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In September of 2009, the Spanish newspaper EL MUNDO published the article “A Russian Couple Suspected of Money Laundering for Teodoro Obiang” (“Investigan a una pareja de rusos por lavar dinero para Teodoro Obiang”), in reference to an alleged investigation by Spanish anti-corruption authorities of a Russian couple residing in Spain.

According to Russian government source, RAPSI (the Legal Information Agency), in April of 2012, Moscow’s Lublisky City Court ordered El MUNDO to refute its allegations published in the article concerning Vladimir and Yulia Kokorev and to publish on its web site a refutation of the false information.

RAPSI confirms that it had been established during the hearings that the Spanish authorities did not have any claims whatsoever against Vladimir Kokorev and his wife and that the alleged “laundered” funds were received by Vladimir Kokorev in accordance with signed agreements between Vladimir Kokorev’s company, Kalunga, and the government of Equatorial Guinea for the repairs and maintenance of a number of shipping vessels.

On April 28, 2012, just two weeks after the Russian court had handed down its ruling, El Pais, another Spanish newspaper, published a strikingly similar article to the one published by El Mundo titled “Uncovered the Front-Men of Obiang’s Family” (“Destapados Testaferros del Clan Obiang”) on its front page.

Media outlets Pravda, Odnako and the Russian Consulate in Equatorial Guinea attribute the media attack on the Kokorev’s as a means to serve certain financial speculators and to destabilize the diplomatic relationships between Spain and Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich African country and former Spanish colony, where Vladimir Kokorev’s shipping business was based. The same publications also suggest – quoting an anonymous source - that the journalist signing the EL PAIS article, José María Irujo, is also an employee of the Spanish National Intelligence Agency (CNI).

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