Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wallowing in corruption

Serhiy Leshchenko of 'Ukrainska Pravda' has shone more light on the Mezhyhirya affair in two recent articles here and here.

Mezhyhirya is a highly desirable former state residence on the banks of the Dnipro river near Kyiv. In recent years it has been 'distributed' between three participants in the following proportions: "Tantalit Limited" (129 hectares), "Renaissance of Ukraine" Charitable Foundation (7.6 hectares) and president Viktor Yanukovych (1.78 hectares). These three parties pay only a minscule nominal rent to the Ukrainian state for the land, which they lease until 2057. No auction or submission of tendering bids ever took place for use of these assets.

Serhiy Leschenko reveals 'Tantalit' is ostensibly owned by two offshore 'nameplate' companies - the Austrian 'Euro East Beteiligungs GmbH', whose founder is a stockbroker from Vienna, and the Liechtenstein 'Blythe (Europa) Ltd', whose founder is an Austrian lawyer.

Nominally, the official registered founders of " Renaissance of Ukraine" are two young ladies from Donetsk, one of whom, its seems, is a student. Currently, construction is in full swing on the charity's land of a large cultural and fitness center with saunas and bowling lanes. Tennis courts, and an underground shooting range are also being built.

'Tantalit' will be building on their patch an entire health and recreation centre; it will include a yacht club, a golf course, and equestrian riding club. Who is to benefit from these facilities is not known. President Yanukovych, who likes to spend as much time as possible at 'Mezhyhirya', proudly declares himself to be a keen tennis player and golfer. He is also very fond of hunting and shooting wild boar.

Yanukovych's paltry 1.78 hectare plot at 'Mezhyhirya' is surrounded by 'Tantalit's and 'Renaissance of Ukraine's properties, but, incredibly he claims he has no relationship to these companies.

In his inauguration address to the VR on Febrary 25th Yanukovych mentioned three times the great problem of corruption in Ukraine. In particular, he said: "The prerequisites for restoration of investors' and international financial institutions' confidence in Ukraine are: ensuring political stability, fighting corruption, establishing clear and, most importantly, permanent rules of relations between the state and business. Providing the first two conditions will be particularly difficult process, but I have enough political will to make them reality."

Has he the political will to reveal who is hiding behind his mysterious neighbours 'Tantalit', and why they benefit from the use of a large expanse of state-owned land whilst paying a tiny fraction of the proper price?

Will the National Anti-corruption Committee, which he set up the day after his inauguration, look into the entire affair? Or will Mezhehirya remain a stinking swamp of corruption in which the president continues to wallow?

1 comment:

Gene said...

I like the two articles, but I hope you're not believing that it won't continue a stinking swamp of corruption.