On April 6, 2021, an indictment regarding three persons involved in the Krayan Plant corruption scheme was sent to court. These persons are charged with embezzling 92 million UAH from Odesa Сity budget during the purchase of the buildings of the Open Joint Stock Company (OJSC) "Holding Company “Krayan". The actions of all these persons fall under Part 5 Article 191, Part 3 Article 209 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Among the accused there are:
- a person who orchestrated the scheme with a participation of Development Elite LLC;
- two persons who supervised the scheme participants.
One more person (an accomplice, representative of a group of people who had influence on a number of Odesa City Council officials) is wanted, his case being investigated separately.
The total number of accused persons has increased up to 11 (including the Odesa City Mayor, his Deputy and others).
The investigation has revealed that in the period from July to December 2016 the Odesa City Mayor jointly with other officials of the Odesa City Hall and a private company embezzled funds from the Odesa city budget in the amount of UAH 92 million. According to the NABU Detectives, the corruption scheme involved buying a building of the bankrupt Krayan Plant at an inflated price.
The officials then tried to transfer these funds to a fictitious company (the owner of the company is currently hiding in the uncontrolled Luhansk Region). However, the NABU Detectives and the SAPO Prosecutors prevented the attempt to legalize the funds and filed a motion for their arrest.
On January 24, 2020, the abovementioned persons were served with notices of suspicion. On April 17, 2020, the suspects and their lawyers were granted access to the case materials.
The pre-trial investigation into the above facts was launched in November 2016.
In total, 12 people have been prosecuted in the "Krayan Plant case", eight of them being tried at the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC). One participant in the scheme has died and is no longer prosecuted.
The funds seized on the account of Development Elite LLC in the amount of UAH 92 million will be returned to the state budget if the court passes a conviction.
During 2016–2018, the persons involved in the scheme kept trying to withdraw the embezzled funds - complaints from representatives of Development Elite LLC against the seizure of these funds were considered more than 50 times. Each time, the prosecution managed to prove the validity of the arrest.
In 2017, one of the suspects (a person who guided the scheme participants) offered an improper advantage to a NABU employee for lifting the arrest of the LLC's accounts.
In October 2018, the indictment regarding 8 participants in the scheme, including the Odesa City Mayor, was sent to the Malynovsky District Court of Odesa. The court was unnaturally quick to consider the case without taking into account almost all the evidence presented by the prosecution.
The SAPO Prosecutors insisted that the evidence to be fully evaluated and a reasoned decision to be passed.
In February 2021, the Appeals Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court overturned the verdict of the Malynovsky District Court of Odesa, which acquitted the Odesa City Mayor and other participants in the "Krayan Plant case".
In addition, the court overturned the decision to close the proceedings regarding Development Elite LLC.
On March 31, 2021, the first court hearing was scheduled to take place. Judges were unable to begin the hearing due to the absence of two defendants and some defense attorneys. The next meeting is scheduled for April 14, 2021, at 14:00.
At the same time, the NABU Detectives continue to investigate all the circumstances and establish other persons involved in the commission of the crime.
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.