Idag tycks företaget Ocean Trawlers som ägs av svensken Magnus Roth och ryssen Vitalij Orlov inte på något sätt vara inblandade i tveksamt fiske. Men historien är en helt annan. Sogra, ett Murmanskbaserat bolag som kontrolleras av de två nämnda herrarna har en trålare som heter Izumrud. Den har tidigare varit norsk. 2002 dömdes bolaget Sogra till böter för illegalt fiske med Izumrud:
The Russian fishing company Sogra was convicted of illegal fishing and was fined several millions. During the trial it came to light that Sogra was cooperating with a Norwegian fishing company, Ocean Trawlers of Drøbak. Sogra leased “Izumrud” from Ocean Trawlers. The trial also uncovered that “Izumrud” used advanced computer software to hide illegal fishing. The software was both in Norwegian and Russian versions.
When journalists were allowed to board “Izumrud” during the court’s inspection, Ytreberg discovered that all of the ship’s equipment, machinery, instruments etc. had signs in Norwegian. The Russian crew had packed the fish in crates marked with the name of the Norwegian company Ocean Trawlers. And several of the ship’s officers were obviously Norwegian, even though they would not reveal their names.
Ytreberg wanted to find out more about Ocean Trawlers. The company and its owners had received very little attention from the public, even though Ocean Trawlers had the highest turnover of any fishing company in Norway at the time. Along with NRK, three or four newspapers had printed a modest number of articles about Ocean Trawlers’ phenomenal growth from nothing to a turnover of NOK 1.5 billion in only a few years. In a market environment where virtually all other large companies in the Norwegian fishing industry were solidly in the red, Ocean Trawlers’ enormous success was sensational, to say the least.
Ocean Trawlers tyck ha varit den främst köparen av illegalt fångad fisk men formellt inte delaktigt i själva tjuvfisket:
When we began filming the ships, Ocean Trawlers subsidiary Ocean Management had management contracts with 12 Russian registered ships, according to Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. According to their financial statements, Ocean Holding owned six of these ships. Conversations with sources in Ocean, or with connections to Ocean, revealed that the company had management contracts with ten more ships.
We got hold of several agreements and contracts with Russian fishing companies entered into by Ocean Holding through a conglomerate of subsidiaries. By leasing out the ships, the Ocean Holding subsidiaries disclaimed all liability for what the ships were doing at sea. At the same time, through management contracts, Ocean Trawlers obtained selling rights to considerable parts of the Russian cod quotas for several years, in some cases up to ten years. In one of the contracts, a Russian fishing company gave up selling rights to cod worth NOK 400 million as payment with interest for a ship worth about NOK 40 million. A former Norwegian diplomat described these agreements as “Ocean Trawlers’ serf contracts with Russian fishing companies”.
This double set of contracts made the Russian companies solely liable for illegal fishing, while Ocean Holding through its subsidiaries traded in, and had selling rights to, the possibly illegally caught fish.
Det verkar alltså som om Roth och Orlov precis som så många andra storföretagare i vitfiskbranschen (vitfisk=torsk, pollock, kummel, hoki, kolja, sej etc) från början skaffat sig rikedom genom mycket tveksamma affärer. Detta om uppgifterna från de norska journalisterna stämmer. Något formellt brott tycks inte Ocean Trawlers ha gjort sig skyldiga till. Samma ska gäller ju också John Fredriksen med stora intressen i fiskodling och Kjell-Inge Røkke som kontrollerar Norges största fiskeriföretag (och som också startade USA:s största fiskeriföretag, American Seafoods), Havfisk ASA (tidigare Aker Seafoods ASA). Ocean Trawlers var precis om Røkke och Fredriksen tidigare aktiva med Norge som bas. Förutom Orlov och Roth var ytetrligare en man i Ryssland starkt knuten till Ocean Trawlers verksamhet. Nämligen Alexander Tugushev:
A number of Russian sources, both journalists and people in the Russian fishing industry, told us of the Russian fishing company magnate and civil servant Alexander Tugushev, and his importance to Ocean Trawlers’ business in Russia. Tugushev was the former owner of the companies to which Ocean Trawlers was selling or leasing out ships. In Murmansk we discovered that all of these companies had offices in the same building, along the same hallway. Russian tax authority sources told us that Tugushev still owned these companies through front men.
Just after we left Russia, Russian television aired a story on Tugushev’s connections with Ocean Trawlers. This strengthened our belief that we were on the right track. We gradually concentrated our focus on Tugushev’s connections with Ocean Trawlers. The most obvious connection was through the ship “Sapphire 2” and the fishing company “Red Banner”, so we gave priority to our work with this company and ship. The story of “Red Banner”s cooperation with Ocean Trawlers also showed another consequence of illegal fishing: Law-abiding Russian fishermen and fishing communities feel that enormous values are taken from them because of overfishing.
Following Tugushev’s arrest on June 2nd 2004, we made contact with sources inside the Russian special police force against corruption, which led the investigation against Tugushev. After much persuasion we were given police photos from the investigation and arrest, but perhaps more importantly, a set of documents seized by the police during their search of Tugushev’s office. These documents prove that there are close ties between Tugushev, who has been charged with corruption, and Ocean Trawlers as well as other Norwegian companies.
Alexander Tugushev fälldes år 2007 för utpressning och förskringring. Han fick 6 års fängelse, men friades vad det gällde anklagelser om mutor. Tre medåtalade fick fem och ett halvt år i fängelse. Alexander Tugushev har förutom att vara statlig fiskeritjänsteman också varit direktör i Murmansk Trawl Fleet 3. Ett av de fiskeriföretag som Roth och Orlov kontrollerat. Sannolikt har han också varit med i ledningen för hela Murmansk Trawl Fleet.
Förutom Izumrud har misstänktes också ett annat fartyg som kontrollerades av Ocean Trawlers för tjuvfiske. Nämligen Kapitan Gromtsev som fördes till Tromsø år 2004 som misstänkt för illegalt fiske.
Även om Ocean Trawlers numera har sitt fiske MSC-märkt så har minst en av deras båtar för inte så länge sen misstänkts för olagliga metoder vid fiske. Så sent som 2010 misstänktes Izumrud för att ha dumpat fisk. Om båten eller dess kapten då fick böter är oklart.
Ursprungligen publicerat på Svensson-bloggen.