Officials of the Odesa City Council are suspected of UAH 131 million funds embezzlement

10.06.2020 00:00

On June 10, 2020, the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) under the procedural guidance of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor`s Office (SAPO) gave notices of suspicion to four persons involved in causing UAH 131 million of damages to the territorial community of Odesa.

In 2016, the suspects, in collusion with a number of persons, organized a scheme to purchase real estate at an inflated price.

Among the suspects there are:

  • the Director of the Department of Communal Property of the Odesa City Council - Part 5 Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine;
  • the Head of the Standing Committee of the Odesa City Council - Part 5 Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine;
  • the Head of the Legal Department of the Odesa City Council - Part 5 Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine;
  • the Head and founder of a private company (real estate broker) - Part 5 Article 191, Part 3 Article 209 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

In 2016, the Odesa City Council bought in a private company a non-residential real estate with an area of over 6 thousand sq.m., located on 141 hectares. This plot was in communal ownership. It was planned to increase the area for burial places at the "Zahidne " cemetery in Odesa with this plot. Allegedly based on the results of an independent assessment, the buyback price was set at over UAH 146 million.

However, the examination conducted by the state specialized expert institution in the framework of the investigation of the NABU and the SAPO found that the buyback price was overestimated by more than 10 times (the real value was about UAH 15 million). Accordingly, the data on the basis of which it was determined in 2016 is false.

The owners of the private company legalized UAH 146 million through a number of business entities. They received these funds in 2016 from the Department of Communal Property of the Odesa City Council as payment for buildings and structures.

The investigation revealed that the officials of the Odesa City Council and the representatives of the private company (building owner) acted together, realizing the illegality of the actions. The Military Prosecutor's Office of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine started a pre-trial investigation as of the abovementioned facts in October 2016.   In 2018, the criminal investigation was determined the jurisdiction in the case for the NABU Detectives.

On May 14, 2020, the Head and founder of one of the private company was given a notice of suspicion of legalization of funds received as a result of this corruption crime (Part 3 Article 209 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

On June 2, the Appellate Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court selected a preventive measure for him in a form of UAH 2.5 million bail.

On May 15, 2020, the property appraiser was given a notice of suspicion of involvement in the commission of a crime (Part 1 Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

Other persons involved in the commission of a crime are being established.

 

According to Paragraph 1 of 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.