Thursday, February 23, 2006

Corruption, Ukrainian-style

"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes..
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied".....
Lyrics to "Everybody knows" ..Leonard Cohen

More information on the Irpin National State Tax Academy affair [on which I posted a couple of items previously] is provided on the Oligarch website, and reminded me of the Leonard Cohen song above. What a tangled web of corruption...

Petro Melnyk was sacked from his position of rector of the Ukrainian National State Tax Service Academy by its head Alexandr Kiryeev on 17th May 2005, for abusing his position and for financial irregularities. No criminal charges were made because the Prosecutor-General at the time was Sviatoslav Piskun - who also happened to be Melnyk's 'kum' [god-parent to his children, i.e. almost 'family']. Melnyk subsequently legally challenged the sacking, and was reinstated on the orders of a Kyiv court.

According to 'Oligarch' Melnyk had appropriated land formerly used as a Pioneer camp belonging to the academy, as well as a coffee shop that is now run by his sister. He had also provided himself with an Audi 8 company car from academy funds.

Piskun was fired from the position of P-G of Ukraine in October 2005 by Pres. Yushchenko, so Melnyk lost his 'krysha'. The head of the Academy Kiryeev appointed a new rector, Volodymyr Zahorskyi who - get this - is his 'kum!' The new management were seen later carrying out a safe and important documents from the academy.

Melnyk got a court to annul his sacking because he was signed off sick at the time, and according to Ukrainian law, could not be legally dismissed. [A commonly used loop-hole - reminds me of sick-notes at school]

He and his Partiya Regioniv pals then forced their way back into the academy last Monday. Now he claims that there was $250,000 in cash in the safe which has gone missing, the money apparently 'belonging to the 'Deka' marketing, research and consulting company, of which Melnyk was co-founder'.

Local police don't want to get involved because, 'After the 26th March, Melnyk will be elected deputy to the new Parliament', and will be 'fire-proof' - Parliamentary deputies being automatically provided with immunity from prosecution. Melnyk's 'kum' former P-G Piskun will probably be elected to the Ukrainian Parliament on the PR's list too, and no-one wants to 'fall out' with PR big shots right now because they may well be in power again after the elections.

As a post-script, here's something from the 'Maidan' website last October about the sacking by Piskun, of Oleh Levytskyy, Chief prosecutor of the Kirovohrad region, and others :

"Levytskyy is convinced that the main reason for the sackings is a criminal case opened recently which impinges on the business interests of senior state officials. He is quoted as saying: "The Kirovohrad Region prosecutor's office has encroached upon the business of the wife of Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Piskun, of the wife of the head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, [Vasyl] Malyarenko, of the wife of the former minister and chief of the State Tax Administration, [Mykola] Azarov, as well of a relative of the prosecutor-general of Ukraine."

Update: The saga continues: In a piece on the 5-iy kanal website head of State Tax Administration Oleksandr Kiryeev told journalists that his children were not christened for a long while and he isn't anyone elses 'kum'. 50 private security men are protecting Melnyk, who has already fired ten or more lecturers and other staff at the academy. Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs have opened a case against Melnyk for hooliganism.

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