How A Spanish Scam Artist Punk'd The Ukraine For $1.1 Billion

Tyler Durden's picture

A snapshot of (quite amusing) "New Normal" dealmaking in the insolvent continent.

From OilPrice:

Ukraine Crushed in $1.1bn Fake Gas Deal

Certainly the folks at Gazprom are having a good snicker, reveling in the mockery that has been made of what should have been a landmark Ukraine-Spain gas deal that would have loosened Russia’s gas grip on Kiev.

Everyone wondered how Russia would respond to Ukraine’s attempt at gas independence. But this is what happens when you mess with Gazprom.

It was a horrible moment for Ukraine on Monday—all the more horrible because the whole event was televised—when the historical $1.1 billion deal it was about to sign with Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa turned out to be fake.

Why was the deal historical? It would have secured $1.1 billion in investment for the construction of Ukraine’s first liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Black Sea and a pipeline connecting the country’s vast gas network to the terminal.   

More to the point, this would enable Ukraine to import by tanker up to 10 billion cubic meters of European gas at a price 20% cheaper than Gazprom. Even more to the point, it would be a major first step toward reducing Ukraine’s dependence on Russia.

The deal was that investors had apparently signed agreements through a newly formed consortium for the construction of the $1.1 billion LNG terminal.

Here’s how the ill-fated signing ceremony went down:

While Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko were cutting the ribbon on the construction of the terminal in a live televised ceremony, the country’s investment chief, Vladislav Kaskiv, was attending the official investment signing ceremony elsewhere, also via live video feed. This is where walls caved in very suddenly.   

Signing on behalf of Fenosa was one Jordi Sarda Bonvehi. At the 11th hour, Fenosa let it be known that they have no idea who Bonvehi is and that he certainly does not represent the company in any way. Fenosa apparently had no idea it was signing a landmark agreement with Ukraine.

Kiev was necessarily taken aback, and Bonvehi remained conveniently silent at the signing ceremony once the news broke out. 

Of course, what no one knows is how Ukrainian authorities were led to believe—during multiple rounds of negotiations—that Bonvehi was a Fenosa representative.

The story being bandied about by authorities in Kiev is now that Bonvehi was under the impression that Fenosa would sign the deal with Ukraine and that he would be given the authority to sign the deal retroactively.

But Fenosa denies it has ever considered such a deal and continues to deny any relationship at all with Bonvehi.

So where does that leave us? It leaves Ukraine in the lurch. There is no way it can fund this terminal on its own, despite its claims to the contrary. We probably don’t have to look much further than Gazprom and the Ukrainian oligarchy to find where this beautifully crafted charade was hatched.

In the meantime, Bonvehi—if such a person of that name even exists—remains elusive. No one knows who he really is or who he really works for.

More than anything, it’s an advertisement for due diligence.

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molecool's picture

You have got to have huge balls to fuck with Ukraine :-)

GetZeeGold's picture



Not even Corzine would go there.

BaBaBouy's picture

I hear they are now setting up a Tea-Party gathering...


And lots of Pollonium to go all all around... 

icanhasbailout's picture

Ok now that is an EPIC troll. /salute Bohveni

Popo's picture

Historically speaking, pretty much everyone has fucked with Ukraine, and it doesn't look like Ukraine can do much about it. 



percolator's picture

Hey what are you doing here mole, didn't think you visited this palce?

Shouldn't you be here


molecool's picture

I felt like slumming it ;-)

lolmao500's picture

In other news, the entire Ukrainian government resigned. Now the president and ``The Family`` will rule the country. Democracy? Not yours.

Joe Davola's picture

Check out the dudes hurling red, white and blue in the poster in their parlaiment:

El Oregonian's picture

Jordi Sarda Bonvehi better watch out and lay real low or, I'm sure he'll be turned into gas...

AnAnonymous's picture

Needless to say: it takes an 'american' to outdo an 'american'.

Wannabee 'americans' in Nigeria better to hear the message and up their game if they want to join the world class 'american' league...

Almost Solvent's picture

Whoa, wait.

Are there no citizenism bubbling up from the federation of planets?

Is there no repeating the massacre of federation civilians on Setlik III?


Miles O'Brien, that's who muthafucker!


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous needlessly said:

Needless to say: it takes an 'american' to outdo an 'american'.

Made me do are laughing out with the loudness abundantly.

The scam ancestrally possessings with indicativity the nature inherentness being derived of infamous Chinese citizenism fire drill archetypically. Emerges now with crustaceous revealings immediacy the duplicitous nature of Chinese citizenism stealth is eternal.

Wannabee 'americans' in Nigeria better to hear the message and up their game if they want to join the world class 'american' league...

Now the offuscation scenario, a well known song, have broadcastings from Chinese citizenism propagandist commenter. Inability to self indiction necessitates application of bamboozlement judiciously. Observe the demonstratings forthwith as offuscational narrationry endeavors the discussionary topicality changings away from scam. Redirectmentation with high purpose to strawsman of Nigerians aspiration to employment within US professional baseball sporting, using specificity of designational hittery, is the circonvolutionated Chinese citizenism offuscationary tactic as here deployed.

akak's picture

Forthrightness of revealings their mattering duplicitousistically Chinese Citizenism things most perspicatious cerebral outpourings applauds in order!  High laughings with difficultness to contained, nose spewings of beverage making rigorous keyboard messings.  Alas, alas, alas, quadruple alas, annoying mouse replies nevertheless not exceedingly likely of forthcoming, self-indictment inabilities lending cowardice to the cause of him, autistic eternal nature lending insanitation on top, mirth inevitable child of process.  Just have to bear with it.

buzzsaw99's picture

gold bitchez. lulz

Super Broccoli's picture

Ahahahahah Spain investing in Ukraine ? Sounds like Greece investing in Kazakstan !!!!

Backspin's picture

Or like the US investing in...  anything.

steve from virginia's picture


Hmmm ... no internet in Ukraine ... make a note of it!


Where is Spain going to get the natgas it would 'export' to Ukraine? It imports 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day right now:


Spain has ZERO domestic gas production (it imports from Russia/Gazprom).



Super Broccoli's picture

I believe they wanted to sell gazprom's :-)

Againstthelie's picture

It is rumored that this was one of the aspects that the Ukrainians couldn't withstand.

AgShaman's picture

Dexia got "burned" by Bernie Madoff

Gullibility is a "soft" commodity....with no shortages

Caviar Emptor's picture

Jordi Bonvehi is having a glass of bubbly with Catarina Pietra Toumei, my favorite fake countess, who tried a fake oil scam of her own.

It's prime time for scammers! Enjoy

CH1's picture

At least the scammers are doing something, rather than lving semi-comatose sheep lives.

Stud Duck's picture

This is one for Wm Banzi to clip art, especially the faces of the people that were punked!


Bubble's picture

Pwned by Gazprom bitchez

Pairadimes's picture

Sounds like a few people are going to be mysteriously jabbed with umbrellas just before their sudden deaths over the next few months.

a growing concern's picture

So this is good for my out of the money ricin calls?

hairball48's picture

Never try to bullshit a better bullshitter

Temporalist's picture

Don't forget how the Ukrainian parliament (the Rada) practices politics.  Fight club for real:

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

...Bonvehi was under the impression that Fenosa would sign the deal with Ukraine and that he would be given the authority to sign the deal retroactively

Play it nice and cool son, know what I mean...

LongSoupLine's picture

this has to be's not on CNBC.

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Confirmed by Fleet-Street: Graud. Unless: oh, I see what you did there...


Interesting full circle: Nigerians complaining about Asian scammers targeting them for Schooling / Visas in Ukraine. Crazy world we live in.

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

"The presidency said President Viktor Yanukovych had accepted Mr Azarov's request to give up his post and become an MP, a move expected to be repeated by several cabinet ministers.

It remained unclear who would fill the powerful post of premier, with some analysts speculating it could go to a member of the elite close to Mr Yanukovych known as the "Family"... It also noted that under Ukrainian law, whenever the prime minister resigns the entire government must do so."  Telegraph 03.12.12


Not sure why I'm picking up junks for pointing out old news for the last two days...

Rustysilver's picture

Spain needs to ask itself one question: did Ukraine return all of the nuclear bombs to soviets?. Maybe they kept some, just in case.

walküre's picture

What's the damage? Other than a few bruised egos, it didn't seem to have cost anything. Unless Bonvehi collected fees for his engagement as a percentage of 1.1 billion.

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

It allows Russia a whole year of jokes at their expense, plus, they're still energy dependent on Moscow.

"The deal had been hailed by the Ukrainian government as a chance to free the country from the Russian yoke. Vladislav Kaskiv, head of the state investment agency, reportedly proclaimed the signing to be Ukraine's "energy independence day"." - Guardian


It's basically power-politics, and I'd imagine the end of a career (see above). Plenty of ammo for the next "negotiation" over the new gas prices.

orangegeek's picture

"... But Fenosa denies it has ever considered such a deal and continues to deny any relationship at all with Bonvehi. ..."


So the Gazprom kickback/death threat came through in the 11th hour and the agent got cut loose.  "who is this guy?"


Communist productivity strikes again.



Aurora Ex Machina's picture

8.(C) This draft law continues to disadvantage U.S. payment card market leaders Visa and MasterCard, whether they join the National Payment Card System or not. If they join, the NPCS operator will collect the fees, leaving them to collect processing fees only when card-holders travel abroad -- a tiny section of the market. If they do not join but choose to compete with NPCS cards, they will have to set up payment processing centers in Russia, a very large investment in itself, and compete against a system likely backed by the largest Russian state banks. While the draft legislation has yet to be submitted to the Duma and can still be amended, post will continue to raise our concerns with senior GOR officials. We recommend that senior USG officials also take advantage of meetings with their Russian counterparts, including through the Bilateral Presidential Commission, to press the GOR to change the draft text to ensure U.S. payment companies are not adversely affected.[source]


Those damn Communists!

Arnold's picture


James Bond.

youngman's picture

I went there three times looking for investments...its way to corrupt for had a chance..but they fell back into communist rule.....they put the Capitalist in jail.....

walküre's picture

Their deals aren't any better either.

Zymurguy's picture

This is just like that email I got from the widowed wife of the Nigerian prime minister who promised me all this money if I'd help her transfer her millions to the states.  Never got a dime.

Inignort's picture

The Spanish chapter of "The Yes Men" strikes. Well done.

are we there yet's picture

I do business in the Ukraine and Russia selling a single product.  It takes patence and knowing people with honest intentions, but business can be done there. The problem I have seen there is that the past communist system grew a large amoral parasitic class skilled at creating unnecessary middlemen. Success in business over there is identifing parasites and finding the bright and talented part of their population. Also I have found that business dealings in the Ukraine are different than in Russia. The Ukraine is very risk averse in their view of future business risks in ordinary business contracts. It helps that I have a Ukranian born employee that is now a US citizen to guide me. This Spain con is in another catagory.

WTFx10's picture

"system grew a large amoral parasitic class skilled at creating unnecessary middlemen" Federal reserve bank? Central Banks started as middle men now they are owners and the governments they steal from are the middlemen all stealing from the poor fucks they represent.  Great system.

squexx's picture

The Satanic Tribe grows and prospers on everyone else's back!

Urban Redneck's picture

I see TPTB do deals like this all the time.  From a historical perspective- Gulbenkian's old stomping grounds are only a hop, skip and a jump away.  However, there is no excuse for the lack of due diligence and coordination on the part of the Ukrainians, even if their bench lacks competent depth.

There are some serious strategic obstacles to putting together a deal for such a project, from within the industry one incurs the wrath of Gazprom, and geopolitically an investor places themselves squarely in the path of the consequences of Moscow-Kiev antagonism.  Assembling the right connections and the right plan is a always challenging puzzle, but that is what separates the winners from the losers.

How the tbd (conman or amateur) managed to get as far as they did is still rather shocking though...