boko Harem in Nigeria at the same time.

His activities have also brought him unwanted attention from the Tax Authority of Israel where he is being investigated for “undeclared income from business activities he earned in Eastern Europe and Africa” according to an unnamed source in the Israeli government. Indeed, Israeli arms dealers in Africa seem to be involved in some way or another in multiple conflict zones in Africa but none is as wealthy or ruthless as Vitali Fishman.

This brings us to the point that questions have to be asked- How is it possible with all the controversy surrounding Vitali Fishman that he is still able to pursue weapons contracts openly with the upcoming SADC deployment in Northern Mozambique?

And how, especially after the Credit Suisse-Mozambique 'Debt Scandal’, is Mr. Fishman still able to operate in Mozambique with the patronage of senior government officials ? The answer is simple. In Vitali Fishman’s world ‘Cash is King’ and given the ongoing scandals and political strife in Mozambique it looks like Mr. Fishman has found a new kingdom to play in.

His involvement with the proposed upcoming SADC deployment in that country as well as the huge profits he made in the Credit Suisse-Mozambique 'Debt Scandal’ at the expense of the Mozambique people, are facts that cannot be ignored. Mr. Fishman is extremely successful in his business and at what he does. For this reason, we would like to crown him as ‘Arms Dealer Extraordinaire’.

It is a title that he would probably be proud to hold. But as we continue our coverage of Mr. Fishman be rest assured that his illegal exploits and the immense damage he brings to Africa, are now in the public domain for all to see. It’s only thorough reporting and brave sources that will allow us to continue to fully unravel Vitali Fishman’s web of illegal arms dealings and bribery to government officials such has happened in Mozambique and other African countries.

Hopefully, this media coverage will motivate the governments of Africa to deem Vitali Fishman, (and others like him), as ‘persona non gratis’ and criminally prosecute him in their own countries. It is the only way to stop the scourge of corruption in Africa. There is no other alternative.

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