Paris, 24 June 2013 - Sherpa, Russie-Libertés, CEE Bankwatch Network and MOBO Princip, as well as members of Russian civil society such as the environmental activist Evgenia Chirikova, today submitted to the Public Prosecutor of Nanterre, France, a complaint relating to the conditions in which the NORTH WEST CONCESSION COMPANY - NWCC - , which is wholly owned by the French company VINCI CONCESSIONS RUSSIE, was awarded a public contract in 2009 concerning the construction of the highway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

In recent years, investigations have been conducted by a number of European and international NGOs.

This investigative work indicates that there may be serious reasons to believe that the VINCI CONCESSIONS RUSSIE Company - as well as other legal persons and individuals that are still to be identified – may have committed financial and criminal offences which could include bribery of foreign public officials and concealment of influence peddling.

In addition to the climate of corruption which seems to have been present from the early planning stages of the project, serious environmental damage has been reported, especially in the Khimki Forest near Moscow.

The undersigning NGOs expect the Public Prosecutor of Nanterre, to provide a quick judicial response that should be in line with the importance and the seriousness of the reported facts and with France’s commitments to fight corruption.

Regarding the last point, they recall the recommendations made to France in 2012 by the OECD working group.

The undersigning NGOs consider that the nature of the facts and their international and complex character would justify the immediate initiation of a judicial inquiry so that one or more examining judges can begin to investigate without delay.

Press Contacts:

  • Sophia Lakhdar, Director of Sherpa
  • William Bourdon, President of Sherpa
  • Pippa Gallop, Research Coordinator at Bankwatch
  • Alexis Prokopiev, President of Russie-Libertés