Bulgaria’s Overgas Inc. might hide its beneficiaries through a network of BVI entities and nominal directors

This month, after the end of the Ukrainian-Russian gas conflict, deliveries of gas were restored to Bulgaria, and Bulgarian officials announced that they would still try to remove two middleman companies –  Overgas, Inc., and Wintershall Erdgas Handelshaus Zug AG (WIEE) – from the gas supply chain between Russia and Bulgaria. Their purpose is to deal directly with Gazprom Export, a fully owned subsidiary of Gazprom. Formerly, the head of Gazprom Export argued that these companies were not middlemen but suppliers.

Wintershall has been a close partner of Gazprom for many years. Overgas, Inc., however, is a more complex structure. According to the Overgas Annual Report for 2007,   Gazprom owns 0.49 percent of the company, Gazprom Export 49.51 percent, and the London-based Overgas Holdings, Ltd, 50 percent. The chairman of the board of Overgas, Inc., is Alexander Medvedev who is also the head of Gazprom Export, the company that technically sells Gazprom’s gas to Overgas. Bulgarian law apparently does not regard this as a conflict of interest.

Overgas Holdings, Ltd, known as DDI Holdings, Ltd, the 50% owner of Overgas, Inc., was first registered in 1999 under the name Energy Consultants, Ltd, according to the registration certificate. The shareholders of DDI Holdings are now listed as British Virgin Islands-registered corporation South Eastern European Energy, Limited. It was impossible however to identify the names of company’s principles due to BVI confidentiality laws. According to an Internet search report dated February 5, 2008, the ultimate holding company of DDI Holdings, Ltd is another company, DDI Management, JSC, based in Bulgaria. There is the possibility that this complex web of holding companies and BVI-registered corporations with nominal directors may be used by Overgas, Inc. to hide the identities of the real beneficiaries of the company.

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