Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk has said that the next year will show whether the anti-corruption processes in Ukraine will become irreversible.
“Today, all anti-corruption bodies work together and are fused in some way, complement each other. We have reached the highest level of our work in cooperation,” Sytnyk said on Thursday in Kyiv at the Seven Years of Anti-Corruption Reforms conference, timed to coincide with the International Anti-Corruption Day.
According to him, work with international partners has also been established.
“We will continue to work not only with punitive methods, but with methods that are aimed at preventing corruption, at fostering zero tolerance for corruption in society,” Sytnyk said.
At the same time, the director of NABU said that it is too early to assert about the inevitability of anti-corruption processes in Ukraine.
“In the next year, I think we will receive an answer whether the anti-corruption reform in Ukraine is irreversible, whether the results we are getting in very difficult conditions are irreversible,” he said.
According to Sytnyk, for seven years there have been constant attempts to limit the powers of anti-corruption bodies, to deprive them of their powers. “Each anti-corruption body that starts to work actively always receives some kind of decisions – by the parliament or the Constitutional Court – aimed at depriving them of their powers,” the NABU director said.
“We are not stopping our struggle. And, despite the fact that the anti-corruption system is now experiencing a change of leadership, – now it concerns the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, and in the near future it will concern the anti-corruption bureau – I believe that the system itself is formed, effective, institutionally independent and ready for further action,” Sytnyk said.
At a hearing on January 20, 2021, the Pechersky District Court of the Kyiv granted a petition of Ihor Kolomoisky in the case of a businessman’s claim against PrivatBank and other persons for humiliation of his honor and dignity and allowed him to demand the results of independent investigation by the detective agency Kroll Associates UK Limited from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU).
According to a report in the unified public register of court rulings, the results include a printed report of financial forensic investigation and 15 annexes to it. The documents must be provided to the court before February 15.
Teamtrend Ltd., Trade Point Agro Ltd., Collyer Ltd., Rossyn Investing Corp., Milbert Ventures Inc. and Ukrtransitservices Ltd., which are allegedly owned or controlled by Kolomoisky and Hennadiy Boholiubov, joined the respective petition.
At the same time, the Kyiv court of appeals on January 21, 2021 overturned the decision of the Pechersky District Court of Kyiv made on August 20, 2020 to protect the honor, dignity and business reputation of Kolomoisky and refute the information disseminated by Anders Aslund, former senior fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics (the United States) at the Yalta European Strategy economic forum in 2019.
The subject of the dispute, as indicated in the text of the document, was the following words: “The President should not meet with Kolomoisky. Only in court is it necessary to meet with the man who stole $5.5 billion…” and “…why is he not being tried?.. why is there no criminal case against the thief?.. because the thief stole too much?”
According to the National Bank of Ukraine, as of October 1, 2020, PrivatBank ranked first in terms of total assets (UAH 600.15 billion) among 74 banks operating in the country.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) under the procedural direction of the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) have detained Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) of Ukraine Yuriy Hrymchak and his assistant for soliciting a $1.1 million bribe.
As reported on Wednesday on the NABU Facebook page, the deputy minister and his assistant were exposed and detained on suspicion of committing a crime under Part 4 of Article 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (fraud committed in respect of an especially gross amount, or by an organized group).
“The indicated persons, allegedly for exerting influence on decision-making by persons authorized to fulfill the functions of the state, demanded unlawful benefit from the representative of a legal entity in the total amount of $ 1.1 million,” the NABU reported.
According to the bureau, the official and his assistant were caught red-handed while receiving part of the funds in the amount of $480,000.
The SBU press center on a Facebook page said that the criminal proceedings are being investigated by a joint investigation team consisting of representatives of the NABU, SBU and prosecutors of the process management department of the procedural management department in criminal proceedings on crimes of a special category of the PGO.
Earlier that day, the SBU press service reported that Hrymchak’s home was being raided.
Head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Artem Sytnyk and Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) Nazar Kholodnytsky are expecting the launch of the High Anti-Corruption Court and hope the Verkhovna Rada will adopt a number of bills that are important for the work of anti-corruption authorities.
At a press conference in Kyiv on Friday, Sytnyk emphasized that it is necessary to return criminal liability for illegal enrichment, as well as resolve the situation that developed after the decision of the Constitutional Court on depriving the NABU of the right to file claims under agreements in criminal proceedings.
“There is an option on how to return these powers to the NABU and the SAPO. Therefore, I hope that with the start of work of the new parliament, these bills will be adopted,” Sytnyk said.
The NABU director expressed hope that the anti-corruption court will begin its work on time, on September 5.
“We have developed a sufficiently large baggage of cases, which is now awaiting its decision in courts,” he said.
“I hope that the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court will be amended in terms of eliminating the risks of blocking its work by a very large number of cases,” the NABU director said.
On June 14, 2018, the administrative buildings and terminals of Kyiv International Airport named after Igor Sikorsky was blocked by National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) personnel equipped with automatic weapons. From 10:00 a.m. on June 14 to 05:00 a.m. on June 15, during the 19 hours, the management of municipally owned Kyiv International Airport and the Master-Avia company, including the heads of departments, and senior employees, were kept in their own offices without any means of communication and the possibility of coordinating the work of the airport. As a result, the work of both the municipal company and the Master-Avia private company, which is engaged in the development and maintenance of the airport, was blocked.
NABU’s operation resulted in the inability to prevent an accident that occurred with a plane operated by the BRAVO airlines, which performed the Antalya-Kyiv flight. During landing amid a violent storm, the airplane carrying 169 passengers aboard overshot runway and landed on its belly. The situation was complicated by the increased threat of an explosion: there were four tonnes of aviation fuel on board, there was a threat to the lives and health of the passengers. At that time, the airport’s management, which was, in fact, hostage to the security forces, was not able to take measures that are appropriate to that weather condition. Only thanks to the coordinated work of the airport’s rescue services, the situation was under control and nobody was injured as a result of the incident. This was the first case registered within 94 years of the airport’s work.
The airport’s management did not publish the details of the incident before because of the investigation of the aviation event by a special commission. However, as there is a probability that raids and other investigative measures may continue, the team of Kyiv International Airport considers it is their duty to warn that in case of new attempts to block the airport’s work by the security forces, it will suspend handling flights for the sake of the safety of passengers and crews. The safety of passengers remains a priority for the company.
Currently, the airfield and runway are on the balance sheets of municipally owned International Airport Kyiv. Master-Avia owns terminals and an apron. There was no reason for the use of force: the company’s activities are open and transparent, the management is always ready for constructive interaction with the control authorities and for required procedures. However, instead of asking for the necessary documentation, the Bureau’s agents chose a different path – the seizure of buildings, keeping the management and personnel without means of communication, searches both at the airport and in apartments in the top managers, seizure of documents and things, including personal ones, the blocking of activity and communications in the strictly policed security facility. Such actions by state authorities negatively affect the airport’s safety and the investment attractiveness of Ukraine.
Kyiv International Airport operates strictly in accordance with international and Ukrainian legislation and today it is one of the largest taxpayers in the capital among municipally owned enterprises. Master-Avia has invested more than $50 million in the creation of new airport infrastructure, and still spends all available resources on the repayment of a loan and the development of the only international airport located directly in Kyiv.
In 2010, an investment tender was held under the government program for the development of Ukrainian aviation infrastructure Master-Avia LLC won the tender. The company has concluded an agreement for the lease of the airport’s property for 49 years. The second bidder, a company with Russian roots, unsuccessfully challenged the results of the tender in courts of all instances.
Today, Kyiv International Airport, being operated by Master-Avia, cooperates with more than 40 airlines, performing flights to 140 cities in 48 countries. Every month, about 2,500 flights are operated, and almost two million passengers are served annually. Investment in the airport exceeds $50 million. More than 10,000 jobs have been created. Kyiv International Airport is the second largest taxpayer among municipally owned companies.