Moldova’s government terminates concession contract for Chisinau airport

By bne IntelliNews July 14, 2020

The Public Property Agency (APP) of Moldova has terminated the contract with Avia Invest regarding the concession of Chisinau International Airport due to its non-compliance with the investment commitments.

Earlier this year, the government in Chisinau attempted to terminate the contract with Avia Invest citing overdue payments to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), but Avia Invest paid the due debt. It is relevant that Cyprus-based offshore company Komaksavia Airport Invest, the owner of Avia Invest, opened a request for arbitration in Stockholm in May, requesting compensation of €885mn or $970mn. The case was filed, however, based on insolvency requests, which have been settled meanwhile.

The decision was made in connection with the fact that Avia Invest "did not execute the contractual obligations, accumulating arrears in terms of investments of around €66.2mn". APP requested the return of the goods taken under the concession.

In April, APP sent a preliminary notice to the concessionaire, granting a period of 60 days, during which the company was to provide a valid guarantee of proper execution of the concession contract.

The managers of Avia Invest stated at a recent press conference that "the company fulfils its investment obligations in accordance with the 2013 concession plan and contract".

"The company has invested over €90mn in airport infrastructure. All the opinions expressed in this regard by APP are absurd and made either out of ignorance or under political pressure," the concessionaire said.

Since 2016, Komaksavia Airport Invest has owned 95% of Avia Invest, the company that won the 49-year concession contract for Chisinau International Airport in August 2013.

The Cyprus-based offshore company has undeclared owners, but increasingly more pieces of evidence support the idea that the final beneficiaries are former Democratic Party leader Vlad Plahotniuc and businessman Ilan Shor, both of them fugitive since pro-Russian President Igor Dodon formed own parliamentary majority last June and overthrew Plahotniuc’s PM Pavel Filip (who has since become Dodon’s new political ally).

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