The tapes document alleged conversations between Kuchma, presidential administration head Volodymyr Lytvyn and Interior Minister Yury Kravchenko. Moroz said that it can be proven the converstion linked Kuchma to the disappearance of Georgy Gongadze, the founder of on-line newspaper Ukrainska Pravda who disappeared on Sept. 16.
Moroz said that the tapes were handed to him by one of the officers of Ukraine's security service (SBU) who said he was ready to testify, an Interfax report said.
Lytvyn appeared on national television on Tuesday night to angrily deny the authenticity of the tapes, in which he, Kuchma and Kravchenko were alleged to be speaking in foul, racist language about the problems caused by Gongadze, and outspoken oppositionist. Lytvyn promised a libel lawsuit would follow.
Roman Besmertny, the president's representative in parliament, also angrily denied the authenticity of the tapes on national television, claiming they had been faked using advanced computerized forging methods.
In a sign the presidential administration is already moving to suppress the brewing scandal, National television stations 1+1 (UT-2) and Inter (UT-3) relegated their respective stories on the subject to the back of their news broadcasts on Tuesday night. Both reports were put Moroz's accusations in clear doubt - 1+1's report failed to even mention the president's name in connection with the scandal.
But the scandal clearly has the potential to erupt into the greatest threat to President Kuchma's presidency since he was elected to his first term six years ago, since many Web sites and print media have already jumped on the story.
Since Kuchma was elected, scandal has repeatedly touched many of his closest advisors. But Kuchma himself has magically managed to dance around every brewing controversy, despite widespread opinion in the liberal opposition and the international press that he is indelibly tainted by corruption.
Many representatives of Ukraine's mass media have long maintained that Gongadze's disappearance was a politically motivated act. Attempting to assuage such fears, Kuchma and Kravchenko took the investigation under their "personal control" shortly after the investigation started.
In mid-November, a decaying headless corpse was found in a Kyiv oblast forest, which many thought was most likely that of Gongadze, given descriptions of jewelry that was found along with the corpse, as well as x-rays of the body's hand, which showed shrapnel wounds to the wrist, among other things. Friends of Gongadze said that these findings only strengthened their convictions that it was Gongadze's body, which had been found.
The official government investigation to determine whether the body belongs to the missing journalist has not been concluded, with no official word yet given that would close the matter.
Moroz allowed journalists to rerecord the recordings, saying that although it is not always clear what the subject of the discussions are, a more attentive study of the tapes would prove that the recorded conversations comprised an order and a report on its fulfillment.
Moroz said that he will pass the tapes on to the parliamentary commission investigating Gongadze's disappearance, adding that he has requested that European structures prove the authenticity of the records. These structure, the report says, have responded by saying that they are ready to provide their analyses of the tapes at the request of the relevant institutions.
The news agency cites Moroz as saying from the parliamentary tribune that "the professionally organized disappearance, the passivity of the investigation, the ignoring of elementary necessary actions, and the unconvincing explanations of higher officials of the militia, bear out the opinion that these were planned actions."
"The pause that occurred after the body was encountered, manipulations of material evidence, the delay in the medical examination, threats made toward the specialists who began it, prove that criminals have been entrapped in their own nets, and not knowing what to do, hope that society's attention toward this crime will decline by itself," Moroz said.
An English-language translation of selected tape episodes follows.
You give me this same one at Ukrainska Pravda and ... we will start to decide what to do with him. He's simply gone too far already.
Started a case.
Started a case... (undecipherable)
No, I don't necessarily need a case. ... Ukrainska Pravda, well, this is completely already, blyad, isnolence. Bastard, blya. The Georgian, Georgian, blin.
Gongadze, or what?
Well, someone finances him...
Well, he actively works with this, with Moroz, with Grani (Web site). I will on Saturday him... with Matvienko.
Maybe people's deputies here to court, let the lawyers bring him to court.
This goes to the prosecutor, right?
No, Let Kravchenko... (undecipherable)
It's just, blya, ... there is some kind of limit, son-of-a-bitch, blya. ...
Deport him, bliat, to Georgia and throw him out there f*** him.
Drive him out to Georgia and throw him there.
the Chechens should steal him. ...
So that I don't forget, there's this one Gongadze...
I think I heard this kind of surname.
Well, bastard, blya, final limit
Gongadze. He already came our way somewhere...
He passed by somewhere. Looking for him.
That means, what he constantly writes in some kind of "Ukrainska some kind of Pravda", he pushes it into the Internet, understand. Well who, someone finances him
But the main thing he needs to be pushed back. Volodya says the Chechens should steal him and drive him to Chechnya to f*** himself and ask for a ransom.
Eh, we'll just somewhere him...
Eh, these sort of people (laughter) totally major...
Don't spread anything.
Well, and drive him out to Georgia, and that's it.
Meaning, in the first place, will we be giving (official) permission, not permission, that head of the rayon division..., oh, you remember, the one that in Chernihiv oblast said: "Let the president pay you "
They've already released the vice head. They started a criminal case against him. Meaning on 165 this is for official service violations, and 185. So I think that he's here. And this week we'll him
Yeh. Yeh. Let's
We'll also show who to say what to.
On Gongadze there is besides that that he works together with Moroz.
For Moroz he's been writing there in his Grani still from the very summer. How does he finance (?)...
Well, this is the type of garbage. I wouldn't be surprised that with them there with the socialists there are ties there. ... Well, we'll take care of things with them. I think this is...
There are outlines. This is Medvechuk and Surkis?
This is that there is a tie between them this is...
No, that's how once...
I remember this game near Kievskie Vedomosti (newspaper). Surkis, blya, why do we need a Jew, blya.
Come on, why do you need a Jew
And now I read some of those same conversations of theirs
Eh, it's he that posts them. That was there method then. And it still exists. They're creating a problem there, later, as if, they go to a person and help and later it turns out that that person is dependent on them. And it is in this way that they here... This is a big spectacle at such a level, I don't know, maybe, national. They played it out and it made hits... Eh, this is this kind of thing. ... And, this, maybe, is all.
I would like to ask you about this kind of form. I mean to use, so that I don't forget.
I'm, we're working.
I'm telling you, drive him out, throw out. Give him to the Chechens. (undecipherable) and then a ransom.
We'll think it over. We're do it in such a way, so that
Meaning drive him out, undress him, blya, leave him without his pants, let him sit there.
I'd do it simply, blya, they told me about it today. We're learning the situation: where he's walking, which ways he walks. We've got someone sitting there connected up. We have to study it just a little bit, we'll do it. The team I have is a fighting one, such eagles, everything you want, they'll do. Meaning this is the present.
For some reason you're not saying anything about Gongadze?
To stay quiet (undecipherable)
Honest. Well I'm reporting to you. There we made somewhat of a mistake.
There he's got a team headed by the last name they told me, blya.
Meaning he wrote a complaint to the general prosecutor. Well, I think...
I made a bit of a mistake here. Well now I think, why did I make a mistake. Now I'll tell you. I went to the deputy head of running the city of Kyiv Opanasenko. I think that Opanasenko, I think that the group, it's closed. So Opanasenko through his to get to the bottom of what kind of machine this is and wrote Potobenko, that is, a complaint.
No, Gongadze. And here he gives the numbers that were destroyed a year ago. I am changing the plan here a little because... I want to get rid of that Opanasenko. My doubts were over when they reported to me all the way in Kirgizia (?) that Opanasenko is interested in the numbers so I said wait, , so that it...
with the numbers I'll do it. I simply, so that it, I mean, so that it doesn't work out anywhere. Well, He'll be here tomorrow. He'll sign that this could be like a settlement for such matters.
Well, so that it doesn't go, because they are throwing dirt into Russia through the Internet. You know, into the Internet through Russia.
I'm not letting Gongadze out. Simply for us a question has arisen I also it... Are there indeed already contacts... And there were... armed surveillance I want to study up on his contacts. What it...
To know if there isn't a team there. They named some kind of surnames there. They're scribbling this trash
There are three of them.
We have them. We have them all.
Well I want to start with him. Well and this... the general (prosecutor's office) will react. There are no numbers, I don't know.
And what connection the General (Prosecutor's Office) to Gongadze?
Well their declaration is there. This is official.
Well, and so what
the declaration is official.
Well why does every sh** have to write to the general prosecutor?
There you go just send it to the rayon prosecutor.
I don't know what the prosecutor there will say. This is the prosecutor...
I bid you all the best.
Well, Leonid Danylovych, what's new?
How should I tell you... Kravchenko promised to take care of it
How should I tell you (undecipherable) The Georgian embassy made an official announcement and made an anonymous call which was in the embassy that the Moscow rayon needs to be searched and Volkov is dealing with this matter, Kravchenko and... one can't place politics... undermine it... in order to undermine... this is also not tolerable...
The ambassador has to be summoned
Me too... and make some kind of notation or warning, or have a conversation.
A call has to be made... and get rid of him to hell this kind of ambassador, blin.
(on the phone) Koval, you need to be removed. Were you taking care of things there with the Georgian embassy?
(answer) We will now start taking care of things
And get him here, blya, Let him make a reply, otherwise I'll call Shevarnadze to call him back the hell with him.
Okay And say, that I'll call Shevarnadze, to take him out the hell with him.
Okay, okay, I'm calling on him right now.
Listen, now they just showed me newspapers, blyat, all these, blyat, that are published. Well, Hrysha Omelchenko is continuing to put out a paper in Kremenchug (pause) Well, what are you bullsh**ing. Eh no, right now the 15th of September he put out a paper. (pause) And I'm telling you, September 15 put out a fresh newspaper. Svoboda (newpaper) blya, is being published, and you're still about that again... Well there, well there, there are such caricatures there, and also insults, blya totally on the president. (pause) So then you invite Yulia. F*** your mother, you invite Yulia, and ask: "dear one, what are you bitch blya doing? Do you want for us to blya you blya completely or what." And say: "why are you financing Omelchenko, why are you doing that-that." You don'y know the method of your job or what, how that's done all over the world. So if they aren't one f***ing bit afraid of you. F*** your mother, well why are you this way. Why should you be feared? It is our service that they are afraid of. ... It was I who appointed you. So that's why let's go.
Listening. And where are you looking. In Poltava oblast in Kremenchug this bastard Omelchenko is publishing such a newspaper, blya, simply incredible. With caricatures, blya, they're throwing dirt on the president with their publications. So therefore, the security service and the prosecutor can't start a criminal case together. So there, these lawyers looked at this, and say that there are grounds to start such a case. Where's the Service. Well yes then why aren't they reporting now. They bring me this newspaper... Newspapers, blya they deliver to me here, while the service doesn't report one f***ing thing. (pause) And that's what's the most interesting. I'll look who participates there, in this same. All these anti-presidential correspondents.
... Yeh, and that includes Korobova of Grani. F*** your mother, imagine, this bitch, blya, this prostitute (who?) of newspapers into which he took her. ... That Gongadze, blya, good-bye-good riddance.
It's time with them all...
The level of influence of the Verkhovna Rada is 4 percent, the level of influence of the Cabinet of Ministers or the premier 0...
On mass media?
Understand, which it is counting on so that God forbid a finger isn't pointed at it
Well, of course.
Leonid Danilovych, I want to report. I think, that I wrestled out all of his structures competely, yes. And now the team is muffling the matter. Meaning everything, it seems, we took out which is his.
The fund Zlahoda, yeh?
everything is there, everything. I looked there.
Well an aside from the newspaper Toavarish they also have this new newspaper?
Leonid Danylovych, well, we will have all the structures. Well, and now that gang, that distributed leaflets from Holovaty?
Meaning, the day before yesterday he ended up all the way in Sumy oblast, the one that distributed. And they gave it to him there in such a way (laugher). And he yells: "It was Holovaty that me " (laugher) And he came home, and there, meaning, the dacha was occupied, and the door burned
His (both laughing) Understood.
And he distributed one or....
We him... the sh** came out again with a new packet. That same day 15 cops... And he was with 3 guards. Later he came out without anybody, they put him in a car. When they went forward... "I won't anymore, this is Holovaty. Who's your chief? Who's your chief? I'll be a witness. Well, to keep it short...
... (undecipherable) I have such a subdivision, their methods, they have no moral principles, they have nothing. So that God forbid... So meaning they have nothing. So that simply means me. I have a group and they're beginning to muffle. Well I with your permission will then talk things over with Azarov.
I have an example, that I should also participate.
Azarov also has an example.
Well, something could get mixed up for us. But we are continuing to work.
Is it interesting with them?
What could they have interesting there...
Editor's note: English-language grammatical accuracy has been sacrificed in this translation in order to attempt to get across the tone of the original conversation.