Following the motion of the NABU Detectives and SAPO Prosecutors, the High Anti-Corruption Court has arrested the property of the technological complex of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline located on Ukraine's territory. On February 23, 2021, the judge passed a ruling that prohibits the disposal, alienation, and use of facilities and pipeline sections directly involved in the operation of the abovementioned complex.
The relevant property will be transferred to the management of the National Agency for Detection, Investigation, and Management of Assets Obtained from Corruption and Other Crimes (ARMA). These are buildings, structures, pipeline sections, technological objects, etc. located in Zhytomyr, Rivne, Lviv, Zakarpattia Regions. Until ARMA determines the manager of this property, it will be in the responsible custody of Uktransnafta JSC.
The arrest was initiated as part of an investigation into the circumstances of the transfer of the state's ownership of the Ukrainian part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline to business entities that may hail from the Russian Federation.
As reported, since 2017, the NABU Detectives have been investigating the seizure of the Ukrainian part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline by a private Russian enterprise.
This main pipeline was built during the Soviet era and after the proclamation of Ukraine's independence was to become the property of the state based on succession. However, a subsidiary of Russia's Transnefteproduct JSC did not transfer the ownership of the pipeline to Ukraine.
In 2011, the Commercial Court of Rivne Region recognized the state’s ownership of the Ukrainian part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline. In 2014-2015, the Court of Appeal of Rivne Region and the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine upheld this decision. In 2017, the Commercial Court of Rivne Region, based on an untrue expert's report, ruled that the ownership of the Ukrainian part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline belongs to Prikarpatzakhidtrans LLC.
In 2020, a NABU-Security Service of Ukraine joint investigation team was set up. On February 11, 2021, NABU, SAPO, and the Security Service of Ukraine under the procedural guidance of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine notified a Former Deputy Director of the “Ukrainian State Research and Design Institute of Nitrogen Industry and Organic Synthesis Products” SE of abusing office and drawing up an untrue expert's report (Part 3 Article 365-2, Part 2 Article 384 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
The investigation revealed that the expert's report was used in August 2017 by the Commercial Court of Rivne Region to renounce the state’s ownership of the Ukrainian part of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline.
Since 2017, the NABU Detectives have managed not only to gather evidence of illegal seizure of the pipeline but also to study in detail the possibility of returning it to the state. For this purpose, a number of meetings with representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor General, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the State Property Fund of Ukraine was held.
The pre-trial investigation is ongoing.
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.