Kyiv Post | 17Jun2016 | Serhii Leshchenko
My list of dirty deals
You can smell the
rottenness of Ukrainian politics in the
Prosecutor General’s Office more than anywhere else. It seemed that
after the “human safari” that Viktor Yanukovych organized on the
Maidan, when people were dying in the name of an honest and democratic
Ukraine, the punishment of the corrupt officials of the past should be
a matter of honor for the new government. But instead, it has turned
into a story of betrayal.
There is already a list of people who have got off the hook:
1. Former member of the Party of Regions Yuriy
Ivaniushchenko tops the list of the authority’s
betrayals. He was removed from Interpol’s Red Notice wanted list and
can travel freely now, without the risk of being arrested. This was
possible due to the decision of the Dniprovsky Court in Kyiv -- a venue
favored by President Petro Poroshenko’s eminence grise, Oleksandr
In 2014, Ivaniushchenko, a former accomplice of Yanukovych,
managed to make First Deputy Prosecutor General Mykola Gerasymiuk issue
a document saying he had no criminal record. With it, Ivaniushchenko
tried to appeal against the international sanctions against him.
Fortunately, he didn’t succeed.
2. In second place in the ranking of betrayals is the case of Mykola
Zlochevsky, the former minister of ecology in the
government of Mykola Azarov. He was unlucky to get on the radar of the
British intelligence -- they arrested a suspicious $23 million in his
account under a criminal investigation. However, Zlochevsky found
accomplices in the Prosecutor General’s Office who, on the eve of the
hearing in Britain, issued a letter saying that Zlochevsky wasn’t a
suspect in Ukraine. The money was unfrozen.
3. The third largest betrayal was the escape of lawmaker Serhiy
Klyuyev, who managed to leave the country a day after
being stripped of his immunity from prosecution. None of those who let
Klyuyev cross the border were found or punished.
4. But an attempt by another crony of Yanukovych to take the heat off
himself was prevented thanks to a public outcry. Ex-Energy Minister Eduard
Stavytsky fled to Israel and obtained there a new
passport under a new name -- Nathan Rosenberg. He planned to have the
case dismissed by moving it from Pechersk Court to Solomiansky Court in
Kyiv, but he failed, even though a judge had already scheduled his
hearing -- illegally.
5. In fifth place in the dirty deals ranking is the case
of Yuriy Boyko. A year ago, the
Prosecutor General’s Office investigators prepared a submission for the
arrest of Boyko, the current leader of the Opposition Bloc, but
then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin stopped progress on the case.
Boyko now obediently plays the role of Bankova’s pocket opposition,
enjoying immunity in accordance with the “Vienna Pact” between
Poroshenko and oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
6. Similar examples of investigation blockage have been seen in the
case of the former head of the Ministry of Revenues and Duties, Oleksandr
Klymenko. The budget paid Hr 3 billion in illegal VAT
compensation to this former cashier of Yanukovych. One third of this
amount was transferred through the Pechersk Tax Office. Viktor
Dvornikov, the first deputy head of the regional tax authorities,
signed off on the transaction. When investigators tracked Klymenko
down, he went to his influential friend -- Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
As a result, the Prosecutor General’s Office blocked the case for
several months. Since Yuri Lutsenko became prosecutor general, they’ve
been trying to move this case to the military prosecutor’s office.
7 and 8. Brothers Serhiy and Oleksandr
Katsuba, who worked as deputy heads of Naftogaz one
after the other and were recognized as accomplices of Yanukovych-era
businessman Serhiy Kurchenko, were also able to secure immunity. On
the eve of being declared wanted, they managed to escape (one to the
Cote d'Azur in France, and the other to Turkey). After being in the
Interpol database for a few months, they returned to the country. Their
father dutifully supports the coalition, being a member of the
Vidrodzhennya faction, controlled by Ihor Kolomoisky and Kharkiv Mayor
9. Slightly less fortunate was the ex-governor of Kyiv
Oblast, Vira Ulianchenko, who was
involved in the case of the allocation of land in the Suholuche hunting
area to Yanukovych. She received a notice of suspicion, although before
that the case had been blocked for a long time. By a not-so-surprising
coincidence, Ulianchenko’s stepdaughter is married to Makar Pasenyuk --
one of Poroshenko’s personal investment bankers.
10. And it was a forlorn hope that Ukraine would
take up a challenge from Austria to investigate the case against the
Head of the President Administration Boris Lozhkin,
who was suspected by Vienna of money laundering during the sale of
Ukrainian Media Holding to Kurchenko. Deputy Prosecutor General Yury
Stolyarchuk personally signed a letter sent to the Austrians saying
that there was no case against Lozhkin.
Those are just some of the betrayals, where in high-profile
cases, as a result of connivance, investigations have been blocked. The
universal recipe for salvation has long been known: Just have your
pieces of silver ready -- they will do nicely for the Judases of the
new government. There’s just one thing: in contrast to Yanukovych and
his accomplices, these Judases have nowhere left to run.
Sergii Leshchenko is a lawmaker with the Bloc of
President Petro Poroshenko and a former journalist. This op-ed was
originally published in Russian in Novoye Vremia magazine on June 10,
and is republished with permission. Translation by Anastasia Yarova.