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Request for clarification and rectification of press article Bitkovs Family




Guatemala April 12, 2018

Gabriel Woltke and Pia Flores

In the most respectful way we want to ask you to clarify and urgently rectify several inaccurate facts that you refer directly or indirectly to the members of the Russian family Bitkovs in their article titled RUSSIAN “FAKE NEWS” AGAINST THE CICIG HAS A DARK ORIGIN IN A CASE THAT REACHES MINISTER DEGENHART published on the site “” on April 11, 2018 in accordance with the following points:

  1. In the headline you refer that there is a “Fake news” against the CICIG by the “Russians” referring to the family of migrants Bitkovs. We make the clarification that at no time has been poured any false news or fake news as you say on behalf of the members of the family of migrants Bitkovs against the CICIG so we ask to clarify the headline as it tends to link the family Bitkovs with anti-CICIG groups.  Making it clear that the Bitkovs family does not have a fight against CICIG but against the illegalities committed in their particular case of which they are still victims.The subtitle of his publication refers to you conducting an investigation on “the origin of the case in migration” extreme that we are pleased to know and first because thanks to the journalistic work you say you have done are now knowledgeable Of a alleged criminal fact which has not been able to clarify within the case of migration and as responsible citizens are obliged to make the complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s Office by submitting to the investigating body the elements of conviction collected in his research.
  2. You manifest that:The alliance of corrupt Guatemala begins to be recognized in the world for their campaigns of propaganda and disrepute. The latest false news invented says: That Ivan Velásquez, Commissioner of the CICIG, and Thelma Aldana, MP chief, are part of a conspiracy of President Vladimir Putin to execute a political revenge against a family of Russians, the Bitkov, condemned by Buy passports in Guatemala.Clarification: The Bitkovs family was not condemned for “buying” passports in Guatemala but for the “use” of “allegedly false” documents which were issued in RENAP and migration through the legal department of the law firm CUTINO INTERNATIONAL which has It remained in total impunity also in the case of migration despite the fact that the Bitkovs family denounced both the Public Prosecutor’s office and brought to the attention of the CICIG’s own commissioner on the Cutino International structure without the date being carried out at Minus the preliminary investigation.
  3. You manifest that:But the real case is more complex. It originated from a trade unionist’s complaint about a passport-selling network in the Migration Directorate. The trade unionist was murdered. And Nomad found an official document in which the trade unionist responsible of his possible death to the environment of the Director of migration of then and now Minister of the interior, Enrique Dagenhart. These are the two versions of the story, the conspiracy and the journalistic research.Clarification: If the spirit of his “investigation” was to submit to the public the alleged responsibility of the death of the unionist allegedly by the Today Minister of Government we need to clarify this paragraph because in the way that is reflected It causes confusion on the part of the reader, inducing the same to link the family of Bitkovs migrants with public officials.
  4. You manifest that :”The Alliance of corrupt Guatemala begins to be recognized in the world for its propaganda and disrepute campaigns…” And that “it all began with an opinion column published on March 25 in the conservative daily Wall Street Journal under the title: Kremlin Revenge in Guatemala (the Kremlin’s Revenge in Guatemala). Mery Anastasia O’Grady, the author, accused the CICIG and the Public Ministry of becoming an arm of the Russian government to avenge alleged political dissidents, the Bitkov family.Clarification: We completely refute your order of ideas in this regard because the reader is being induced to link the family of Bitkovs migrants with an alleged “alliance of corrupt in Guatemala” alleging that the “opinions” published by the Wall Street Journal are Propaganda and disrepute campaigns… which is false.   We cannot overlook that the Wall Street Journal has an unblemished reputation and credibility at the international level.
  5. You express that:The version of the story that O’Grady presents is that Igor Bitkov, his wife Irina Bitkova and her daughter Anastasia fled Russia in 2008 because the State Bank BTV Bank pressed them not only for the non-payment of a debt but because they had refused to sell shares in their  Company, Nort-West Timber Company.They arrived in Guatemala in 2009, allegedly responding to an advertisement on the internet that offered to fix immigration procedures in Guatemala. According to O’Grady, when the Russian financial system sued them, the CICIG and MP lent themselves to pursue them and achieved their capture in 2015 and their condemnation this year, 2018.Clarification: O´Glady not indicate that “supposedly” the family of migrants Bitkovs responded to the Internet ad that offered to fix immigration procedures… O´Glady “said” that was through the Internet announcement that the Bitkovs found the advice for their immigration procedures, so we ask correctly to cite the source of O´Glady because if the reader is not again induced to a partialization of the opinion in Against what really happened to the Bitkovs in Guatemala.Clarification: They did not investigate or perhaps did not want to cite that the first complaint of course use of false documents was elaborated by the lawyers of the Russian bank VTB bank who knowing that the crimes of use of false documents had slight penalties chose to ask for the ” Auspices “of the CICIG for the Metropolitan prosecutor’s office to be transferred the case of irregular migratory status of the Bitkovs family to the FECI which resulted in today’s purge of sentences of 14 to 19 years imprisonment unswitchable contrary to the other Migrants who were benefited from the criterion of opportunity in other cases that were never accumulated to the “Migration case” which received sentences of up to 4 years switchable.  Does it not really call attention to the three Russian citizens to be prosecuted only in condemnation? Is this normal? That in a high-impact process the victims of the crime will be judged with their perpetrators.
  6.  You express that:In his same article he ignores that the representative of the Russian bank BTV was Henry Comte, the appointed by President Jimmy Morales as alternate magistrate of the Constitutional Court. and ignores that the demand of the Russian bank was dismissed and that the CICIG and the MP continued with the case by the network of false passports.Clarification: Given the circumstances that speak of the substitute magistrate elected by the executive branch Henry Comte, they did not fully cite the information in this respect by proceeding to extend a relevant aspect that was the mandate that the Russian bank VTB extended Initially to Magistrate Comte which was issued in Moscow directly by Andrey Kosting It should be noted that said “Russian state” bank has recently been sanctioned subject of sanctions by the Department of the United States Treasury (law Magnitsky).Clarification: There is no demand dismissed by CICIG nor by MP so it is necessary to expand on this, because it was thanks to the means of challenge invoked by the defense of the family Bitkovs that the Russian bank was “separated” from the criminal process as an adhesive prosecutor By virtue of a court ruling that the Russian bank VTB never had the full legitimacy or legitimate interest to constitute itself as an adhesive prosecutor to assist in investigations for the alleged use of false documents by the family Bitovs.   In addition, it should be noted that in the civil way the legal team of the Bitkovs family started an action of aggravation of demand in the year 2015 to which the Russian bank VTB answered by means of an inhibitory arguing that the Russian bank did not possess the competition to execute its Pretension with Justice in Guatemala to ventilate aspects related to civil claims, which left in evidence that the preference of the Russian bank VTB was never the alleged claim of a loan not cancelled but only to convert a case of immigration of Irregular form towards a criminal case of high impact, which succeeded in influencing the incitement of the investigating body capable of involving the 3 citizens of Russian origin in the case of migration which had as purpose and competence on the part of CICIG to dismantle A network of corruption of public officials within RENAP and MIGRATION.
  7. You manifest that:Mery Anastasia O’Glady is a columnist and member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. It is known for being a feather of the libertarian right and for publishing conspiracies. For example, in 2002 validated in a tone of alarm ‘ intelligence information ‘ from officials of the government of George W. Bush who accused Fidel Castro’s regime of developing biological weapons virus to sell to the governments of the axis of evil, Iran and Iraq. In those years, government officials of W. Bush invented that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Both accusations turned out to be lies. *Clarification: We would not dare to disqualify the work of a reputable journalist based on her opinion (Pia and Gabriel).   But we know that the journalist alluded to tweeted in her personal account moments after the publication of her article the following comment: “A lazy journalist in Guatemala writes today that I accuse Castro of cooking biological weapons. I should complain to whoever wrote the script here is the column:
  8. You manifest that:The accusation of O’Glady, this time against the CICIG, needed someone to echo him to have more credibility.There appeared two key characters. Russian businessman Bill Browder, who had hired lawyer and accountant Sergei Magnitsky to investigate a corruption case of the government of Vladimir Putin. In retaliation, Magnitsky was killed. Browder invested strong sums of money to lobby for the Magnitsky Law, a tool that honors his memory and is now key to corrupt and human rights violators in the world. Browder tweeted on the same day of publication.Clarification: Bill Browder as another victim of the corrupt Russian system “warned” the Guatemalan authorities in the year 2015 of the case of political persecution that are victims of Russian citizens Igor Bitkov, Irina Bitkova and Anastasia Bitkova sending a letter to the Then President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre with a copy to the attorney General of the Republic of Guatemala Thelma Aldana where he asked to provide them with political asylum because of the persecution that are victim.  On October 29, 2015 the American Senator Roger F. Wicker sent a letter requesting the President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre to carry out the necessary actions to resolve the legal case of the Bitkov family as soon as possible and take into account Consider them the request for political asylum in their country.   These 2 characters are key since the year 2015 “warned” of the political persecution suffered by the family Bitkovs so the article of O´Glady unveils the result obtained from the lack of action of the Guatemalan authorities which were Influenced by the Russian bank VTB (Kremlin).  The single fact that the FECI for one time in its history has carried out the criminal persecution of a family of migrants which was “victim” of the network of administrative corruption that still prevails in RENAP and migration at the request of a foreign bank of Russian origin it Comprueb To.You say: One day later, Senator Marco Rubio, the former Florida presidential candidate, appeared. He published a tweet saying that he supported ‘ the idea ‘ of the CICIG, but was concerned that it would be manipulated by Vladimir Putin.Clarification: This is not how you show it because first Senator Roger Wicker president of the United States Helsinki Commission which works to promote international human rights was pronounced along with Senator Ben Cardin astonished by The “cruelty” with which a family of migrants is sentenced to 19 years in prison (Bitkovs family). It was later the support statement of Senator Marcos Rubio.You say: So, O’Grady’s conspiracy began to echo among political actors in the United States Senate.Clarification: It is irresponsible in our opinion that you affirm in your article that O´Glady start a conspiracy because in our view to impute the false crime of “conspiracy” constitutes a slander which is far from the noble spirit of free Emission of thought. So it will be O´Glady in our view that the use that the right assists you in the face of the slander poured out by you against your colleague.You say: This is a conspiracy that has little formal logic and also ignores the macabre origin of the case.Clarification: It is irresponsible to affirm that the support of several American senators who fight for human and migrant rights and therefore are horrified by the migratory case of the Bitkovs family together with the promoter of the Magnitsky law is an act of Conspiracy for what we left reflected our rejection and repudiation of his comment.You say: It has no formal logic because the case did not start in 2013 as O’Glady says by the complaint of the Russian bank VTB, but three years earlier, in 2010, following the complaint about a network of passport sales, interposed by the trade unionist migration, Fidel Pacheco.Clarification: the migration case supposedly has its origins in the year 2010 as the CICIG has said and today Acuerpan you… But what O´Glady is referring to is that it was in the year 2013 that the Russian bank VTB seeking the rapprochement of the CICIG so that the case that had the Russian citizens Bitkovs within the Metropolitan Prosecutor for the use of allegedly false documents was transferred to the F ECI on account of what? Perhaps a simple request from a Russian bank is sufficient for the CICIG to arrogara the jurisdiction of the Bitkovs family case.  We see how the FECI responded to the initial application of the Russian bank VTB from its inception to its end.You say that: Besides, it is not true says O’Glady that the Bitkov family was the only one condemned by the case. The Bitkov were sentenced on 5 January 2018 to sentences of between 14 and 19 years ‘ imprisonment for identity theft and use of falsified documentation. But 36 people were condemned. And also the Colombians were condemned Marcela Ortega Bejarano in 2010, and Luis Valencia Luque and John Alex Momaa Salgado, in 2013.Clarification: Pia and Gabriel It is not true what you say.  The Bitkovs family if it was the only family of migrants linked to the process and then brought to oral and public trial with other 36 syndicated people who were mostly ex-workers of RENAP, migration, processors, coyotes, lawyers and only 3 Russian migrants Bitkovs who had their file initially in the Metropolitan prosecutor’s Office and at the request of the Russian bank VTB before the CICIG was transferred the file to the FECI those who were sentenced to 14 and 19 years in prison for problems of passports.    The Colombians you refer to received only 4 years of maximum switchable prison and the convictions were carried out in the year 2010 by the famous procedure abbreviated (coercive) so these Colombian migrants never They were prisoners, much less sentenced to 14 and 19 years in prison as happened with the Bitkovs family in the year 2018.   The sentence that he claims in the year 2013 was also a sentence by means of abbreviated procedure receiving the benefit of the commute and therefore never floor said migrant the prison.  If these other cases of migrants were lightly sentenced and released which were not linked or brought to trial as the Bitkovs family.You say: Nor does it make sense for Russia to influence the CICIG.Clarification: If it does not make sense for you that Russia influences the CICIG, it is your opinion which we do not share. It is normal to believe that there were interests or influence of some kind by means capable of giving place to all the requests of a State Russian bank (VTB) which operated as an executing arm of the Kremlin’s revenge against the Bitkovs.You wrote that: the CICIG does not receive a penny of funding from Russia, a country famous for promoting structures that promote impunity and assassinations, like those of its former spies in London. The financing of the CICIG, of US $18 million a year, comes from the United States, Sweden and the rest of the European Union. Three funding sources that have been considered by Russia as ‘ their enemies ‘ in the world.Clarification: No one spoke of the CICIG receiving money from Russia either as part of its financing or otherwise but how good that you allude (Pia and Gabriel) to this issue.  It is good that you recognize that Russia is famous for the promotion of structures that promote impunity.  This means that you would never support the Russian bank VTB who has been subjected to serious sanctions by the Department of the Treasury of the United States who determined that together with 17 Russian oligarchs formed a parallel structure of power in the service of the Kremlin.   However, the Russian bank VTB found echo in the way slandered the Bitkovs family in FECI, who requested assume knowledge of the cause.You say: It is not the first time that the Bitkov version, presented by O’Grady, is heard in the country. Since his arrest in 2015, Igor Bitkov made this kind of publications on the blog, which he managed from the prison of Mariscal Zavala, where is the majority of politicians and entrepreneurs who have been accused by CICIG, including Gustavo Alejos and Otto Pérez MolinaClarification: The remand prison which Igor Bitov was detained since January of the year 2015 was decreed by Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez, before the detention centre was housed by businessmen and public officials. Igor Bitov so his comment this other since Igor Bitkovs is not a public official but a Russian emigrant.You wrote that: O’Grady’s column was also refuted in the United States. On April 4, the Wall Street Journal published the response of the American Bar Association, the equivalent of the United States bar. Hilarie Bass, president of the school, wrote::Clarification: the publication of April 4 in the Wall Street Journal Public not the response of the American Bar Association but the letter of ANDREY KOSTIN president and CEO of the Russian bank VTB, who one day after sent this letter was notified of the penalties that the DEP Artamento of the Treasury had imposed to him by corrupt (law Magnitsky).  In this letter Kosting shows his approval that the Bitkovs were judged criminally and not for administrative fouls.   Here comes the interesting as inside the letter of the corrupt Kosting is poured a two-paragraph opinion as an attachment where Hilarie Bass says the following:

Ms. O’Grady neglects the important role that the prosecutor general of Guatemala and the CICIG have played in combating corruption.

The American Bar Association has observed remarkable progress by the CICIG in combating deep-rooted corruption and promoting a just rule of law. To address this one case in isolation, omitting the contribution of CICIG in seeking to dismantle the complex criminal structures that have co-opted the Guatemalan government, plays into the hands of those who are threatened by its accountability efforts and seek to discredit them by any means. – Hilarie Bass-

As we can see the letter that you make reference did not originate as support to the CICIG by the American Bar Association as you refer but was the answer that the corrupt president of the bank VTB Andrey Kosting gave on the approval that it Causes the misfortune of the family of Bitkovs migrants in Guatemala here we quote the source of the letter of VTB Bank and at the end of the last two paragraphs the opinion of Hilarie Bass:

You wrote that: “Ms. O’Grady neglects the important role that the prosecutor general of Guatemala and the CICIG have played in combating corruption. The American Bar Association has observed remarkable progress by the CICIG in combating deep-rooted corruption and promoting a just rule of law. To address this one case in isolation, omitting the contribution of CICIG in seeking to dismantle the complex criminal structures that have co-opted the Guatemalan government, plays into the hands of those who are threatened by its accountability efforts and seek to discredit them by any means.”

Clarification: It is not true that the American Bar Association has said that; “Addressing this isolated case, omitting the contribution of the CICIG in its effort to dismantle the complex criminal structures that have co-opted the Guatemalan government, favors those who feel threatened by the efforts of the CICIG and seek Discredit it in any way” that is false information so they have an obligation to eliminate what Hillarie Bass has never said in its communiqué dated April 4, 2018.  It is false that the case of the Bitkovs family is treated as an isolated case.