Arctic Sea: seizure by a millionaire?

Arctic Sea docked in France

The brief is that this 'hijacking' was part of a cover meant to save the Kremlin embarrassment. The fall guy seems to be a Latvian of Russian descent Dmitri Savino Mālpils.

Dmitry Savin, or Dmitri Savino Mālpils (Dmitrijs Savins on the passport), attributed the organization of the corporation owning the phantom vessel Arctic Sea to The Latvian Aquaship Ltd . Dmitris Savins, a resident of Latvia, was the chairman of a tanker company Pakri Tankers - a subsidiary of a larger Estonian company Alexela Logistics. Savin, apparently, is still one of the owners and other firms Juhtimise Partnerid, also associated with Alexela Logistics. Moreover, a couple of years ago the Savin firm rented office at the former coordinator of intelligence in Estonia Eerik-Niylesa Cross.

Savin has told investigators that he was hired by Vladimir Yarovoi, a Russian he described as a wealthy businessman. According to Savin, Yarovoi was setting up an environmental group called GreenHouse and wanted him to monitor waste dumping in the Baltic. Savin says he was promised ¤4,000 a month. Extensive efforts to find Yarovoi have failed. It remains unclear if he exists.“Dmitry was always well paid, said Savin’s wife Gunta. “He used to get about 4000 euros a month and his work was always linked to the sea. Recently he was constantly looking for a job. I have no idea how he ended up on the Arctic Sea but it’s absurd to think that he could have taken a ship hostage. He’s very responsible.”

The last position of the 34 y.o. Dmitry Savin was a freight operator in Tallinn, Estonia. Before that, between 2002 and 2005, he lived in the Netherlands with his wife. He had a certificate of captain’s mate and appropriate education; all of his jobs were connected with the sea and well paid, according to his spouse Gunta. The local police officer told the paper that Dmitry liked show off with good cars. The economic crisis, family matters and the fate of business of his dying mother made him last year to come home from Estonia. Dmitry’s stepfather inherited a bakery, and Dmitry got a network of three stores. However, he could not stay long at home as he has always been interested in the sea, according to Gunta. She says she does not know how Dmitry appeared on board of the Arctic Sea. She only knew that her husband was seeking a new job through the Internet. On July 18, he and Vitaly left Latvia in a rented bus, but Dmitry’s wife says she has no knowledge of any details. The husband called her very shortly on August 17, when the cargo vessel was followed by the Russian warship. Dmitry was not calling from his own telephone and he said he did not know what would be their further fate.

Dmitrijs Savins or Dmitri Savin, who’s suspected in hijacking cargo vessel Arctic Sea is tightly connected with businessman Heiti Hääl, Äripaev reports. Savin was chairperson of Pakri Tankers in 2005-2008. It belonged to Alexela Logistics and is now being liquidated. He still is one of the owners of Juhtimise Partnerid, which has a holding in Alexela Logistics. “Savin came to work through contest from a big European shipping company. The company freighted big oil chemistry tankers and ended operating in the end of last year,” Hääl said. Pakri Tankers was transporting liquid chemistry and oil products. The company offered work to 9 people, in 2008 Savin got salary of more than EEK 1 mln. However, the company had loss of EEK 21 mln in 2008 and the loss amounted to EEK 39 mln in 2008. Mismanagement or money problems appeared when liquidating Pakri Tankers. “We got plenty of questions during liquidating the company and we haven’t got answers,” Hääl said. He added that former employer has pretension against Savin, but they haven’t been able to contact him during past 7 months. He didn’t say how big is the amount and what it’s for.

On August 2, 2009, the purported owner of Arctic Sea, Victor Matveev says he was contacted on a satellite phone by a man speaking fluent English, whose voice was altered with a scrambler.“It was clear I was speaking to a criminal,” he recalled. “I didn’t link it to the Arctic Sea and slammed the phone down. We soon realised it had come from the Arctic Sea .” Later, Solchart’s operations manager phoned Matveev. The same man had called, he said, to say he would shoot a crew member if Matveev refused to speak to him. In the next call the man is said to have threatened Matveev’s daughter, Katya, who works in Solchart’s Helsinki office.He claimed the ship had been taken over by a group of 25 “soldiers” and was in the hands of a big organisation out to demonstrate its power. He also warned that he had accomplices monitoring Matveev’s family. The alleged Finnish shipowner immediately sent them to Moscow.

The caller is believed to have been Dmitry Savin, one of the alleged pirates. An ethnic Russian from Latvia , Savin, 34, who was known on board as “Alpha”, had been employed until early this year by a large Estonian corporation as head of an oil and chemicals shipping venture. With him on board was Vitaly Lepin, his half-brother, who previously worked as a cook. “We had no reason to question Savin’s background and he did his job properly until eight months ago when we began to have several questions of a financial nature,” said a spokesman for his former employer. “We wound up the company he ran and decided against starting a criminal investigation against him because it was too time-consuming.”

Matveev and the man thought to be Savin spoke dozens of times during the crisis, but both 'Russians' always stuck to English.During another call, a recording of which is thought now to be with investigators – the Arctic Sea caller demanded a 1.5 million euro ransom from Matveev. “He never named the total figure, just told me that 60,000 for each “soldier” seemed reasonable. He never got into the details of how this money should be paid. I got the impression that he had no clear plan and was making it up as he went along. He seemed unsure of what do to next. It was strange as I was always under the impression that I was in control, not him.” The same scrambled English voice also called the ship’s Russian insurer, and threatened to start killing the crew members unless a 1.5 million euro ransom was paid.

The suspect on the ship "Arctic Sea" kidnapping detained Latvian citizens Vitāliju Lepins and Dmitri Savino Mālpils described as orderly and honest people in the family, today announces the newspaper "Latvian Newspaper.. Two Latvian citizens, who together with another six men accused of kidnapping citizens of Russia and the pirates Mālpils half living relatives. They claimed to know nothing, as Lepins and projectiles landed on the seized ship, and the version does not believe in piracy.

Entrepreneur Gunta Ozolina, after contacts with Moscow, hired the attorney Egon Rusanovs.. Her husband Dmitry Savino has been detained on suspicion of hijacking the cargo ship "Arctic Sea"

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