Katerina Sergatskova ~ Hromadske.UA
31 May 201
‘Petro Poroshenko Bloc’ Verkhovna Rada MP Serhiy Leshchenko and Ukrainska Pravda Editor-in-Chief Sevgil Musayeva-Borovik have published some of the documents from the Party of Regions’ ‘black account,’ which they received from an anonymous source.
Earlier, on May 27th, ex-Chief of Main Directorate ‘K’ of the SBU General Viktor Trepak handed over most of the ‘black account’ to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. According to his statement, a criminal case arose under article 369 of the Criminal Code – ‘offer, promise or giving of undue advantage to an official.’ Hromadske has analyzed the data contained in the documents and briefly describes the essence of it.
What is important in these documents?
In the documents that Leshchenko has at his disposal is information about $66 million paid from the Party of Regions’ general purse over six months in 2012, except for the period from the beginning of October to the 23rd of November, when there was an electoral campaign for the Verkhovna Rada [parliament ~ Ed.].
A large part of these funds was devoted to the remuneration of officials of the Central Election Commission (CEC), to commissioned publications and videos in regional and national media (among them Facts and Comments, for $13,791), and on the Inter and ICTV television channels, as well as the financing of the Communist Party and the ‘Our Ukraine’ party. Among other expenses was $67,000 as advance payment for hours.
According to former SBU employee Trepak, the total expenditures of the Party of Regions (PR) on political corruption amounted to about $2 billion. According to him, dozens of high-level officials were involved in this chain of hundreds of actors.
Who do we see among the recipients of the money?
Among the defendants in the ‘black accounts’ you can see ex-Minister of Justice Olena Lukash, ex-Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara, current CEC Chief Mikhail Ohendovsky, ‘Renaissance’ Party MP and Verkhovna Rada Budget Committee member Yevhen Geller, spin doctor Konstantin Bondarenko, Aleksey Mustafin and Vladimir Granovsky.
There are several interesting ‘agreements’ with the ‘black accounts.’ According to the documents, ex-MP Olena Lukash, as Minister of Justice, received $83,000 in ‘payments to departments of the CEC.’ Current CEC Chief Mikhail Ohendovsky, as a member of the CEC in 2012, received $15,000 for a ‘business trip.’ MP Yevhen Geller, who is known to be close to Rinat Akhmetov [Ukraine’s richest man ~ Ed.], received $3,530,000 during this period.
The Rada bribery cases also deserve attention. For example, ex-MP Andrei Davydenko received $160,000 from the formulation ‘members of the coalition,’ and former Party of Regions MP Vitaly Kalyuzhny received $1.2 million for ‘votes for the budget.’
The Party of Regions spent large amounts on public relations. Spin doctor Vladimir Granovsky signed for the receipt of $2 million for an advertisement on Inter, and V. A. Bessarab – $1,450,000 for advertising on ICTV. The Party of Regions also paid for fake sociological studies: Donetsk sociologist Yevgeny Kopatko received $222,500 for this.
Also interesting is how the PR funded its rallies. In the documents are signatures for money allocated for picketing in the Podol and Shevchenko districts of the capital through A.V. Feoktistov. $45,520 was spent on a rally for the ‘language law of Kolesnichenko-Kivalov,’ which was voted for on July 4th, 2012.
What is a ‘black account’?
There are several different definitions of ‘black account.’ The most common of these is financial and economic processes that are hidden from the state, bypassing taxes. In these processes are included the payment of wages ‘in envelopes’ and not taken into account in official cash accounting. Working with ‘black accounting’ is covered by the Criminal Code.
According to Serhiy Leshchenko, ‘the means for political corruption, the cost of bribing officials and government officials, including members of the CEC, and illegal promotion of the Party of Regions in the media were taken from the state budget of Ukraine and illegal transactions.’
How did Leshchenko and Trepak come into possession of the documents? Should we believe them?
Leshchenko has said that the documents were received from an anonymous source. Victor Trepak also does not name sources.
Indeed, are the people Leshchenko is talking about identified by surname in the published documents? Opposite each name is the signature of the person receiving the graft, and they can be compared with the signatures in the public domain:
‘The signature of MP Kalyuzhny, who headed the parliamentary committee for international relations according to the PR quota, coincides with his signature in other sources—for example, in the protocol of the counting commission of the Verkhovna Rada.
‘Also, identical signatures of MP Demidko are in the ‘ledger’ and in the same protocol. If you compare the signatures of former MP Igor Rybakov, credited with the receipt of $50,000 “for voting in the Verkhovna Rada,” with his declaration of income, you can see identical signatures,’ says Leshchenko.
Why is publication of the ‘black account’ important?
For many, the published data is not new, although they do give an idea of how and to what extent officials, the media and spin doctors received ‘black’ resources from the party of power. For example, it is possible to reach a conclusion concerning how the election of 2012 was bought, when Mikhail Ohendovsky was a member of the Central Election Commission, which he now heads.
According to Victor Trepak, the materials of the Party of Regions’ ‘black account’ allow for the analysis of the communications of representatives of the current government with their predecessors, as well as their direct relationships during the demonstrations on the Maidan. According to him, representatives of the current authorities have not severed relations with their predecessors through the ‘business community and political project in which they participated together, or even of which they were founders’:
‘Attracting public attention to the fact of the presence of such material is considered not only justified, but also very necessary. Given the current politicization of law enforcement, public disclosure of such material is almost the only guarantee that they will be implemented in accordance with the law. Otherwise, they can do whatever they like with them: apply a selective approach to their legal assessment; sell them to those to whom they refer; use them as incriminating evidence or as an object of political bargaining. Therefore, consideration of these materials must be put under public control,’ says Trepak.
Some of the figures in the published documents, who have agreed to comment on the publication, deny receipt of funds from the Party of Regions. So, MP Yevgeny Geller says he hasn’t read the published documents, but ‘they are falsifications,’ according to Ukrainian News, and CEC Chairman Mikhail Ohendovsky says that he never took a bribe during his tenure at the CEC, reports Interfax-Ukraine.
Political analyst Vladimir Granovsky denies having received $2 million from the ‘black cashier’ of the Party of Regions. He stated this in comments made to the Schemes program.
Aleksey Mustafin told Hromadske of his participation in the publicized documents: ‘My name in this publication can’t be news, as I said publicly in 2012 that I had reached an agreement with the PR to provide media consultation. At that time, I took a formal leave of absence from work and served as a journalist.’