March 23, 2023

Athens News

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Searches at former associates of V. Zelensky – Ukrainian President "cleans up" corruption or your … past

The SBU is conducting searches at the homes of V. Zelensky’s old associates under the pretext of the corruption they have now discovered, which is very annoying to the United States, the main beneficiary of the current war.

Many are wondering if the Ukrainian president is really “cleansing up” corruption in his country, or just “cleansing up” his past. Let’s not forget that the Ukrainian president also has ties to foreign companies, as he revealed in a lengthy Guardian report actually months before the start of the Russian operation. Therefore, in order for him to survive in the coming “new world”, some of his “friends” become superfluous.

David Arakhamia

The head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party, David Arakhamia, said on Telegram that the authorities are mainly targeting billionaire Igor Kolomoisky, as well as former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. In addition, the heads of tax authorities and customs services were fired. “The country will change with the war, and if someone is not ready for change, then the state will come and help them change,” Arakhamia said, referring to the scourge of widespread corruption in Ukraine.

The SBU raids come a week after a number of senior Ukrainian officials were sacked following a corruption scandal involving military supplies. Meanwhile, Ukrainian corruption has caused great frustration among US lawmakers, who are extremely unhappy that American taxpayer money is becoming the assets of corrupt oligarchs and government officials.


Search at Valery Kolomoisky’s

Investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) have published footage of a search in Kolomoisky’s house in the case of embezzlement of 40 billion hryvnias (about one billion euros at today’s exchange rate) with the participation of oil companies. It is worth noting that the billionaire, who is under US sanctions, not only supported Vladimir Zelensky in his 2019 election campaign, but was actually his godfather in politics. Since it was at his suggestion that Zelensky entered politics.

The State Bureau of Investigation, an anti-corruption agency, for its part, raided the tax authorities, accusing “the head of the Kyiv tax service of conspiring to illegally enrich themselves by several billion dollars.”

Finally, according to Arakhamia, investigators handed notices to high-ranking Defense Ministry officials making them official suspects. At the same time, he did not specify what they are accused of, and whether the operation is connected with the scandal that erupted last week about a contract concluded by the Ministry of Defense for exorbitant prices for food intended for military personnel in various directions.


Alexey Reznikov

At the same time, many believe that the main target was Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov, accused by the Americans of corruption. It is noteworthy that in relation to the latter, TV channels associated with the presidential administration reported that he would be removed from the post of Minister of Defense and transferred to the post of Minister of Justice. Despite the fact that it looks like stuffing or nonsense, in fact it is most likely the idea of ​​Andriy Yermak, who is considered by many experts to be the “grey eminence” of Ukraine.


Valery Zaluzhny

This action also targets the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny, who, according to the Zelensky administration, has gained too much power and influence.

Why was the SBU searched the oligarch’s house? According to Ukrayinska Pravda, the search at Kolomoisky’s house was linked to alleged misuse of petroleum products and customs evasion. At the same time, some investigative journalists notice that the fact that it was the SBU, and not the proteges of the US NABU, gives Valery Kolomoisky a chance to get by with “little blood.”

Avakov said his home was searched as part of an investigation into the January 18 helicopter crash that killed 14 people, including Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky. “Investigators are investigating a six-year-old purchase of an Airbus helicopter model that was involved in the crash, but ‘nothing interesting to investigate’ has been found,” according to a former Poroshenko associate and the man who helped Zelenskiy to power.


Kirill Timoshenko

All this is happening at a time when, according to unconfirmed information, the deputy head of the presidential administration, Kirill Timoshenko, who resigned a week ago, fled to Israel with $600 million. In particular, one after another, at least 15 members of the Ukrainian government, senior government officials and associates of President Volodymyr Zelensky resigned or were dismissed in the previous period.


“The inspector came to us.” Many experts believe that the main reason for what is happening was the dissatisfaction of the United States. This appeal was published on the website of the US Embassy and calls to inform the inspectors general about the facts of the waste of American aid.

Who has retired and fired? As of the previous Saturday, the following have resigned or been fired:

  1. Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Simonenko. It was reported on social media that in December he went on holiday to Spain in a luxury car owned by a Ukrainian businessman.
  2. Five regional governors (Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kyiv, Sumy, Kherson) were dismissed by the president, as well as two deputy ministers from the Ministry of Social Development. Two heads of government agencies were fired, but not for corruption cases.
  3. Pavel Khalimon, deputy head of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party (from the series in which he starred), was fired on charges of corruption. It is alleged that he bought an apartment for an amount that did not correspond to his income.
  4. Over the weekend, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Vasily Lozinsky was detained and dismissed from his post. He allegedly embezzled $400,000 to be used to buy humanitarian aid. The expulsion was confirmed on Sunday by Zelenskiy, who stressed that “there is no return to the corruption of the past.”

It is said that Lozinsky negotiated with suppliers to raise prices for generators and reaped the benefits of the difference. From summer to date, the country has spent about 40 million euros to provide alternative energy sources or heating for the winter.

In general, the West, although it knew that Ukraine is the most corrupt state on the planet, did not hesitate to give away billions of dollars and euros that came from the pockets of the taxpayers of Western societies.

Chief "anti-oligarch"  Ukraine caught offshore

As for V. Zelensky himself, the Guardian report says that the documents Pandora, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with the Guardian as part of a global investigation, suggest the Ukrainian president bears a strong resemblance to his predecessors. The leaked documents suggest he had — or has — a previously undisclosed stake in an offshore company that he apparently secretly gave to a friend in the weeks before winning the 2019 presidential election.

Zelenskiy has never commented on the allegations, despite active attempts by the Guardian and its media partners to contact him. His representative Sergei Nikiforov sent a message: “I will not answer.”

The records show that Zelenskiy was involved in a sprawling network of offshore companies co-owned by his longtime friends and television partners. Among them are Sergei Shefir, who produced Zelensky’s hits, and Shefir’s older brother Boris, who wrote scripts for Kvartal 95 and other projects by Zelensky.

Another member of the consortium is Ivan Bakanov, a childhood friend. Bakanov was the general director of Zelensky’s production studio Kvartal 95. All are linked to Zelenskiy’s hometown in southern Ukraine, Krivoy Rog. After seizing power, Zelenskiy brought into government those close allies he had on television.

Before becoming president, Zelensky declared some of his personal assets. Among them were cars, real estate and three offshore companies. Film Heritage, which he owns with his wife Elena Zelenskaya, a former writer for Kvartal 95, is registered in Belize.


But the Pandora documents show additional offshore assets that Zelenskiy does not appear to have disclosed. Film Heritage owns a 25% stake in the Cypriot holding company Davegra. Davegra, in turn, owns Maltex Multicapital Corp, a previously unknown entity registered in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Zelensky, the brothers Shefir and Yakovlev owned a 25% stake in Maltex.

According to the documents, on March 13, 2019, two weeks before the first round of voting in the Ukrainian elections, Zelensky transferred his stake in Maltex to Serhiy Shefir. It is unclear whether Shefir paid Zelensky. Bakanov witnessed this secret transfer and signed the offshore documents.


Vladimir Zelensky and his wife Elena Zelenskaya.

About six weeks after Zelensky’s landslide victory, a lawyer for the Kvartal 95 group signed another document. It stipulated that Maltex would continue to pay dividends on Zelensky’s film legacy, even if he no longer owns a stake in the company. His main income comes from activities in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, according to the Maltex client profile.

A key document dated April 24, 2019 states that Maltex owns shares in companies involved in the production and distribution of television films. One of the reasons for creating Maltex was “tax-efficient accumulation of business profits”. According to Boris Seifir, Bakanov mainly organized these offshore “financial schemes” to protect the company from “authorities and robbers.”

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