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Polish fruit traders

Poland

Several recipients of Laundromat money in Poland appear to be distributors of fruits and vegetables in Eastern Europe, including Belarus and Russia.

These include Samkir, which received $32,000; Sell Buy, which received $11,830; Polfrut Cooperative, which received $40,000; and Intertrade JMMG, which received $50,013.

A source in Sell Buy identified the possible source of these transactions. He recalled that in 2013, his contractor, Agil Muradov, visited Poland, bought an order of apples, and shipped them to St. Petersburg, Russia, where his brother works as an apple seller. Shortly after this transaction, Sell Buy was paid on Muradov’s behalf by Westburn, a Laundromat company (though the purpose of the transaction was listed as “payment for computer spare parts”). Sell Buy is a legitimate company that has been selling fruits and vegetables to Russia and Belarus for nearly 30 years.

Samkir is another Eastern European fruit seller, though it seems to have been much more short-lived and far less successful. It was a one-man business established in 2012 by Rauf Mammadov, an Azerbaijani citizen living in Poland. Mammadov’s accountant, Monika S., recalled that the company “barely existed” on the market and collapsed soon after being established. Samkir never had its own address, using his accountant’s office address instead. Shortly after receiving its $32,000 Laundromat transfer from Kenovetco Ltd., the business closed. In February 2015, Mammadov’s accountant settled a dispute with him over his debt to her of 2000 zloty (about $500). Afterwards, Mammadov disappeared. Since March of 2015, the registry court has been searching for him to collect a 1,000 zloty ($250) penalty for failure to file change of address information.

Polfrut Cooperative was another troubled fruit seller that received Laundromat money. According to a financial report from the business registry, the company got into dire financial straits in 2013, at which point they received a Laundromat transfer from Westburn in the amount of $40,000 (with the purpose listed as “payment for construction materials”). The company was declared bankrupt in July 2016. Several of Polfrut’s board members seem to have had problems with the company. In May 2014, Alexandra S. was expelled from the board for “irregularities in sales documentation.” Another former board member, Miroslaw O., said only that Polfrut had “robbed him,” declining to explain the Westburn transfers. The company’s former president did not return phone calls.

Intertrade JMMG, established in 2001, also sold fruits and vegetables in Poland and to other Eastern European countries, though its registered activity also included sales of building materials. Though the Laundromat, the company received $50,013 in August 2013, listed as “payment for construction materials,” though it did not disclose any sale of building materials in its 2013 annual reports. When asked about the transaction, a manager expressed surprise and promised to check on the details - but could not be reached thereafter.