Thursday, October 27, 2011

All crooks at the top

'Ukrainska Pravda' has run several articles lately exposing corruption at the top of Ukraine's Mount Olympus. Here's a precis of what they say:

First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev heads a Government Commission for funding investment projects. One of the first decisions made this body on his appointment was to allocate state aid of about $ 25 million to a semiconductor factory in Zaporizhzhya earmarked for the development of solar power plants.

The main shareholder of the factory with a share of 75 percent, is the Vienna-based "Activ Solar GmbH" - it has been linked many times with Klyuyev himself.

Klyuyev's son-in-law, Kaveh Ertefai from Dubai, is a director. His son Bohdan is a business development manager at the company. Amongst its founders is "Slav Beteiligung GmbH" which is owned by the Kluyev brothers on a 50-50 basis. Slav Beteiligung's offices are in the same building as those of Activ Solar in Vienna.

The secretive end-owners of Activ Solar are a mysterious Leichtenstein-based company, 'P&A Corporate Trust', 1 Stocklerweg, Vaduz.

A major portion of Yanukovych's palatial 'Mezhyhirya' residence, as well as hunting lodges and large expanses of forest near Kyiv, are owned by London-registered Blythe (Europe) Ltd which in turn owns 35% of the Kyiv 'Tantalit' company. The director and nominated share holder of Blythe (Europe) Ltd is the same 'P&A Corporate Trust' registered at the same address in Leichtenstein.

Wikileaks reveals that Klyuyev and Yanukovych were almost certainly close business partners in the past. Is it possible they still are? The president 'plugged' the Zaporizhzhya factory in his scandalously plagiarised book, and actively promoted the sale of its solar panels during a recent visit to Greece.

Two years ago Yanukovych sold Klyuyev his Kyiv apartment for a grossly inflated price of $7m.

When Europeans decide whether to grant Associate Membership to Ukraine, or not, later this year, apart from the persecution of Tymoshenko, Lutsenko and others, these matters, as well as those I've recently blogged about, will be borne in mind as they vote.. No-one wants to invite pick-pockets to their house-party.

p.s. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry welcomed today's resolution [which was supported by all factions in the European Parliament] calling it: "A great victory." One PoR deputy called it "absolutely normal" and claimed "the main credit for this resolution should go to president Viktor Yanukovych". A few more victories like that ...

LEvko's view is that the EU's 'red lines' are very clear; all these statements are groundwork for internal consumption intended to shift blame elsewhere when the deal goes 'belly up'...

p.p.s. "One of the reasons the EU has reacted so harshly is they feel they've been hoodwinked twice by Yanukovych," said Andrew Wilson, a senior policy fellow with the London-based European Council on Foreign Relations. "The EU is entirely right to have taken the tough line with Ukraine. And in many ways they can and should be even tougher. Yanukovych's biggest problem in dealing with the EU is his belief that the rest of the world is as cynical as he is.
"Ukraine is always said to be at a crossroads, and because of this miscalculation, now they actually are."

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