"Derzhinvestproekt" case: ex-chairman's brother suspected of money laundering through land scheme

27.05.2021 00:00
On May 26, 2021, NABU and SAPO notified the brother of the ex-head of the State Agency for Investment and Management of National Projects (Derzhinvestproekt) of suspicion of organized crime and money laundering. His actions fall under Part 1 Article 255, Part 3 Article 27, Part 4 Article 28, Part 3 Article 209 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. He is the second close relative of the ex-Derzhinvestproekt head involved in a corrupt scheme to misappropriate funds allocated for the implementation of national projects.
The investigation has found that during 2012-2014, Derzhinvestproekt's State Investment Company provided UAH 259.2 million in loans to two private companies allegedly for the implementation of the national projects "Yakisna Voda" (Quality Water) and "Olympic Hope-2022". As established, these companies had signs of fictitiousness and were under the control of the Derzhinvestproekt leadership.
The companies then transferred the money to other non-resident entities. Finally, the funds ended up in the accounts of foreign companies in Cyprus owned by the brother of the former head of Derzhinvestproekt.
Subsequently, these Cypriot companies acquired shares in the authorized capital of Ukrainian LLCs which in 2013-2015 bought from Ukrainian citizens more than 700 land plots in Zakarpattia and Volyn regions with a total area of ​​about 1,000 hectares.
In July 2020, at the request of NABU and SAPO, the High Anti-Corruption Court arrested these land plots.
Due to the fact that the whereabouts of the suspected brother of the ex-Derzhinvestproekt chairman has not been established, he was notified of suspicion in accordance with Art. 135, Art. 278 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine (the notice of suspicion was left at the place of his registration and housing and communal services).
NABU and SAPO are identifying other members of the criminal organization. In particular, communication is underway with the competent authorities of Panama regarding the prosecution of the ex-Derzhinvestproekt head, who was extradited from Panama by the Prosecutor General's Office in 2017 on such terms that NABU and SAPO are currently unable to notify him of suspicion despite the evidence.
As reported, in May 2019, NABU and SAPO completed an investigation regarding 10 persons charged with the misappropriation of UAH 250.2 million allocated for the implementation of national projects. At that time, the investigation had evidence of money laundering - the Derzhinvestproekt funds were transferred to the accounts of non-resident companies, used to purchase a Robinson R44 helicopter and a Viper SD 4 aircraft for the needs of the former Derzhinvestproekt chairman. After taking the case to court, the NABU Detectives continued to investigate the money laundering chain and later found more evidence involving the acquisition of 700 land plots.
According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is considered not-guilty in the commission of a crime and cannot be subject to criminal punishment until he or she is found guilty by court.