Corruption and partners
© 13.03.2014

An article under this title was published today on the Free Tribune website TRUST.UA. Since the information contained in the piece constitutes investigative journalism, we decided to publish it along with our articles. We believe that the facts presented in the article must be verified by the competent authorities.

We are publishing the investigation without edits or cuts.

In recent months, the Ukrainian law enforcement and judicial systems have acted like a lunatic who, having pulled the pin on a grenade in a tiny room, has forgotten that the door is locked from the outside.

Having become involved in an open war against the public, anarchists in epaulettes have set about proving the Ukrainian law enforcement system to be a myth. The police have long been an organization that puts pressure on people and does not protect them. When the police were allocated the role of a thug serving as lookout during the street fights, this was no surprise to the broader public.

The courts, in turn, were not taken aback by the influx of criminal cases initiated against Maidan activists. They had had years to learn how to work with absurd charges, based on false testimony, for years. The system grew accustomed to producing not lawful, but the "right" decisions.

We happen to live in an amazing time when the criminal code has a value expressed in bank notes. The price of quashing a criminal charge and, thus, the prison term stipulated by law, can be calculated according to a simple and cynical formula. The average rate in Ukraine is 1000 dollars for every year of the sentence. The distorted operation of the system is looked after by supervising prosecutors.

Furthermore, it does not matter who actually does the deed. This systemic anarchy exists precisely in the form required by those at the top of its pyramid.

An illustrative example of how the cases are "sewn up" at the highest level, consider the story of Kazakh opposition politician and previously successful businessman Ablyazov.

We briefly remind the reader that Mukhtar Ablyazov - businessman, banker, former minister and politician, has financed the opposition and independent media in Kazakhstan for more than 10 years. In 2009, on the orders of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakh authorities nationalized BTA Bank, in which Ablyazov was the majority shareholder (70% stake) and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Nazarbayev has remained in charge of the country for more than 20 years. When it was nationalized, BTA Bank was the largest bank in Kazakhstan and the largest private bank in the CIS. After the nationalization, which Mukhtar Ablyazov publicly called "government raiding," the Kazakh authorities accused him of fraudulently appropriating six billion U.S. dollars from BTA. Ablyazov denies the allegations and calls the proceedings initiated against him are politically motivated criminal cases. Kazakhstan has been "hunting" for Mukhtar Ablyazov's assets throughout the territory of Russia and Ukraine. To do so, the Kazakh authorities have utilised the nationalized BTA Bank.

In July 2013, Ablyazov was arrested in France and has been held in custody there until the issue of his extradition can be addressed.

Kazakhstan, which wants to try the opposition figure, has no agreement with France for the extradition of prisoners. Ablyazov was arrested on a warrant from the Central Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry in Kyiv. It is noteworthy that the request for Ablyazov’s extradition was filed simultaneously by Ukraine and Russia.

Our interest was piqued and we began our own investigation into who is behind the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's demand for extradition.

We managed to obtain the private correspondence of Senior Investigator of the Investigative Committee of the Central Administration of the Interior Ministry, M.V. Melnyk.

Maxym Melnyk is in charge of the Ukrainian criminal case against Mukhtar Ablyazov, a group of ex-BTA Bank employees and company personnel, to whom investigators tie Ablyazov. For example, Tatiana Paraskevich, who headed the accounting and financial administration of the company Eurasia Investment and Industrial Group, which investigators associate with Ablyazov. She also is accused of embezzling BTA Bank money, as well as conspiring with a "criminal group."

However, the private correspondence revealed many of the investigation's juicy details. In particular, in the course of the investigation of these high profile cases, Investigator Melnyk constantly consults via e-mail with a senior partner at the law firm "Illyashev and Partners," Roman Marchenko, as well as with the latter's colleague, Arseniy Herasymiv. One of Illyashev and Partners' clients in the nationalised BTA Bank. In other words, the investigator consults with a person directly interested in the outcome of the investigation.

By the way, it is worth recalling that this law firm Illyashev and Partners represented the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office in the United Kingdom in an extradition case involving one of Ablyazov's former colleagues, Igor Kononko, in 2012. Nobody was bothered by the fact that Ukrainian legislation prohibits the Prosecutor-General from using Ukrainian law firms as representatives. The PGU did not shy away from violating the law "On the Principles of Preventing and Combating Corruption" and the Law "On the Prosecutor-General's Office."

As for the correspondence of the investigator and private lawyers goes, the very fact of its existence is a big factor in the investigation. How, during a pre-trial investigation can an official discuss the details of an investigation in private correspondence? After all, this is a direct breach of the Criminal Procedural Code in the disclosure of the confidential information in the possession of the investigation. Furthermore, it is clear that the private lawyers are not only entrusted with the details of the investigation, but also direct it, providing advice and even conveying wishes. For example, what they wanted to see in the transcript of questioning of a person involved in the case.

Thus, on December 29, 2011, attorney Arseniy Herasymiv ("Illyashev and Partners") offers investigator Maxym Melnyk his own version of the testimony in the case of Igor Kononko. In the text of the letter, Herasymiv writes that "the attached file contains a draft of the testimony that can be given in respect of Kononko. Have a look to see whether it suits you." In later letters to the investigator, they are already making requests of and issuing instructions to the investigator.

First, Arseniy Herasymiv sent Police Major Melnyk a list of questions to be put to two witnesses during questioning.

Then - almost an order: send a letter to Interpol on placing information on the search for Zharimbetov (another of Ablyazov's colleagues,) and put in an international request to the Czechs for legal support in organising the questioning of Tatiana Paraskevich. In other words, counsel hired by Kazakh BTA Bank is directing the efforts of Ukrainian investigators, using an official state body of Ukraine as a mediator. It is likely that neither BTA Bank itself, nor the Kazakh authorities can make requests to Interpol and, therefore, they are using the Ukrainian investigator to declare wanted non-Ukrainian citizens in cases in which Ukraine has no standing.

The tone of the letters and the awareness of third-party individuals makes it look as though it is not Maxym Melnyk, but the private law firm "Illyashev and Partners" that is running the investigation.

Another illustration of "who's boss.” The letter from the same Arseniy Herasymiv with an instruction from his boss Roman Marchenko to the effect that that the police major and senior police investigator in Kyiv "sign the attached document as a matter of urgency.

" Here, commentary is required: according to Ukrainian legislation, namely - Part 5 of Article 40 of the CPC, all are prohibited from interfering in the work of an investigator, unless clearly provided by the Criminal Procedural Code.

Nobody may demand any action from the investigator other than in the manner prescribed by the CPC. One may not submit draft documents to an investigator or, especially, ask him to sign them.

In addition, what law allows the Ukrainian investigative system to prepare transcripts of questioning in absentia, without the witnesses themselves, and procedural documents to be written at the dictation of individuals formally unrelated to the investigation?

Moreover, the self-interest of the individuals in this investigation is obvious, as evidenced by "Illyashev and Partners" lawyer' correspondence. They discuss among themselves how to best to "sculpt" the case against Paraskevich. They also indicate in a letter, that BTA Bank is behind the Ablyazov case. This is what links the firm's attorneys and those taking an interest in the investigation. Curtain.

Thus, people and structures are concentrated around the Ablyazov case who, under Ukrainian law cannot, in principle, be partners in the course of the criminal investigation. A private law firm, a bank and a person representing the state investigative agency.

Yet Maxym Melnyk is assigned a minor role: everything has been thought through for him. As follows from the letters, he is offered a witness named Rizoyev who, supposedly, will identify the offender Ablyazov, an agreement has already been reached with Rizoyev, and Melnyk does not even have to verify the evidence for adequacy and credibility. The investigation is steered in a direction favourable to the people with an interest. In other words, Ukrainian "epaulettes" are serving the interests of private individuals.

The authorities have been taking conscious advantage of a similar symbiosis for years. It was this, and not Greek tradition, that forces Ukrainian Justice to remain blindfolded. She is ashamed to look people in the eye.

We sincerely believe that the time has finally come that we have begun to rid ourselves of this criminal past with corrupt police officers and servants of Justice.