On Feb. 18, 2019, an indictment against Oleksandr Onyschenko, Ukrainian MP and the organizer of a scheme to embezzle state funds during natural gas production and sale under joint venture agreements with Ukrgazvydobuvannia PJSC, was sent to the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv. The investigation of the financial director of the enterprises controlled by the MP and involved in the scheme has also been completed.
The MP is charged with crimes under Part 1 Art. 255, Part 5 Art. 191, Part 2 Article 205, Part 2 Article 205-1, Part 2 Article 364-1, Part 2 Article 366, Part 3 Article 209, Part 1 Art. 263, Part 1 Art. 388 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The financial director is charged with crimes under Part 1 Article 255, Part 5 Article 191, Part 2 Article 205, Part 2 Article 205-1, Part 3 Article 209 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Should the court pass a guilty verdict, the above persons shall face imprisonment for a term of 7 to 15 years with confiscation of property.
1 million cubic meters of gas, EUR 6 million, 1 real estate object (an office unit), 1 plane and other property were seized at the motion of NABU and can be confiscated in favor of the state to compensate for damages incurred by the actions of the suspects.
According to the investigation, MP Oleksandr Onyschenko is the organizer and boss of a criminal organization that in the period from January 2013 to June 2016 embezzled more than UAH 1.6 billion received from the sale of natural gas. Such actions caused Ukrgazvydobuvannia PJSC (100% state-owned) to lose over UAH 740 million.
In total, the investigation has established 29 participants in the scheme. They include two close persons who acted as co-organizers. The rest are employees of Ukrgazvydobuvannia, a lawyer, financiers, company executives, etc.
During the pre-trial investigation, eight suspects pleaded guilty and took plea deals. The investigation into the role of another 15 people (including the MP and financial director) has also been completed: indictments against them have been referred to court. Six suspects, including the organizer of the corruption scheme, are wanted.
The so-called "gas scheme" case was opened in 2015 and became one of NABU's first criminal proceedings. This is one of the most high-profile exposures in the history of independent Ukraine, given the status of organizers and participants in the scheme, the number of people involved, the amount of damage caused to the state.
According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine, a person is considered non-guilty in the commission of a crime and cannot be subject to criminal punishment until he or she is found guilty by court.