The solar energy market in Ukraine has been stormed for the year with a scandal that could harm our country’s image in the eyes of international investors.
It would seem, what else could surprise potential foreign investors in the Ukrainian economy where the level of corruption, the dominance of dirty schemes and the arbitrariness of officials have no limits?!
It turns out, it can! And how!
The case for forensic aids
The history of the family clan of the swindlers Hamlet and Narek Tunyans is just the case that falls into the classic forensic textbooks. Marionetki.net, an investigative journalism agency, revealed how these two personages masterfully “lead by the nose” a whole branch of the economy, advertise themselves as producers, not being such, sign the doubtful contracts for supply of solar modules from abroad, receive prepayment in amount of hundreds of millions of dollars, and then either tightly cheat their customers without keeping the promise of supplying, or send goods with a significant delay, which entails huge losses for the Ukrainian solar industry.
“Major players” with a share capital of … 10 thousand
How, for all that, Hamlet Tunyan and Narek Tunyan do not bear any responsibility?
How do they manage to imitate the vigorous international activity in the field of production and supply of the best solar modules in the world, as they everywhere declare, without having either a production base or funds even for settlements with real manufacturers and suppliers?
Phenomenally, but within two years, their RECOM brand, woven from the air, has freely been the general sponsor of the CISOLAR Kyiv International Conference and Exhibition of Solar Energy in Central and Eastern Europe.
Thus, Hamlet Tunyan (according to the YouControl information and analytical platform data) is the 100% Cypriot founder of the Ukrainian company Recom Ukraine LLC with a registered capital of … 10 (!) thousand hryvnia (UAH). He is also the owner and director of the German company Recom AG.
Narek Tunyan is the director of Recom Ukraine LLC, the representative of a German company in Ukraine.
Both of them look like impressive young people, well-known and successful businessmen in expensive suits …
While the investigation agency Marionetki.net submits documents to law enforcement authorities to bring these persons to criminal responsibility under the Ukrainian law, we will publish their photographs in order to nullify the chances of entering into any contracts with them for the supply of any product – up to the basic buttons to shirts.
From this very moment, Hamlet and Narek should be driven away with a filthy broom from everywhere, until they compensate millions of material losses and bring public apologies to the their victims. Otherwise, their further business promotion in any country of the world will be impossible.
To begin with, we’ll give you a little information about the rapidly developing market of renewable energy in Ukraine, and then we will return to the story of the criminal adventures of Hamlet and Narek. Why is the solar business so attractive not only for businessmen, but also for fraudsters? The point is profitability and prospects. Within the period up to 2030 the Ukrainian legislation provides the investors with an incentive to develop renewable energy under fairly favorable conditions by setting a bonus in the form of a “green” tariff, which decreases every year, while the annual cost of electricity for consumers increases.
According to data of the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving, over the past five years about 2 billion euros have been invested in the renewable power industry.
As a matter of fact, due to the decrease independence from the Russian gas, Ukraine set itself a goal by 2020 to receive 11% of electricity just from renewable sources (sun and wind).
In experts opinion, for obtaining electricity from solar energy using a “green” tariff in such cities as Kyiv or Dnipro, the payback period for building a power plant makes from six to seven years, and in Odessa, Kherson, where there are more sunny days – four years.
Market participants cite the profitability figures of this business at the level of 15-17%.
Non-existent factories, offices and headquarters of Recom AG
Thus, as the investigative journalism found out, Recom AG is a ghost company that has neither production facilities nor advertised offices around the world.
Its official website, however, indicates something else: the offices are allegedly located in America, South Korea, Singapore, Cyprus and Greece, the factories are in France and Italy, and the headquarters – in Germany (Düsseldorf).
After the scandal with the Chinese (see below), information about the allegedly existing plant in China … disappeared from this site.
One of the first companies that had a carelessness to conclude an agreement for supply of solar modules with the “international” firm Recom was the Kharkiv representative office of the “Atmosfera” company (works in Kharkiv, Sumy, Poltava regions).
Its manager, Liudmyla Aldokhina, disclosed to the investigative jornalism agency the details of the deal, as a result of which “Atmosfera” had to buy equipment for the power plant for its money.
Attempts to make contact with the management of Recom AG resembled a detective story. Managers of the European offices stopped answering the calls, and then disappeared altogether …
According to Liudmyla, the first part of the solar panels batch came at the wrong time and their quality was not in compliance with the contract one. And the second part … was not delivered at all!
By offering its services, Recom AG convinced that it was a direct manufacturer of the modules, therefore the terms and conditions offered to the “Atmosfera” company at the first stage of cooperation could not be in doubt.
It was important for an investigative agency journalist to understand how a company with such a reputation and experience still got into the criminal clan’s network. It turned out, according to classics of the genre: the fraudsters had enjoyed the confidence and lulled vigilance.
In Kherson, Hamlet displayed himself at a full scale and … dissolved
Let’s go to the scam site and see what they offer to the world.
Among other things, it is indicated here that Recom AG “is one of the largest producers of photovoltaic modules in Europe, with manufacturing facilities in France, Italy (solar cells and panels) and Ukraine.” And also that the basis of their business is “high quality and financial reliability”.
Regarding the widely hyped-up activities of the Recom AG in Ukraine, the investigating agency checked the fulfillment by Hamlet Tunyan of the memorandum, which he signed with the governor of the Kherson region Andrii Hordeiev in October 2016.
The Ukrainian media have filed this event almost as the main investment project in the region.
Here are just a few catchy headlines in the Internet on this occasion.
…The below answer came from the Kherson Regional State Administration to our information request: Recom AG failed to build the power stations declared in the memorandum without providing the working group with the projects of these stations! For this reason, the agreement (memorandum) between the company Recom AG and the Kherson Regional State Administration has become invalid.
The Chinese, to whom Hamlet should over half a million dollars, are also shocked
An investigation of the circumstances of the contractual relationship with the “Sun Energy” LLC from Dnipro city revealed the fact that Hamlet Tunyan, not having its own production in China, tried to cheat not only the customer, but also the manufacturer of solar modules – the Chinese company DAH Solar.
In January 2018, “Sun Energy” LLC, a major operator of the Ukrainian solar energy market, signed a sale and purchase agreement with Recom AG (Düsseldorf), according to which the Ukrainian party became a Buyer of solar modules for amount of 840 thousand US dollars.
The customer made 100% prepayment, but he could not receive his goods in the port of Odessa within four months. The managers of the German Recom AG sent to the Ukrainian party … fake documents (bill of lading) to receive the goods.
What happened? That’s what happened! Being a reseller, Recom AG did not pay in time to a real supplier of solar modules, so it was in every possible way delaying the possibility of receiving goods by the customer in Ukraine.
“After signing the contract and making an advance payment for the goods, there were the signs of fraudulent behavior among the representatives of this company and the imposition of their dishonest “ game conditions ”, – said the director of “Sun Energy” LLC Yuliia Koshel to the investigation agency. – The parties exchanged scan copies, but Recom AG never provided the original of the contract with wet seals. Then «Sun Energy» LLC received a negative opinion of the products of Recom AG, the founder of which is the owner of the German company Recom AG Hamlet Tunyan. In this regard, we began to ask to show us a product sample and to confirm that the goods delivered to us will be of exactly the same quality as the sample. But it was not possible to get samples from the representatives of Recom AG. ”
Recom AG has repeatedly stated that the compnay is a manufacturer of goods and has its own factories for the panels manufacture, but later it became clear that this was not true.
“Sun Energy” LLC insists that in fact Recom AG does not have its own facilities, but acts as an intermediary (reseller) in this chain, having only the right to place its name on the products made by the Chinese manufacturers.
There is a certain mutual financial interest, according to which manufacturers provide an opportunity to place the name of Recom AG.
Then it became known the name of the panels manufacturer from China – Anhui Daheng Energy Technology Co., LTD, to the e-mail address of which the requests were sent asking them to sort out a situation of late delivery and to provide duly executed documents.
Soon an anonym from this company contacted the Ukrainian party through the social networks. He confirmed that Recom AG is their partner (namely, the buyer, exporter and shipper), that the originals of bills of lading are in their finance department and that Recom AG … owes them money for panels in the amount of 580 thousand US dollars.
Only after paying the debt to the Chinese party, Recom AG was able to get the original documents for further submission them to «Sun Energy» LLC.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian party was forced to pay the carrier company 60 thousand dollars for the four months demurrage of eleven containers, and 55 thousand dollars for downtime in the port of Odessa.
Now director Yuliia Koshel rather positively assesses the prospects for resolving the conflict with Recom AG in the Düsseldorf court, because all these four months Hamlet Tunyan used the other people’s money and caused her company serious material damage.
The Head of Solar Energy Association: “We’ll clarify a situation!”
The President of the Solar Energy Association of Ukraine Yurii Favorskyi expressed readiness to protect the aggrieved party from international level speculators. There were just his recommendations owing to which businessmen concluded contracts with Recom AG. International scam artists were so convincing that they were able to hold and inspire confidence in Mr. Favorskyi.
Here is what he said:
“Recom AG is rather known in the Ukrainian market. It has been working for a long time and is present at all events, conferences, exhibitions … In accordance with the goals and tasks performed by our Association, we are for the development of the entire solar market, but these are common words. As for the specifics, we protect the interests of our Association members.
For this purpose, among the founders of the Association there are owners of legal companies, who can bring the conversation of both parties into the plane of the paper and legal concepts. If there is a contract, the terms and conditions of which are not fulfilled, I agree with you that it is necessary to clarify a situation.
I met Mr. Hamlet Tunyan last year at their stand of the InterSolgar Exhibition. As to the issues of non-fulfillment of the terms of the contract with one of the companies, he assured me that all questions were removed.
– That is he confirmed that a situation of this kind occured?
– The answer was not about a particular situation, but in general. He assured that they would adjust everything. “
The unscrupulous actions of Hamlet and Narek had originally criminal intent
An investigative agency journalist met another RECOM fraud victim. In September 2017, this company entered into an agreement for the supply of solar modules with ZAS «ENERGOSERVICE» LLC.
According to the Director Anastasiia Popel, the delay in the supply of solar panels by the Recom AG was 4 months. All the same problems with the provision of original documents for the receipt of goods (bill of lading) occurred at the customs. As a result, “ZAS ENERGOSERVICE” LLC suffered losses for demurrage in the amount of almost 70 thousand dollars, and solar energy generation, which have not been received, amounted to about 1.5 million dollars. In the course of the investigation it was established that the unscrupulous actions of the representatives of the Tunyans family, Hamlet and Narek, had originally criminal intent.
Having deceived the customer presenting their company as a manufacturer, they used the money of “ZAS ENERGOSERVICE” LLC for settlements with the real manufacturer, obtaining in that way a profit that did not belong to them.
According to Anastasiia Popel, first Narek Tunyan promised to compensate for demurrage losses, but later he stopped picking up the phone.
The details of the interview with Anastasiia Poppel indicate that RECOM is more like an organized criminal group than a transparent and respected business.
Narek dissociates himself from a fraud and threatens the agency with a lawsuit
Mighty conversation took place at the chief editor of the investigation agency Artem Fliazhnykov with Narek Tunyan at the CISOLAR 2019 International Conference at the Hilton hotel on April 16.
The fact is that the RECOM is the CISOLAR 2019 GIGAWATT sponsor for the second year running. On that day, among other speakers from different countries, Narek Tunyan gave explanations to the legislation on holding auctions on the solar energy market and spoke a lot about the transparency of the actions of its participants.
A lawyer by education, Narek began to threaten the author of the investigation with lawsuits to the court: he said he was not a fraudster, and the solar modules still arrived in Ukraine, and that he almost ran after the victims with appeals to compensate them for the losses, but they allegedly did not want to meet him and take money from him. For his words he received a response from a journalist that he (Narek) would prove it to law enforcement officers within the framework of criminal proceedings opened against him.
The next day, at the CISOLAR 2019 Exhibition, Narek Tunyan received questions within his general interview and a suspicion from the investigation agency about the fraudulent actions of himself and his uncle Hamlet.
At the suggestion of journalists to give explanations or at least try to contradict avowedly, Mr. Tunyan denied a request.
AUTHOR: Artem Fliazhnykov
CAMERA: Maryna Vynohradova, Serhii Lavrusenko