On July 31, 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 six persons. They organized a scheme under which Arkona Gas-Energy LLC received the right to use the subsoil of the Svistunkivsko-Chervonolutsky gas condensate field (located in Poltava Region) at an artificially low cost. As a result, the State lost UAH 196.8 million, which the LLC had to pay for the obtaining of a special subsoil use permit.
Among the suspects, there are:
- the Former Deputy Director for Production, Economics and General Affairs of the Ukrainian State Geological Research Institute (UKRSGRI);
- the Former Head of the sector of geological and economic assessment of the resource base of oil and gas of the Department of geological and economic assessment of UKRSGRI;
- the expert of the State Commission of Ukraine of Mineral Reserves and the Director of Project-Naftogaz LLC;
- the Former Director of Arkona Gas-Energy LLC;
- the Leading Engineer of Project-Naftogaz LLC;
- the Main Engineer of Project-Naftogaz LLC.
The actions of suspects are qualified under Part 2 Article 28, Part 2 Article 364 (“Abuse of office”); Part 2 Article 28, Part 2 Article 366 (“Forgery in Office”); Part 2 Article 28, Part 1 Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Other persons involved in the commission of a crime are being established.
The investigation revealed that in 2016 Arkona Gas-Energy LLC repeatedly and unsuccessfully applied to the State Commission of Ukraine of Mineral Reserves to get a special permit to use the subsoil of the Svistunkivsko-Chervonolutsky gas condensate field without holding an auction. The government reconsidered their decision after the composition LLC owners changed.
In April 2017, the Poltava Regional Council agreed to grant a special permit for the geological study of the field for Arkona Gas-Energy LLC without holding an auction. Further the abovementioned persons created a plan to reduce the amount of the fee for the issuance of a special permit. They identified non-existent indicators of project gas and condensate production, capital investment, operating costs and depreciation deductions. As a result, the initial sale price of the special permit was UAH 3.8 million. The initial cost is considered to be UAH 200.6 million. The difference between the costs of the special permit is UAH 196.8 million that is the damage caused to the State budget of Ukraine.
The NABU Detectives started a pre-trial investigation as of the facts in March 2018 based on an application filed by the Member of Parliament Vitaliy Kupriy and the plot of the journalistic investigation program "Schemes".
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.