Two days after Yevhen Shcherban and his wife's assassination at Donetsk airport, Voldymyr Shcherban's son quite disgracefully withdrew over $2 million from a US business account of a company run by Yevhen's wife Nadia Nikitin - money to which the Shcherban's two orphaned boys may well have had good claim to.
This callous action was an indicator of what was to come.
Eventually the two boys were taken under the wing of another business partner of the late Shcherban's, one Yuriy Dedukh [or Didukh].
Meanwhile the vast portion of their late father's assets, [who was probably the richest man in Ukraine at that time], were being divided up with unseemly haste between his so-called friends and partners in Donbas with little thought of making sure the late Yevhen's inheritors received their rightful share.
Dedukh's name had earlier been linked by law enforcement agencies with the activites of and Estonian firm 'Kolser' through which Yevhen Shcherban laundered money.
Dedukh allegedly had close ties with the first founder of "Shcherban's Aton", Igor Markulov and with a US citizen Paul Tetum who helped Markulov and Shcherban to secure a $50 million loan guaranteed by the Ukrainian government for "Aton". Tatum was with Shcherban in Moscow for pop singer Yosyp Kobzon's birthday party, where they had a very agreeable meeting. Just after this both were shot dead - Shcherban was killed in the Donetsk airport, and Tatum in Moscow - both on the same day.
Dedukh and Yevhen Shcherban's son, Yevhen Jr. eventually came back to Donetsk, probably to salvage what they could of the remains of the late Yevhen Shcherban's assests; but on 22nd September 1997 the vehicle in which they were travelling was shot up, and a bodyguard killed.
A highly placed police general announced in a newspaper article: "Had Dedukh not appeared there would not have been even one similar shooting in the oblast. You judge, in 1994 there were over 20 such shootings; this year, just three. More such ordered hits will not take place this year: Dedukh has gone from Donbas." What starker warning could there be: Don't come back, or else....
The police general was correct in one matter. By this time the cycle of killings that wreaked havoc in the region through the middle of the decade had ended. The governor was now Viktor Yanukovych, and Rinat Akhmetov was undisputed 'king of Donbas'. Lazarenko was in political opposition and Tymoshenko in parliament developing a political career.
In a 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya interview' days after the assassination attempt on Dedukh and Yevhen Jr. the latter was asked: Who of the current politicians in the Donetsk oblast, ex-governor Volodymyr Shcherban, mayor of Donetsk [current VR speaker Volodymyr Rybak] or today's governor [Yanukovych] supported you in those days [following the death of your father]?
He replies: "Nobody..Basically it was [just] dad's business friends."
The logical conclusion is: those who carved up Yevhen Shcherban's assets did so ruthlessly, greedily and just as fast as they could, and to hell with his remaining family.
In the same interview Yevhen Jr. was asked: 'There is an opinion that your father prevented the penetration of structures from Dnipropetrovsk into the Donetsk territory. Could you confirm this?"
He replies: "I don't think that there was any obstacle to structures from Dnipropetrovsk. On the contrary, it was a case of uniting efforts.."
He confirmed the view that by the time of his death, Yevhen Shcherban and Lazarenko and Tymoshenko had a good working relationship. Certainly no motive for killing his father Yevhen...
p.s. A final thought. Who would attempt a spectacular assassination attempt inside a heavily guarded, high security environment, such as an airport?
The story above does in no way prove 'Donetski' were responsible for Yevhen Shcherban's killing - but it gives an insight into the rapacious and lawless business culture that existed, particularly in that region. It seems that it was they who benefited most from the 'carve-up' of Shcherban's vast wealth...
'Donetski', the same individuals, now dominate contemporary Ukrainian politics, law enforcement agencies and judiciary...
The current Shcherban murder trial is a banal attempt to cleanse the past and at the same time destroy president Yanukovych's deadliest foe.