Tales from the Life of the State Elite: Yanukovych’s Hunting Kingdom
When leaving the God-forsaken village of Sukholuchya, located in the northern part of the Kyiv Region, you are bound to notice a protected hunting woodland measuring 30 hectares. This is the favourite leisure and entertainment area belonging to today’s President, Viktor Yanukovych.
Liechtenstein, a tiny country measuring 16 thousand hectares, lies in the center of Europe. It has been identified as a tax haven and an ideal place to set up “letter-box” companies.
Great Britain is a well-known country, from where, for some unknown reason, 65 million UAH were invested in a company in Brovary, which is engaged in developing and looking after Mr. Yanukovych’s hunting complex.
Generally speaking, it all looks like a giant spider web, where the real owners and their intentions have been carefully concealed. Ukrayinska Pravda has investigated this matter in order to gain a better understanding of the overall situation.
“Green Tourism” for Yanukovych
The Dnipro-Teteriv hunting complex in the northern part of the Vyshhorod District is a no-trespassing fenced-off area. Several small villages are located within this territory. Outsiders are not allowed access, whereas locals can enter only with a special pass. The most important person in Sukholuchya is Viktor Yanukovych, who satisfies his passion for hunting in the surrounding forests.
The territory is considered public, but this is only a formality. When looking at the real state of affairs, we note that the forestry and hunting complex, measuring 30 thousand hectares, is protected by the Dellit Company, a private firm from Donetsk, closely associated with Yanukovych’s son; this firm also looks after his father’s residence in Mezhyhirya.
In 2007, when Yanukovych was Prime Minister, he initiated the alienation of some land of the hunting complex, carefully hiding this fact from the public eye.
First, the government approved a resolution on the transfer of all the land located in the Dnipro-Teteriv forestry and hunting complex to the jurisdiction of the State Forestry Committee.
Then, the subordinate Forestry Committee transferred twenty land plots with a total area of 17.5 hectares to a private company; these plots constituted the finest sections of the state-owned hunting complex. There were no competitive bidding programmes or tender formalities.
The new owner of these territories – Dom Lesnika LLC – was registered in Brovary; according to certain documents, the company was granted the land for private farming and agricultural purposes.
In 2009, Vira Ulyanchenko, the Governor of the Kyiv Region, did Yanukovych a great favour. Subsequently, the appointment of her husband to the post of Deputy Minister of Education did not look at all strange or out of place.
Ulyachenko ordered that the purpose of these 20 land plots should be changed – agricultural land became industrial land. The document states that this land is meant for “the construction and maintenance of a hotel and restaurant complex”.
Governor Ulyanchenko also authorized the construction of a new road in Sukholuchya, totaling 25 million UAH taken from budget funds, which no one, except Yanukovych, really needed.
Indeed, Dom Lesnika grew rich by 17.5 hectares of land, located right within the territory of the forestry and hunting complex, and linked to the outside world by a first-rate main road.
Ukrayinska Pravda managed to learn about the true intentions of the mysterious land owners in Sukholuchya after reviewing the document on “Town-planning justifications for the construction of a hotel and entertainment complex by Dom Lesnika LLC”.
Thus, construction on territories located on Yanukovych’s hunting grounds will be conducted at three sites owned by Dom Lesnika LLC.
The main facilities will be built on the banks of Kyiv Lake. There will be a guest house – i.e. a “hotel and restaurant” complex, as well as a chapel, a marina, and a beach area measuring half a hectare.
Another section will see a bird sanctuary, an aviary measuring one thousand square meters (!), and a gazebo. The third section will include another guest house (hotel and restaurant complex), a sauna, a gazebo, and a barbecue grill.
Most of these facilities have already been built in Sukholuchya. But, this construction was contrary to the law “On Ecological Expertise”.
One of the two hotel and restaurant complexes has already been built on the forestry and hunting grounds, but public discussion of construction plans took place only a week ago, on March 22.
In addition, while preparing “Town-planning justifications”, the Dom Lesnika Company received the conclusive results of the state sanitary epidemiological assessment carried out by the Ministry of Health, which made an absolute mockery of the actual state of affairs.
“At present,” notes the Ministry, “the town-planning capacity of the territory (Dnipro-Teteriv forestry and hunting complex) is not being fully exploited. The recreational possibilities of the surrounding environment, as well as excellent natural and climatic conditions should stimulate the development of hotels, eco-tourism sites, and cultural and consumer services”.
Speaking of “green tourism” is especially cynical, if we are to understand that it involves the construction of infrastructure to stimulate and highlight Yanukovych’s hunting exploits. In fact, the “hotel and restaurant complex” will be built and used as a private venue where Yanukovych could rest after his day of hunting, enjoy a sauna, and talk about his shooting skills. This complex will not be able to operate as a “hotel and restaurant” simply because it is located inside a fenced-off territory and away from any kind of civilization.
British investments in Yanukovych’s hunting grounds
During its investigation, Ukrayinska Pravda also managed to get access to the Charter of Dom Lesnika.
Earlier, two individuals – Pavlo Lytovchenko and Oleksandr Yurchenko – had been registered as founders of the firm. Both are listed in other companies, subordinated to the notorious administration of the Mezhyhirya residence.
Besides working at the Zoryany cinema theater, Yurchenko was the founder of the charity fund “Vidrodzhennya Ukrayiny” (Renaissance of Ukraine), which received 7.6 hectares in Mezhyhirya.
Not only is Lytovchenko listed in Oleksandr Yanukovych’s companies, but he is also a “shareholder” in the Tantalit Company LLC, which got away with 127.5 hectares of Mezhyhirya.
The annual meeting of the shareholders of Dom Lesnika was held on May 25, 2009; the new Charter of the company was then approved and included new founders.
According to the Charter, the current owners of Dom Lesnika – and, consequently, of the entire construction plans for the hunting grounds – are two other entities: a citizen of Ukraine, Ivan Tokhtamysh and a British company, Astute Partners Ltd.
The first founder of Dom Lesnika is a man called Ivan Tokhtamysh, registered in Bilohirsk in the Crimea.
Mr. Tokhtamysh “injected” 1.537 million UAH, representing 2.32% into the authorized capital of the company.
Ivan Tokhtamysh is well known to readers of Ukrayinska Pravda through other investigations of Yanukovych’s wheeling and dealing – this gentleman is also the director of the “Kedr” Hunting and Fishing Association, domiciled on Mezhyhirya territory.
It seems that Ivan Tokhtamysh plays the role of the “strawman” chairman. The founders of “Kedr” are actually three Regionnaires – Yuriy Boyko, the current Minister of Fuel and Energy and two deputies, Serhiy Tulub and Volodymyr Demishkan.
| State Statistics Committee of UkraineCentral Inter-Regional Statistics Administration, Kyiv; 4-6 Esplanadna Str., Kyiv, 01601; Tel: (044) 287-60-35, Fax: (044) 246-68-58, e-mail: email@example.com
13.11. 2009 No.21-10/8029 Order No.____ 06.11.2009
Addressed to: Internet newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda
At your request, we transmit the extract from the Unified State Register of Enterprises and Organizations of Ukraine______________ as of November 1, 2009 is listed:
PUBLIC ORGANIZATION “KEDR” HUNTING AND FISHING ASSOCIATION
Identification Code-36076341; legal entity; legal form of activities-PUBLIC ORGANIZATION; Address: 19 IVANA FRANKA STREET, VYSHHORODSKY COMPLEX, NOVI PETRIVTSI, VYSHHORODSKY DISTRICT, KYIV REGION, 07354 KYIV; Manager: IVAN VASYLIYOVYCH TOKHTAMYSH
Founders-physical entities: YURIY ANATOLIYOVYCH BOYKO, VOLODYMYR FEDOROVYCH DEMISHKAN, SERHIY BORYSOVYCH TULUB
First Deputy Director N.M. Yurovska
Round seal: illegible Signature: illegible
It’s interesting to see the name of the second founder of Dom Lesnika.
It’s called Astute Partners Ltd., a company registered in London. The Charter of Dom Lesnika LLC stipulates that Astute contributed 64.6 million UAH to the equity capital of the association (the equivalent sum is indicated in Euros in brackets – 9.3 million Euros).
Ukrayinska Pravda was very interested to discover who was behind this British company, which, in the midst of the economic crisis, decided to invest almost 10 million EUR for the construction of a hotel and restaurant complex in a fenced-off hunting grounds on the other side of Europe.
Is it actually possible that London gentlemen had summoned up enough nerve to launch such construction work right under Yanukovych’s nose, in his favourite hunting territory? How do they think they’ll make money on this “hotel and restaurant”, which is surrounded by a poor rural population, whereas entry to the grounds is protected by a barrier, and Kyiv is more than an hour away?
To answer these questions, Ukrayinska Pravda managed to get its hands on the founding documents and reports of Astute Partners Ltd. in Britain. Unlike Ukraine, this information is open to the public; it can be ordered directly through the Internet and costs pennies – 1 pound sterling per document.
Thus, it became clear that Astute Partners Ltd. has a registered capital of 1 pound sterling (!) and only one employee – the director, Mr. Reinhard Proksch – who resides in the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein, wedged in between Austria and Switzerland.
What interests does Mr. Proksch have in building a restaurant and hotel complex in Sukholuchya? None!
Reinhard Proksch is a lawyer who offers his name and services so as to act as nominal director on behalf of anonymous owners.
In other words, he is a trust manager. On his website, Mr. Proksch advertises such services, as well as many others; he even leases out private aircraft and chauffeur services. Without his client’s consent, he will never reveal whose interests he protects in Dom Lesnika LLC… for a small annual fee.
The mystery remains as to how Astute Partners Ltd., with a registered capital of £ 1, transferred almost 10 million Euros to the company in Brovary, which is in charge of developing and looking after Yanukovych’s hunting grounds.
It’s absolutely clear that no authentic British investor is really involved in this scheme. Moreover, the money does not come from Liechtenstein, but from Ukraine. This looks like a well-planned deal, when a Ukrainian underground millionaire uses his money under the guise of foreign investments so as not to be thrust into the limelight. In fact, he would be unable to justify such revenues before tax authorities!
Who is this “investor”? It’s not difficult to guess, knowing that life in the Dnipro-Teteriv forestry and hunting complex is subordinated to the interests of only one person.
The story of Dom Lesnika closely resembles the organization of the founders of RosUkrEnergo. Many of us remember that, for a long time, 50% of shares were owned by the Austrian company, Raiffeisen Investment. Only a few years later did it became clear that Dmytro Firtash had simply hired someone to represent his interests on an anonymous basis.
It’s the same scenario here… the finale, starring the new owner of Sukholuchya, is well hidden in the vaults of the Principality of Liechtenstein.