Thursday, March 17, 2011

More on 'UkrTelecom' fix

Investigative journalist Tetyana Chornovil, in an article in "Leviy Bereg", provides more circumstantial evidence that the privatisation sale of 'UkrTelecom' to Epic Service Ukraine (ESU) for $1.3Bn [see previous blog] is, most likely, a fix*.


The CEO of Ukrtelecom at the time of sale, Heorgiy Dzekon, and the director of ESU, Illya Solodovskiy, are neighbours in the posh, [what the British call stockbroker belt] village of Lisnyky, near Kyiv. This pair, together with one Ihor Zimin, the father of VR deputy Yevhen Zimin who is head of the parliamentary committee on telecommunications and postal communications, jointly own land together through their company 'Novi Lisnyky'.

The younger Zimin, even though he is a BYuT VR deputy, is considered to be close to Serhiy Lyovochkin, head of the president's administration.

In 2004, when Heorhiy Dzekon was appointed head of 'UkrTelecom', the company was making 759 Million hryven profit. Since then, Tetyana Chornovil alleges the company has been systematically run down and devalued, i.e. "prepared for privatisation", by Dzakon. It is now in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.

Dzakon and Lyovochkin go back a long way. They can allegedly be heard on recordings, revealed by Oleh Rybachuk, plotting to tap into the electoral commission network to rig the 2004 presidential election results.

There is some hope though - questions are to be asked in parliament on Friday..

p.s. There are nine telecoms companies in the world bigger that Microsoft and bigger than ArcelorMittal, the biggest steel company in the world. Telecoms is a big deal all right, now and for the future.

*fix - Informal . to arrange or influence the outcome or action of,especially privately or dishonestly..

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