On July 20, 2020, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) jointly with the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) and District Prosecutor’s Office of Warsaw detained a criminal group led by the Former Acting Head of the State Road Agency of Ukraine (Ukravtodor). The group aimed to receive improper advantage from road management companies. This is the first case in the history of Ukraine when the international joint investigation team has exposed a particularly serious corruption crime. Due to coordinated measures, evidence of corrupt actions of citizens of Ukraine, the Republic of Poland and other countries was collected.
“It is important to note that the experience of the international joint investigation team was realized for the first time. Such cooperation is provided by international law. The investigation considers, that criminal actions began in Ukraine, and ended in Poland with receiving improper advantage (this is what a number of persons are accused of). To collect evidence, it is important to conduct investigative actions simultaneously in two countries. The result that we got today depended on the efficient and quick information exchange between the investigating authorities,” said NABU Director Artem Sytnyk at the briefing.
Three citizens of Poland were detained on the territory of Poland, incl. the Former Acting Head of Ukravtodor. Polish officers gave all of them notices of suspicion in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Poland.
As well, Ukrainian investigators are preparing to give him notice of suspicion of committing crime under Part 4 Article 368 of Criminal Code of Ukraine.
"On behalf of the Polish side, according to the relevant articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Poland, the SAPO Prosecutors and the NABU Detectives are giving notices of suspicion to number of people in Ukraine. They are suspected of participating in a criminal group, bribery, as well as legalizing funds obtained in a criminal way. The citizen of other country has already been given notice of suspicion on giving improper advantage,” said the SAPO Acting Head Maksym Hryshchuk.
The law-enforcement officers are identifying other participants who can be involved in criminal group.
The investigation established that the mentioned criminal group operated during 2016-2019. The Ukravtodor ex-Head involved former acquaintances, both citizens of Ukraine and Poland, in its membership.
The investigation revealed a number of episodes that may indicate receiving of improper advantage by the Ukravtodor management. All these cases are related to decision-making on the use of funds provided by international financial organizations — loans for the Ukrainian roads repairing. The total amount of loan funds used by the criminal group as a pretext for obtaining illegal benefits from companies exceeds EUR 270 million.
The complexity of the investigation was that the Former Head of Ukravtodor used his official position in Ukraine and expressed a request for an improper advantage, but its receiving took place in Poland. The suspects took all possible measures to hide crimes and the illegal origin of funds. As far, they established a number of fictitious companies in Poland, and participants of the procurements of Ukravtodor transferred funds to authorized capital of those companies. The heads of the companies were under control of the Ukravtodor Former Head.
In some cases, the participants of procurements of Ukravtodor had to buy abovementioned companies for the price hundreds times higher than their authorized capital.
The NABU Detectives started investigation in September 2019. In two months the NABU proceeding was joined with investigation of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau of Poland. The European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) provided an international platform for effective coordination of work of two anti-corruption bodies — NABU and the CBA.
According to Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine a person is considered not-guilty in commission of crime and cannot be a subject to criminal punishment, until he or she is found guilty by the court.