23 Yanukovych’s taxmen arrested in anti-corruption raid. What you need to know

The detained officials were brought to Kyiv by helicopter. Photo: glavcom.ua

The detained officials were brought to Kyiv by helicopter. Photo: glavcom.ua 

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Article by: Vitalii Rybak

On 24 May 2017, [the day of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko’s annual report in the Ukrainian Parliament – Ed] 23 people have been arrested in a joint operation of Ukraine’s National Police and Military Prosecutor’s office. Arsen Avakov, Ukraine’s Minister of Interior, and Anatoliy Matios, Chief Military Prosecutor, underlined in a joint press conference that the operation involved 1,700 policemen and 500 military prosecutors who simultaneously conducted 454 searches in 15 regions across Ukraine. Avakov stressed that this is the largest anti-corruption operation in the history of Ukraine. The detained were brought to Kyiv by helicopter so that the court hearing could have been held on the same day.

Here is what you need to know about this story:

1. Law enforcers detained officials of the former Ministry of Revenue and Duties

Olesandr Klymenko headed the

Oleksandr Klymenko headed the Ministry of Revenue and Duties in Yanukovych’s time

This is an institution of Yanukovych’s time which turned into the State Fiscal Service in 2014. At the time, it was headed by Oleksandr Klymenko, who fled to Russia after Euromaidan, and now is Head of the “Uspishna Krayina” (Successful Country) political party. Law enforcers suspect the detained of having been involved in massive and systematic tax fraud. The investigation believes that this scheme has inflicted nearly a UAH 100 bn damage to the state.

2. The scheme was based on the so-called “conversion centers”

The suspects are believed to have created a whole system of fake companies which were used to cash out bank accounts. In this way, those involved in the scheme paid fewer taxes. The Ministry of Revenue and Duties headed by Klymenko used to control the whole scheme in 2010-2011. Yanukovych, Klymenko, and others took a commission from every transaction, law enforcers explained.

3. Detained Fiscal Service Chief himself helped the investigation to uncover the scheme

[Roman Nasirov, Head of the State Fiscal Service, is suspected of causing damage to the state in the amount of UAH 2 bn ($ 73.7 mn). He was handed a notice of suspicion on 2 March 2017 – Ed.] Anatoliy Matios stressed that Nasirov “has done everything to prove the guilt of the detained.” However, Nasirov himself has been accused of using “conversion centers” earlier. Nasirov’s case itself was believed to be a test case for Ukraine’s new anti-corruption bodies. He was not put in jail, however, but released on UAH 100 mn bail. It seems that now authorities try to change his “media role” from a major suspect in fiscal corruption to a person that helps the investigation.

Read also: The case against Ukraine’s Fiscal Service chief might break the corrupt political system

4. Klymenko called the operation “a show which staged to drag public attention from important things”  

Prosecutor Genera, Yuriy Lutsenko reported in Parliament on his first year of service. Photo: intvua.com

Prosecutor Genera, Yuriy Lutsenko reported in Parliament on his first year of service while the arrests were being made. Photo: intvua.com

Oleksandr Klymenko himself has reacted to the arrests. He stressed that the whole operation was staged on the occasion of Yuriy Lutsenko’s annual report to the Verkhovna Rada. Klymenko argued that Poroshenko and the government did this “to drag public attention away from war, crisis and crazy declarations of the officials.”

5. Pecherskyi court of Kyiv started releasing those detained on condition of bail

For instance, Volodymyr Zadorozhniy, a former head of Poltava region’s tax agency, was released after the bail-out worth UAH 12 mn ($450,000) was paid. Oleksandr Antipov, his former colleague from Luhansk region, paid a UAH 15 mn ($570,000) bail-out.

Prepared by Vitalii Rybak, Internews Ukraine, for UkraineWorld group (ukraineworld.org). These theses are based on the reports by Hromadske, UNIAN and lb.ua.

Read also: 

Edited by: Alya Shandra
Source: ukraineworld.org

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  • Tony

    Justice is being served. I expect a snowball effect as Ukrainian authorities are getting better at this and the corrupt are loosing their ability to stall the process.

    • Jack Hamilton

      Ukrainian authorities aren’t getting better at anything and they’ll arrest and prosecute perceived opponents whether guilty or not! It’s in their culture! Look at history!

      • gmab

        This isn’t Russia LAFF AT CHEW.

      • Tony

        History:
        1. Several corrupt people were given court orders and they simply left the country. Now Ukrainian authorities take them by helicopter to court on the same day and make sure they dont run away. Obviously an improvement
        2. Dont confuse soviet and corrupt pro-russian authorities with the post Maidan ones, the former are all part of russias corrupt system, the later is moving towards european style systems.

        “Ukrainian authorities aren’t getting better at anything” lol as if rus-brains, corruption perception index, market gas prices, floating exchange rate, public funding of political parties, pro-zorro public procurement, EU visa free, e-declarations, e-petitions, fighting russia to a standstill in the east, police reform, judicial reform, etc. Very few countries in the world can accomplish even half as much in 3 years under favourable conditions never mind in war&recession conditions. Try again rusbot.

  • Murf

    One step at a time Gentlemen.
    The Kleptocracy was never going to go quietly in to the night, they had way to much stake in seeing it’s continuation. They have dug their greedy heels in fighting change at all costs.
    But the future of Ukraine is at stake here. A certain level of corruption is inevitable in a free society. However the level of graft in Pre Maidan Ukraine was chocking the life out of the country.
    Reining in the Kleptocracts is a battle the must be fought with the same determination that the they in maintaining their iron grip on the country.

  • Dirk Smith

    Traitors. Hang them.

  • danram

    On the surface, this would appear to be good news. Maybe these people will be tempted to name others in order to save their own skins.

    But it would have been better if they had been denied bail. I view all of them as major flight risks. If they have really stolen as much as has they are alleged to have stolen, then forfeiting a bail of $450,000 in exchange for freedom in Russia would be a small price to pay.

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      Agreed. It could also be said that detaining these malefactors would be similar to scraping the top of a huge iceberg.

  • Jack Hamilton

    I’m an American living in Ukraine and NOTHING is going to resolve the corruption here anytime soon! The country is compromised mostly liars, thieves and scammers! No integrity, no ethics and no one cares about anything or anyone other than themselves! No one takes pride in common property it in most cases, even their own property! Every store has guards because most Ukrainians will steal anything not nailed down! This regime is no better than the previous and at least the previous Ukraine government wasn’t committing genocide of innocent civilians, including bombing hospitals and schools! If you don’t live here don’t believe the US and MSM propaganda!