According to prosecutors, Mnatsakanyan in 2005 concluded a highly unfavourable agreement on the long-term leasing of the “Valentin Shashin” drilling ship with the Norwegian companies ARBA AS and Venture Drilling AS.
The Norwegian companies were given permission to lease the ship for up to 18 years for a price of $21.000 per day, a sum far below the market value. The Norwegian companies subsequently leased the vessel to a third part for up to €400.000 per day, RIA Novosti reports.
As reported by BarentsObserver, Venture Drilling, a company owned by Petrolia Drilling, soon renamed the vessel to “Venture Deep”, and sent it to Angola for drilling operations.
Mnatsakanyan and his Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR) were also involved in the controversial 3-year leasing of the “Murmanskaya” jackup rig to another Norwegian company.
Following the scandals, the Federal Property Management Agency disallowed AMNGR to lease its rigs to foreign companies, resulting in the two rigs Kolskaya and Murmanskaya in 2009 lying idle in the port of Murmansk without contracts. The company subsequently got its revenues dramatically reduced, while debts were mounting.
Mnatsakanyan resigned from the AMNGR in 2009. He also has a background as member of the Murmansk Regional Duma.