The case of Vladimir Kokorev, a Spanish businessmen, has moved beyond the territory of the Canary Islands and even Spain. At a roundtable event held at the European Parliament in Brussels 28 September, the Kokorev case was called a Europe-wide affair as the case now faces gross violations of law and human rights, and this takes place in a EU country. The roundtable conference was organized by MEP Fulvio Martusciello, Chair Delegation for relations with Israel.


Vladimir Kokorev (66), his wife Yulia (68) and their son Igor (35) have been kept in a Las Palmas (the Canaries, Spain) prison for two years  without being lodged any charges and without any hope for fair justice. The family are charged with money laundering on behalf of Obiang Nguema, President of Equatorial Guinea, and for almost two years the family have been in custody with their case classified. It later emerged that the secrecy was required for the investigation bodies to conceal the absence of proof and evidence of Kokorevs’ guilt.


Ana Isabel de Vega Serrano, investigative judge at Las Palmas Court No 5, who issued an international arrest warrant for the Kokorevs, apparently thought that the case being classified gives her the power to keep people in prison for as long as she would want. Kokorevs’ defense lawyers who spoke up at the roundtable conference and later at the press conference deduced that the case had been masterminded by some interested parties.



The case was declassified in February 2017 following an official request from MEPs to the Prosecutor General and the judicial council in Spain.


The request from the MEPs who wanted to check the progress around the Kokorev case that arises hard-hitting questions to the Spanish judiciary elicited almost no response, and that, in fact, forced European lawmakers to organize the roundtable meeting.


Juan Carlos Galindo, president of the Spanish Association for Prevention of Money Laundering, said: “There can be no logical explanation for how and why would practically a whole family be arrested and put in jail for such a long period of time without a trial. In particular, taking into account that there are no ties to organized crime, or even as much as an investigation of the crime preceding to that of the supposed money laundering, no investigation into the alleged corruption in Equatorial Guinea where the funds were obtained, nor any investigations or indictment of any public officials of Equatorial Guinea who would have supposedly misplaced those funds”.


Likewise Judge De Vega Serrano’s decision to establish yet another 2 year term for an investigation that commenced in 2004 – 14 years ago (!) – prompts a reasonable suspicion about the motivation of the judge. At this point it seems that the Judge De Vega Serrano would be perfectly content with “investigating” the Kokorev family indefinitely, since it delays Judge Serrano answering herself for the brutal methods and unreasonable precautionary measures used during this so-called “investigation”.


In addition to speeches, the three lawyers of the Kokorev family prepared a joint summary report of the case, which was submitted to the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI).

«This conduct of the police unit could and should have been proscribed and stopped by the chief anti-corruption prosecutor of Las Palmas, Luis del Rio Montesdeoca. Mr. Del Rio is obviously aware that prospective investigations are not permitted in Spain, furthermore it was his responsibility to identify whether the evidence brought forward by the police was veracious and sufficient to commence a criminal procedure, and thus the spending of tax-payer funding. On the contrary, Mr. Del Rio solicited a, what can be only described as an “impulsive”, arrest warrant on members of Kokorev family, and later a petition to keep them “provisionally” in jail, without any supporting evidence, but perhaps with a moral conviction that such evidence would have surfaced in due time and thus justified Mr. Del Rio’s reckless actions. Two years later, when apparently no such evidence have been obtained, the prosecutor of Las Palmas still intends on keeping the accused in jail, if only to avoid or delay questions as to his own competence», - the report says.


According to the defenders, Mr. Del Rio’s conduct has been replicated by the investigative judge De La Vega, who is seemingly acting not a as proper judge in this matter, but a mere accessory to Mr. Del Rio. Ms. De Vega Serrano could and should have examined the evidence brought forward by the prosecutor and decided accordingly: the arrest of Mr. Kokorev as well as other members of his family was premature and their incarceration lacked any basis. It seems that the Judge De Vega Serrano recognized this as early as November 2015, by admitting, in one of her writs that there was no evidence to support any undue ties between Mr. Kokorev and members of the government of Equatorial Guinea. Yet, since the Kokorev family had been already extradited, it appears that Judge De Vega Serrano decided to continue with a clearly prospective investigation, possibly in order to save her own reputation. It is noteworthy that although Ms. De Vega admitted to not having evidence against Kokorev family, she also redacted that admission from her judgement, and established the secrecy of the case – that is, the Kokorevs and their attorneys were denied any access to the case file, including very own Serrano’s admission of lacking evidence. In a truly Kafkaesque turn, Ms. De Vega Serrano did so under the explanation that the “access to the file would be damaging for the investigation.”


Even now, 2 years later, Ms. De Vega Serrano seems to insist on continuing the investigation that has started 14 years ago, and still have not yielded as much as a specific accusation. It becomes apparent that Ms. De Vega’s deliberate procrastination of the so-called investigation is as self-serving as that of Mr. Del Rio.


The Kokorevs’ defense and an authorized representative of the family were unanimous in asking European Parliament members to assist in having the case transferred to Madrid since no unbiased investigation is possible in the Canaries.


MEP Fulvio Martusciello stated that members of the European Parliament are taking the Kokorev case under control since the current situation is beyond European laws and basic European values.