400 Searches and Dozens of Arrests: Kiev Pursues Tax Officers From the Yanukovych Era

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Ukrainian security forces carried out more than 400 searches at tax bodies in 15 regions of Ukraine within the framework of the one-stage anti-corruption operation. The detainees will be delivered by helicopters to Kiev.

The chief military prosecutor Anatoly Matios reported about this at a briefing on Wednesday at Kiev airport, writes “Interfax Ukraine”.

“At the moment, over 1,700 operatives of the National Police and about 500 military prosecutors are conducting 454 searches on the territory of 15 regions of the state. Simultaneous arrests of a number of people are underway due to the need to bring them to court to choose a preventive measure. With the assistance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Guard, they will be delivered by air and suspicion notices will be issued, to submit to the Kiev Pechersk District Court for consideration our petitions for choosing a preventive measure, i.e. the arrest,” said the prosecutor.

According to Matios, 23 former heads of tax authorities are already detained.

The prosecutor noted that searches in regional tax bodies take place in the framework of the case of tax platforms connected with the former minister of income and fees Aleksandr Klimenko.

“On May 24th, 2016, according to the decision of the public prosecutor, the economic bloc of the criminal organization of Yanukovych was referred for investigation to the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office, part of military productions was already sent to court, the pre-trial investigation of the former minister of income and fees Klimenko has already begun, and he was already prosecuted for over 3 billion of illegally reimbursed VAT,” reminded Matios.

“Now there is an operation concerning the chiefs and deputies of 15 regional departments of the [former] Ministry of Income and Fees, the so-called state tax administrations, which had a direct relationship to the organization of the functioning of the so-called tax platforms, or program companies, or transiters for tax platforms, as a result of which the state was underpaid… 97 billion UAH,” he explained.

Matios reported that the arrival of helicopters with detainees from the East and the South of the country is expected, then they will be brought to the State Office of Public Prosecutor for the notice of charges.

“We found an algorithm of accountability of those who organized and profited from it. The real sector of the economy suffered from it,” he said.

He emphasized that it is only the “first wave of detentions”.

“Within the framework criminal investigation we provide to make responsible the staff of bodies of prosecutor’s office, the staff of bodies of Security service and the staff of bodies of the public tax administration. The state for such billions of hryvnias owing to total enrichment of people who still quietly were in Ukraine was robbed,” reported the chief military prosecutor.

According to Matios, some of the people who are detained in Kiev, were brought to Pechersk District Court for consideration of the question about the election of a measure of restraint in the form of arrest, some of the persons involved were handed their charges.

“Some of the people are being delivered now, in particular the top ones – Dnieper, Kharkov, Odessa, which we very much await — these are people, which now are not at power, but… Now the helicopter will bring the acting head of the Security Service, the same Kurchenko, and his ‘overseer’ responsible for his business – Lieutenant-General Denisyuk,” he added.

Among the detainees is the former head of the Lugansk regional tax body and the former governor of the Lugansk region Valentin Antipov. As was reported, during a search $3.8 million was confiscated from him.

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As a reminder, “Politnavigator” already reported, against the background of these indicative prosecutions of representatives of the former authorities, that representatives of the international organization Transparency International stated that in Ukraine the atmosphere of impunity concerning corruption reigns, and the Ukrainian authorities showed “very insignificant results” in the fight against corruption, and “doesn’t realize how urgent it must be”.

Comment of Oleg Tsarev:

Now in Ukraine a special operation is conducted. About 400 simultaneous searches are being conducted, dozens of arrests, those detained are brought to Kiev by helicopters — in Ukraine the pursuing of tax specialists from the time of Yanukovych has begun.

It is obvious that the multimillion fortunes made by tax officers at the time of Yushchenko and Yanukovych, and also by those who enriched themselves during Poroshenko’s reign, are unlikely to have a legal origin. I know many officials personally who are now involved in new criminal cases. Those who I know worked out the issues with the new authorities back then. They paid a certain amount of money in order to have the opportunity to live and work in Ukraine, without falling under criminal cases connected with old issues. As a rule, it was solved at the local level. The announced special operation will allow in a new way to hold all these officials to tribute. But to pay for their release, they will need to pay centrally. According to preliminary estimates, considering the scale of the special operation, the authorities will be able to collect not just one billion US dollars of corrupt rent in the form of a “payoff” from detainees. Everything that could be squeezed out from business was already squeezed out. Now they started to hunt down officials. The question is in money, and only in money.

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