Inga Springe and Graham Stack
for Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Network
Latvia, a country on the coast of the Baltic Sea and a former part of the Soviet Union, has been at the heart of a number of informal networks of companies fronted by proxies that laundered money for criminal groups. Last year, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project looked at some of these companies in its series called the Proxy Platform. The tiny country supplied both the proxies and the banks through which hundreds of millions of dollars travelled through.
And at the heart of many of these deals were two Latvian proxies: Erik Vanagels and Stan Gorin. Some of the hundreds of companies they represent, stretching from Panama to Eastern Europe, were involved in a series questionable or fraudulent businesses ranging from weapon shipments to Africa to Ponzi schemes. Their names are the calling cards of a deeper network.