Sunday, May 06, 2012

Corruption at the Euros

Today's 'Sunday Telegraph' in London runs a story "Euro 2012 should be investigated for corruption, says Yulia Tymoshenko - Ukraine's controversial Euro 2012 should be investigated, says jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko"

Few western media sources have picked up [so far] on the massive scams being operated by members of Yanukovych's 'banda', in connection with the Euro 12 tournament, but below is a [Google-translated] recent story  from the public service Danish Broadcasting Corporation, DR, on this topic.

[They also produce superb TV dramas, including the  widely acclaimed 'Borgen' political drama.]

Revealed Corruption at Football Championship
P1 Documentary 03 May 2012 at. 14:03 on P1
Mark Rachkevych is a journalist at the newspaper Kyiv Post in Ukraine's capital. He was born and raised in America, but his grandparents come from Ukraine, and some years after the country became independent in 1991, Mark moved Rachkevych to Kiev. Here he works as an investigative journalist, and in recent years he has written a series of articles about corruption in the country's preparations for the European Football Championship.

In total, invested nearly 100 billion dollars to make Ukraine ready for EM. According to Mark Rachkevych planners originally hoped that 80 percent of the money would come from private investment - more tax money. However, it has been found to be reversed. 80 percent of the money has come from public coffers.

In the four host cities - Kiev, Donetsk, Lviv and Karkiv - had to build new stadiums. But in the years after the country was hosting in 2007 it went very slow with the investment. UEFA chief Michael Platini aired publicly the possibility of Ukrainian was stripped of hosting. In spring 2010 the government created a Ministry of Infrastructure to time in the preparations. The new minister - Boris Kolesnikov - arguing for the reasonableness of that most money for the new building came from the public purse.

- Since the Ministry of Infrastructure was established in 2010, they put forward the argument that these investments will be well spent, partly because they will benefit Ukraine AFTER Championship is over, says Mark Rachkevych to P1 Documentary.

To get started in building the Ministry decided that it would put many construction projects out to tender. You would - via closed betting rounds - hand pick the companies that would be responsible for the construction including the four stadiums, airports and miles of roads. And it meant that millions of dollars have disappeared, says Mark Rachkevych

- I have found that they can not account for how a lot of public money has gone. I have talked to several companies, which says that when companies get a contract awarded, it is quite normal that they have to pay 35 to 50% in kickbacks.

Many buildings have become very expensive. As an example, Mark Rachkevych to a company that normally makes manhole covers in plastic, was awarded a contact to build ten wooden benches for a metro state ion in Kiev. When Mark Rachkevych investigated Agreement, he discovered that the price for each of the simple benches was 45,000 dollars - equivalent to new price for an ordinary car in Ukraine.

The new stadiums have also left more than they are worth. Ukraine's National Audit Office has determined that the new stadium in Kharkiv has cost 150 million dollars for much. Also the new Olympic stadium in Kiev was too expensive, says Mark Rashkevich. Total price $ 600 million. Nearly $ 150 million than the equally large, the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Both the stadium can accommodate 69,000 spectators and resemble each other a lot.

Mark Rachkevych underwent construction together with experts who considered that it should cost between 300-400 million. The Olympic stadium has been nicknamed Boris-Arena after Boris Kolesnikov, Minister for Infrastructure, the heads of the many new buildings.
The contracting firm AK Engineering, who has been behind the new Olympic Stadium. It turned out that Boris Kolesnikovs lawyer was involved in the company resulting from the minister's hometown, Donetsk. Documents showed that AK Engineering had signed contracts with apparently fictitious companies.

- When you look at the companies that have won these closed betting rounds, then they come mostly from Donetsk. This is where both the president and the minister for infrastructure comes from. And when you try to follow the tracks of these companies, so they lead to offshore companies including Belize and Cyprus with secret owners, said Mark Rachkevych.

Throughout the process, Mark Rachkevych worked with journalists from other Eastern European countries in the network Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Together they revealed that the company Altkom from Donetsk has been awarded contracts to several 100 million dollars to build roads. Who owns the company is unclear.

For the journalists found out that Altkom is owned by a shell company in England - Eurobalt Limited. whose chief executive is a female yoga instructor in Cyprus. When Mark Rachkevych contacted the woman, he was told that she has nothing to Eurobalt and Altkom to do. But she gets $ 534 a month to be the front man - or woman.

When Mark Rachkevych wrote the revealing stories he told Boris Kolesninov for an interview. The Minister dismissed all charges and said he just tried to have stay at the previous government's negligence, then the country may be ready for EM the 2012th Therefore, you have to pay the price. Mark Rachkevych could not prove who is ultimately served over prices. But in the days after the articles were printed was Mark Rachkevych several calls from the minister.

- He began to threaten me, he said he would destroy me, he would destroy the Kyiv Post, I sue, I know where you're from, you do not like the Ukraine, you are Ukraine's enemy, he says.
Mark Rachkevych shot two of the talks. And he told both his employer - and the U.S. Embassy - about the threats, which made a deep impression on him.

- He spoke like a criminal, he spoke Russian gangster and I did not sleep for several nights. I started taking different routes to and from work and I was paranoid about my phone was tapped. I was really, really afraid for my life, because I know what can happen with critical journalists in Ukraine. They can get chopped off head, says Mark Rashkevich

In 2000, journalist Georgy Gondadze murdered after he had written stories about corruption in their administrations. His body found without the head, police investigation concluded that it was suicide. But Marc Rachkevych has continued to write about corruption. He hopes that EM is a success for the country. But it irks him that so many tax dollars have disappeared.

- For a poor country like Ukraine can not afford for them to cheat people like that. For we are talking about tax dollars that could be where the money could be spent on useful things like IT, hospitals, schools, universities, he says.

With stories like this one and the one above it's no wonder that Europe's policians are loathe to shake hands with  Kolesnikov -  Vice Prime Minister responsible for Euro 2012...

p.s. CNN report :-
  • Amnesty International label Ukrainian police 'criminal' ahead of Euro 2012
  • Say that 'out of control' police could jeopardize the tournament
  • Security concerns raised after multiple bomb attacks near host city
  • European leaders boycotting matches over treatment of former Ukrainian PM

Where is the president - hiding with head head up his a***?

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